Every pregnant woman will experience some sort of ache and pain just because they’re pregnant. Maybe it’s minor and you could really care less or maybe it’s debilitating. Maybe it’s back pain from the extra weight or maybe it’s your sciatic nerve. Maybe you’re lucky enough to get a whole combination of aches and pains and pregnancy is not your favorite time in life. Maybe you’re lucky and get off with just needing a massage every once and a while.
For me, both last pregnancy and now apparently this one, it’s round ligament pain. Most pregnant women experience it from around 16-20 weeks. It’s in your lower sides of your abdomen and can either be a sharp pain when you do something like change directions or a dull ache that happens whenever it feels like it. For me it’s the latter.
It starts off pretty okay in the morning. Maybe just a little bit of aching and I don’t even notice it most of the time. As the day progresses though, it gets worse. A lot worse. By the evening, I don’t even feel like walking up the stairs because it hurts so bad. I’ve spent about every evening/night for the last month just sitting with a heat pad. Guess it’s a good thing that this has all coinsided with me re-reading the Harry Potter series.
As I’ve already discussed, I don’t want to take medications if I can avoid it. Personally, I don’t like taking pain meds any time, let alone when I’m pregnant. My headaches have to be excruciating for hours and have nothing else work to fix them before I’ll even consider an Advil. I also don’t anticipate the round ligament pain to go away until Twig is born. Yeah, that’s what it was like last time. Literally until the day when the weight was out of my uterus, I had horrible round ligament pain. I have anecdotal evidence from a few other moms that those with small frames are more likely to have it last throughout the pregnancy, but I have no idea if this is actually true. Regardless, I’m planning on dealing with this for the next 20 weeks.
So here’s my game plan. These are the things that I’ve tried and worked or didn’t work. Hopefully if any of you out there are having round ligament pain too this will help. If you’ve found another remedy that works, please share it in the comments.
Pelvic tilts. This is by far the best thing I’ve done for my round ligament pain. It makes it almost entirely go away now and it’ll dull the pain a bit later in pregnancy. Here’s how you do it:
I’ve been doing 20 of them whenever the pain gets bad and it’s been helping a lot. I didn’t learn about these until later in pregnancy last time because I learned about them in my Bradley Method class, so I’m not sure if they would have helped with earlier pain then, but they did help a bit with later pain. I did quite a few more than 20 a day towards the end of Peanut’s pregnancy.
Resting. All the books say that when it starts hurting, just rest and it should make it stop. I think this is more for the moms who experience the sharp pains because it has never helped me in the slightest. I have to at least have some sort of heat on it while I’m resting for it to help at all, which brings us to the next one.
Heat. First off, not a regular heat pad. I have one that I can plug into the wall that helps a bit, but not really very well at all. It’s also awkward to get it on the pain without making my whole belly really hot. What I suggest is that you make one of these. It’s just a bag of rice essentially and you just microwave it for a minute or two and it’s nice and hot. Since the rice can move around, I can position it perfectly so that it puts all the heat directly on the pain and none anywhere else, which makes it so I don’t get nearly as hot. I’m seriously considering taking it to school with me to use during class.
Step up. I read this one in The Pregnancy Book and it helps a bit. You just stand normally and lift one of your feet off the ground by a couple inches and hold it for 10 seconds, then repeat 10 times. You can do the other side too if you’d like. This dulls it a bit, but I only really use it when I don’t think it’s appropriate to get on all fours and do pelvic tilts (like in the middle of my botany lab).
Don’t exercise. I can’t believe that anyone would recommend this to begin with, but some sources say to limit exercise. Yeah, I don’t really feel like going for a run or anything when it’s hurting, but I’m not going to change my daily life because of the pain. Beyond that, I’ve noticed that it doesn’t hurt any less if I have a particularly sedentary day. After walking probably about 2 miles around campus for the last five days, yesterday all I did was walk around a small farmers market and the pain was still bad last night. Exercise is important with pregnancy, so I’ll continue to take the stairs thank you very much.
I am now 20 weeks and 2 days along. Half way, woohoo! Honestly, it’s all blown by and I’m sure it’ll continue to. I don’t have nearly as many worries as last time. This all feels like old hat. That said, I’m still loving laying in bed and feeling Twig move. Last night Twig decided all of the sudden that he/she needed to move his/her head off to the bottom right side. Like so much so that I had a big bulge there. It was pretty amusing.
Other than the round ligament pain, things are going pretty good around here. This last week I’ve gone back to napping, but that might be because of all the extra stress of starting school again and Peanut starting preschool. I’ll write more about her preschool in a later post. I’ve also noticed that if I get less than 8 hours of sleep at night, regardless of how long I napped, I feel like death in the morning. So I’m putting sleep at a very high priority at the moment.
I still have a little octopus in my belly and that’s awesome. I haven’t noticed (from seeing or feeling) movement from the outside yet, but I think we’re close. I think both daddy and Peanut are really excited to feel the baby move. Peanut also loves telling Twig about her toys. She’s convinced she’s going to have a constant playmate the instant that Twig comes out. 😀