There are several conditions that may cause abdominal discomfort during your pregnancy. They include:
Round ligament pain
Round ligament pain is described as a sharp, shooting, or side-ache type pain on either side of the lower abdomen. This pain occurs when enlargement of the uterus causes stretching of the ligaments that support the uterus.
Exercise or sudden movement can increase discomfort.
Relief can be obtained with proper exercise, adequate rest (lying on your side with a pillow to support to abdomen), or heat application.
Braxton-Hicks contractions or false labor
Braxton-Hicks contractions or “false labor” may be felt throughout pregnancy. The uterine muscle becomes firm (contracts) and then returns to its’ original relaxed state.
Contractions are influenced by changing hormones during pregnancy and aid the uterus in preparing for delivery of the baby.
Changing position, walking or light exercise, and abdominal massage may relieve discomfort
Call your provider if you still have questions or concerns.
The only accurate way to distinguish false labor from true labor is to check if the cervix is changing (dilating and/or thinning) over time. This cannot be done over the phone.
Adapted from: You and Your Baby: Prenatal Care, Labor and Delivery and Postpartum Care, ACOG, 2007.