Q&A: Right side of my belly is really painful at night

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A reader asks:

I'm 20 weeks pregnant and recently the right side of my belly has become really painful at night. The pain lasts for about four hours and comes just above my love handles only on the right side.

It feels like someone is firmly holding my belly from the inside. My blood pressure is fine. Is this pain normal? What causes it? And what can I do to stop or reduce it?

Tina Otte (midwife) answers:

This pain you are feeling on your right side – perhaps even radiating down into your groin, is probably due to the spasm of the round ligament that holds your uterusin place in the pelvis.

It comes from the ligaments stretching as your uterus grows, and can manifest as low down as your inner thigh. When pain strikes be sure to breathe deeply and slowly and bend towards the pain.

Two tablets of magnesium phosphorus under the tongue three times a day may help to alleviate the spasm.

This kind of pain is a common complaint of pregnancy. Pain accompanied by rigid abdomen, nausea or vomiting, or dizziness may indicate a more serious problem and you would need to tell your caregiver right away.

Do you have a question about your pregnancy health that you'd like an expert's feedback on? Email to problems@yourpregnancy.co.za and we may publish your question along with advice from a specialist. 

Please note that we cannot supply personalised advice.

Read more: 

Pregnancy aches and pains  
Exercise to ease aches and pains 
Benefits of exercising during pregnancy  

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