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Ack! Why Does My Belly Hurt So Much?

Why Does My Belly Hurt So Much?

Many pregnant women suffer from a specific discomfort during pregnancy caused by the round ligament.

This pain is usually felt low on the front of their abdomen, near the pubic bone, and may continue towards their groin. It may be felt on one side or both.

The round ligament connects the uterus to the groin, supporting it and stretching during pregnancy. Moving – going from standing to sitting, laughing, coughing – can cause this ligament to contract quickly and be quite painful. Usually the pain only lasts for a few seconds.

A smaller number of women, about 1 in 300, may experience symphysis pubic dysfunction – SPD or pelvic girdle pain – caused by movement of the pubic symphysis, the joint where the two sides of the pelvis meet in front of this bone.

Personally, I felt the discomfort from the stretching and tightening of the round ligament more in my second and third pregnancies. And, not to be too dramatic, but it honestly felt like I was being ripped in half by the legs. It was horrible! I would cough or laugh and get a shock of pain that felt like being stabbed in the belly.

I found relief using a belly support band and chiropractic adjustments. The belly band helped “carry” the weight of my growing belly on my uncomfortable days. (And I sometimes liked to wear it after the baby was born, to help my now-empty belly feel more normal!)

During treatment, my chiropractor would use a gentle adjustment to release the round ligament, which had become tensed and tightened. She would then send me on a short five-minute walk around her parking lot to help loosen the entire area and lengthen the amount of relief I experienced.

It was during my second pregnancy that I experienced SPD. I felt it strongly during my second trimester and it hurt the most any time I moved my legs separately from each other: getting in and out of bed, the car, rolling over in bed, and trying to get dressed. It was excruciating! The belly band helped, chiropractic helped, and I learned to rotate my hips so that my legs moved symmetrically together. A good pregnancy pillow between my knees at night was an absolute necessity.

The good news is that the sensations and symptoms I felt stopped almost immediately after giving birth.

About Amy Lewis

Amy is the co-owner of Buddha Belly. She is passionate about assisting women through life's most challenging transitions and nurtures a lifelong commitment to women in serving mothers as a doula.

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