Right Lower Quadrant Pain - Causes in pregnancy

What are the most common causes of right lower quadrant pain in pregnancy?

Any of the conditions already mentioned can cause pain in the right lower quadrant (RLQ) whether you are pregnant or not, so you should always get checked out.

Constipation

  • Constipation is very common in pregnancy.
  • It gives you crampy lower tummy (lower abdominal) pains.
  • You will open your bowels less often than you usually do and typically you pass hard, pellet-like stools (faeces).

Pelvic ligament pain

  • Typically this starts around 14 weeks and goes on into late pregnancy.
  • It is due to the growing womb (uterus) pulling on the structures (round ligaments and broad ligament) which hold it in place.
  • Usually causes a stabbing pain down one or both sides of the tummy (abdomen) and sometimes down into the hips and genital area.
  • Pain can be quite marked.

You can read more about this in the separate leaflet called Common Problems in Pregnancy.

Urine infection

  • Urine infection is more common in pregnancy.
  • Usual symptoms are of pain when you pass urine and passing urine more often.
  • You may also get tummy pain and a high temperature (fever) and notice blood in your pee.
  • If you do get pain, it's usually across the lower tummy but can be on one side if you are developing a kidney infection (pyelonephritis).

See separate leaflet called Urine Infection in Pregnancy for more information.

Ectopic pregnancy

You should always see a doctor urgently if you think you might be pregnant and are experiencing right lower quadrant pain. You could have an ectopic pregnancy.
  • An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that is not in the normal place.
  • Pain is often sudden and can be severe, but it can come on over a few days.
  • You may have missed your period but you can still have an ectopic pregnancy even if you think you have had a period.
  • Vaginal bleeding often happens but not always.
  • Occasionally you can get pain over the tip of your shoulder.

See separate leaflet called Ectopic Pregnancy for more information.

Right lower quadrant pain in later pregnancy

In later pregnancy, RLQ pain can be caused by a placental abruption or by going into labour. Placental abruption happens when there is bleeding between the afterbirth (placenta) and the lining of the womb. Labour is too soon (premature labour) if it happens before 37 weeks.

See separate leaflets called Premature Labour and Pelvic Pain in Women for more information.

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Author:
Dr Jacqueline Payne
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Helen Huins
Document ID:
29452 (v1)
Last Checked:
08 July 2017
Next Review:
07 July 2020

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.