Round Ligament Pain & Romaine & Spinach Chicken Salad
Updated: Aug 16
It has been so hard to say entertained during COVID times while cooking at home. The easy family meals get old, fast, and so does dining out. Plus I’m preggo, so the whole wine while cooking idea is out. At some point we get tired of lasagna and pizza (not REALLY, but we know better than to eat it every day). Chicken can get old, fast, too. You can cook it in a crock and shred it; that lasts a while. You can grill it and have with easy veg and carb; always a quick and easy meal. And you can dice it and add to a salad. While all these things are easy, some days you just CAN'T. I CAN'T CHICKEN any longer. I have noticed if we go out, I can actually order a chicken salad, even though I can't do it at home. So I put my lazy butt in the kitchen and started dicing some chicken. I looked in all the drawers for anything that sounded remotely good in the mix in with my chicken. It was delicious! It took less time than opening a pack of tuna and putting on a rice cake (which is my new staple-within reason due to mercury/pregnancy), almost.
Chances are, you'll have most of these ingredients in your 'fridge or cabinets. On the chicken, if you aren't one to cook it at home, you can get diced chicken breast from the deli at Kroger! Super easy if in a pinch for dinner.
Limiting opportunity for poor nutrition was really key for me beginning 2nd trimester. I was so limited in what I could eat in those first 12 weeks that my taste buds adapted to fried chicken, french fries and anything gluten, fried and not vegan. I swear, while some enjoyment with donuts and boneless wings, I was sick and hated it! I literally had to work at clean eating again once that 13-14th week hit. Even ordering a salad at my favorite Planks restaurant meant overloading on calorie laden dressings and probably dipping my fries in cajun ranch and a side of pizza square (which I am 100% fine with so long as I'm not doing it every single day). Not going seemed the best option until I got back on track. This salad definitely hit the spot!
Spinach & Romain Chicken Salad
Chicken - cubed - 2 cups
Spinach - 3-4 handfuls
Romaine Lettuce - washed and chopped - 3-4 handfuls
Peach - 1 diced
Sweet Potato - roasted - 1 cup
Cucumber - 1 sliced and quartered
Baby Carrots - 4-5
Celery - 1 medium stalk
Gorgonzola Cheese - 1/3 cup
Garlic Expressions Dressing - 2 Tbsp
Strawberry Balsamic Glaze (Aldis) - drizzle
Salt and Crushed peppercorns to taste
Slice & dice & wash
Add everything to your serving dish, take a photo, serve and eat!
Serving size: makes 3 servings
Calories & Macros: I didn’t even put this in fitness pal. I just took the evening off tracking and enjoyed the colorful, nutritious meal!
Healthy nutrition during pregnancy is obviously good for multiple reasons. First, it helps the baby grow! After that rough 1st trimester, I try to load up on my colorful fruits, fibrous carbs and good lean proteins and TONS of water. Second, it is good for healthy weight gain. See my last post on pregnancy weight gain here, but to elaborate, gaining excess fat (more than your doctor/provider recommends) can cause big belly protrusion (among a myriad of other concerns). This is simply a ‘letting go’ of the belly without regard to keeping the core muscles active and an inability to utilize the belly pump function. To demonstrate this, sit down and let your belly go. Don’t actively push it out, but release your core muscles. Now imagine (if you’re not preggo) a human in the way of your abdominal wall and not understanding how to ‘hug your baby’ in and use your core muscles. This is when we experience a loss of core activation.
And this is where round ligament pain comes in (it can also happen WITH the understanding and using core muscles so don’t think you’re off the hook if you can still flex your abs while preggo)! Anyway, if you can’t squeeze your abs ‘in’, the round ligament is stretched further than it probably wants to go.
The round ligament is a strong thick ligament that is responsible for holding the uterus in suspension within the abdomen. As the baby grows and uterus expands, it pulls on the round ligament and stretches it thin. Unfortunately, this does not feel nice and can sometimes resemble a very sharp pain*. It can pull low in the groin, up in the mid abdomen or if you’re one of the lucky women, you may feel the whole entire round ligament pull. Particularly, in my case, it is at the top where the ligament attaches and I can feel every single fiber pulling, UGH. Often, the uterus tends to turn to the right and pain is more common on the right side.
So, what can we do? Unlike a lot of body pains that can be soothed by stretching, this one is better left in the class of avoidance. Avoiding movements and activities that irritate the ligament is the number one fix. Learning to control the core with belly pumping/breathing exercises can help bring awareness to the core and should certainly help as well. Avoiding sudden, sharp, jerky movements like jumping, sprinting and straining, will lower tension on the ligament. We need to remember the round ligament is NOT a muscle. It doesn’t strengthen with training, it is a ligament that could pop if pushed beyond its limits. Rapid movements, even unintentional, like coughing or sneezing should be prefaced by bending the knees toward chest to release tension on the round ligament. When in doubt, tuck your tailbone to your ribcage and draw in your bellybutton. This will help activate your transverse abdominals and reduce tension. Another resource to help with understanding this is my Post natal Core Connections Course (that is still great prenatal). You can check it out here!
On the Left - big belly protrusion. I am overly relaxed and can feel the ligament pull. On the right - working through belly pumping by pulling up through transverse abdominals and hugging my little baby whilst releasing tension on the ligament.
DO - work on belly pumping/breathing (see my Fit for Birth Warm up here).
Avoid - jumping, jerking, bouncing, straining or any sudden movements that seem to aggravate the round ligament (for me this was simply hurling myself up out of bed).
Do - consider Kinesiology tape. In my photo above, I had applied one strip to my right side. This did help but I also did extra pilates/yoga this week to focus on core activation and proper hip alignment and upper body posture. If unsure and new to using KT tape is is super beneficial to visit a certified individual. You can find these folks at chiropractor offices, an athletic trainer or ask your doctor/provider.
Do - Work on pelvic alignment and posture. You can find an expert most likely in a pilates studio, chiropractic office or a reputable gym. Always ask your doctor/provider and check your selected person’s credentials.
*Note that abdominal pain can be a sign of concern like preterm labor, severe preeclampsia, placental abruption or a medical problem unrelated to pregnancy like appendicitis. Contact your doctor/provider immediately if the above do not relieve the pain instantly.
At 23 weeks pregnant, I can happily say my nutrition shenanigans and previous aches and pains have almost gotten back to 100%! With Georgie, I did experience SI joint dysfunction (started at 12 weeks), substantial varicose and spider veins in my legs (end 2nd trimester), extreme heart burn (also end 2nd trimester) and a high diastases recti. Currently, I am making sure I get in my pelvic floor/belly pumping/glute work in weekly and strength train 3-4 times a week. I haven't gained a pound in 4 weeks after gaining 20 right up to 19 weeks. I can tell my body is finally friends with my little man in there! I did have to skip some forward folds and twists in yoga on Monday and have been a little dicey with heartburn the last two days. Disclaimer on the heart burn - I lived off donuts for 3 days thanks to my sister-in-law and my sister. So, there's that. I'm certain it will subside, soon, as the donuts are now gone.