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Back Pain and Pregnancy: October 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Round Ligament Pain Relief

Today we are going to talk about one of the major irritants and complaints of pregnancy . . . . round ligament pain. Round ligament pain can range from uncomfortable to down-right painful. Generally, the pain is referred to as a brief, sharp, stabbing pain or a long lasting dull pain centered in the abdomen. Usually, this condition starts in the second trimester of your pregnancy

Many pregnant women experience round ligament pain initially when suddenly getting up from the bed, from the chair, when rolling over in your bed, whenever you cough, or when you get out of the bath tub. Most times you will experience a short, stabbing feeling (most commonly on the right side) that will quickly resolve, however some woman experience chronic pain.

Why do women get round ligament pain?

The round ligaments attach the front section of the uterus to the groin, and like muscles they can contract and release. However, unlike muscles they function slowly. During pregnancy these ligaments stretch well beyond their "norm". They then become apt to seize up or contract.

If you make any movements like changing the position quickly, coughing or laughing, then the ligaments become stretched, making them to contract very quickly. This can cause you to experience the pain, but the pain only exists for a few seconds. Some women have chronically tight ligaments and will have continual aching and dull pain in the abdomen.

Reducing round ligament pain

Anything that stretches these ligaments slowly and gradually will help alleviate pain. Therefore:

  • Daily stretching exercises help a great deal. The most often prescribed exercise is performed by keeping your hands and knees on the floor, lowering the head to the floor and by placing the bottom in the air.
  • Apply heat to the area to relieve from the pain. A warm bath will also give you some relief.
  • If you know that you are going to sneeze, cough or laugh, slowly bend and flex your hips. This can greatly reduce the pull on these ligaments.
  • Lie on the opposite side to alleviate the pain. Lie on your left side with a pillow under your belly for proper support and place another one in between the legs.
  • If you are suffering from chronic round ligament pain or are having a them often, visit a chiropractor who can use a variety of ligament release techniques to get you out of pain.
The good news is that as your pregnancy progresses into the 3rd trimester, the pain usually decreases.

*Please note that if the pain exists more than few minutes, or is accompanied by any bleeding, chills, or nausea please t contact your doctor immediately.

For more information about chiropractic visit

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

What is relaxin?

If you are pregnant you are well aware of the surge of hormones that has taken over your body. As soon as a woman is pregnant hormones flood through her body, often leading an expectant mother to wonder what happened to her former self. Many pregnant women tell me about feeling happy one minute and weeping the next. Others are plagued with acne, reflux, and low energy levels. This hormone flood may produce side effects that a mom could do without, but they all play a very important role in the development of your baby.

However, one, often maligned, hormone is very specifically important to the health of the pregnant woman. It is relaxin. Relaxin is a hormone produced during pregnancy that allows you to give birth! The way it works is complex, but generally it makes collagen breakdown happen at a much faster rate which causes the cervix and the pubic symphysis to soften and lengthen. It allows the baby to pass through the birth canal. This is a good thing for a pregnant woman.

Relaxin is a hormone that is always present in a woman's body, however during pregnancy, the hormone relaxin is present in 10 times its normal concentration. While relaxin is a great hormone in preparing for labor it can cause some unwanted side effects as well. Relaxin doesn't know the different between the pubis and any other joint in the body so it can lead to abnormal motion, which in turn leads to pain and inflammation. Most of this is mild and can be controlled with Tylenol. Some people are more affected by relaxin than others for reasons we don't entirely understand. Those who experience significant pain due to loosening joints can get relief with the practices listed here.

Upon delivery the raging hormones gradually go back into hibernation and loosey-goosey joints tighten up again. Relaxin has allowed the human body to do something that seems impossible. (Birthing a baby.) So let's hear it for relaxin. It gets a bad rap, but is your best friend come delivery day!

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