Round ligament pain or “lightning crotch” is a brief, sharp pain in the lower belly, pelvis, or groin area on one or both sides. It’s one of the most common complaints during pregnancy. However, this discomfort is considered a normal part of pregnancy as your body stretches and grows and happens most often during the second trimester.
Causes and Symptoms
Several rope-like ligaments encircle and hold your womb (uterus) as it grows during pregnancy. One of them is called the round ligament.
Imagine the round ligament is like a taut rubber band. Abrupt movements—such as sneezing, coughing, rolling over in bed, or standing up quickly—can cause the ligament to tighten quickly, which “pulls” or “snaps” the rubber band that can cause a sharp, sudden pain. The pain typically affects the right side, but it may happen on both sides. It can feel like a jab or a spasm, only lasts a few seconds.
Round ligament pain can be uncomfortable and annoying, but it is considered normal as your body changes during pregnancy.
Although rare in women who aren’t pregnant, it may happen in women with endometriosis.
Here are some tips that may help reduce your discomfort:
- Try over-the-counter pain relief. Talk to your doctor about what over-the-counter medicine is best.
- Exercise plenty to keep your core muscles strong. Stretching, gentle exercises or prenatal yoga can help decrease pain. Ask your doctor which activities are safe for you and your baby in each trimester.
- Avoid sudden movements by adjusting your position slowly when you stand up or sit down.
- Apply warmth. A warm bath or heating pad may help.
- Wear a maternity support belt.
- Rest on one side, with the knees bent and pillows between the legs and under the belly.
When Round Ligament Pain is Serious
Call your doctor immediately if you have pain that lasts for more than a few minutes, fever, chills, difficulty walking, and pain while urinating. If you’re one of our patients and are experiencing these symptoms, call Creekside Center for Women at (479) 582-9268 to speak with your provider.