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Round Ligament Pain – Lower Abdomen Pain


It can be quite common, especially during the second trimester of pregnancy, to experience a deep, sharp or jabbing feeling in the lower belly or groin area.

It is usually brought on with movements such as sneezing, coughing, getting up, rolling over in bed, or taking a step.

The pain can either travel upwards, or downwards from the hips to the groin. It can also become a dull, lingering ache if it has been overworked.


A ligament is fibrous connective tissue connecting bones to other bones or, in this instance, maintaining the position of internal organs. There are several ligaments which support and hold the uterus in place.

The two round ligaments connect the front part of your uterus to your groin.

They grow and stretch during pregnancy.


Keeping your tummy, hips and bottom muscles strong: the right exercises at the right time can help support the ligaments as your baby grows.  Check out our round ligament massage and exercise video.

In addition to exercises try the following:

  • activity modification e.g. change positions slowly (such as rolling over in bed or getting up)
  • holding or supporting your tummy if you cough or sneeze, and/or flex slightly at the hips and knees
  • a heating pad or warm bath might help – but not too hot! Extreme heat can be dangerous for the baby
  • self-massage or partner-assisted massage
  • walking; especially if you can incorporate some deep diaphragmatic breathing as it offloads the ligaments
  • different taping techniques from a physio
  • bump-support belt

How Can A Prenatal Therapist Help?

If you’re experiencing round ligament pain, and the above self treatments have not worked consider seeing a health care professional.

A prenatal physiotherapist/ osteopath will be able to assess and determine what the cause of your pain is. This is very important as some conditions like round ligament pain can be mistaken for others or vice versa. They will take a thorough history of your condition and will check your posture and movements including looking at your spine, hips, pelvis, rib cage and breathing to check for any issues.

Your therapist will then come up with an individualised treatment plan, which may include:

  • Hands on treatment which when done correctly, can be very effective at relieving pain.
  • An exercise program to be followed at home, which will help address the issues with strength or flexibility that will be contributing to your pain.
  • If appropriate, different taping techniques or prescribe a bump belt support.
  • One of the key parts of your treatment plan will be the advice and education.


If you are experiencing abdominal pain in pregnancy there are times when we advise you to get checked by your doctor.

See our infographic below giving clear indications of when to seek help from your Doctor

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