When you are expecting, you may expect to experience some amount of discomfort and you may very well be prepared for it as abdominal pain is common during pregnancy. In most cases, women tend to get confused about the symptoms they experience and worry whether they are harmless or a cause for concern. Find out when you should be alarmed by stomach cramps during pregnancy.
Common reasons for abdominal cramping
- Implantation pain – This happens in the very early pregnancy stage when the embryo gets attached to the uterine wall. You may feel cramps like those of your regular menstrual cycle. Sudden twisting or pinching in the lower abdominal area is common and this lasts for a few hours to a day.
- Gas and bloating – Due to hormonal imbalance, you may experience gastric trouble and bloating which may cause abdominal pain. This can easily be treated with some simple lifestyle changes in most cases.
- Round ligament cramps – As you progress into your second trimester, you may experience lower abdominal cramping or pain in the lower back, as the ligaments surrounding the uterus begin to stretch to accommodate the growing fetus. You may experience this sudden kind of pressure or pulling sensation anytime during pregnancy.
- Braxton Hicks – Known as practice pains, these occur irregularly, mostly during the second half of pregnancy and last for a short time. These are common in most pregnant women and are sometimes mistaken for labor pains, but they usually go away by resting or changing your position.
Worrying symptoms to lookout for during pregnancy
Some symptoms need to be assessed by medical practitioners right away, so that you get the right treatment in time and prevent the condition from worsening.
Urinary Tract Infection
Expecting women may experience moderate to severe pain in their lower abdominal region. This may also be accompanied by burning sensation and pain while urinating. You may also notice changes in urine color and smell. This condition is experienced by most pregnant women, but should not be ignored or delayed, as it can become serious and interfere with fetal development.
Miscarriage is most likely to occur in the first trimester and most women undergo this traumatic experience. You may feel severe pain in the pelvic region, stomach and it may radiate to your lower back as well. You should know that when you are having a miscarriage, you experience severe pain and bleeding than implantation bleeding and it gets heavier and continues for days. You should immediately consult your doctor if you experience these symptoms.
Labor pains are difficult to tell from normal Braxton Hicks, even by women who have been pregnant before. If you experience contractions before the end of 37 weeks and if they occur at regular intervals, along with severe pain in the lower back, you may be having preterm labor contractions. If you are confused, observe the frequency and timing of the contractions. If they increase in less time and if relaxing does not help, you should immediately visit the hospital. Some women may experience downward pressure in the pelvic region, fluid leaking or bleeding. It’s important to seek immediate medical attention in case your water breaks.
This is a rare case of pregnancy, where the egg implants itself outside of uterus and is considered very dangerous for the woman. Also called as tubal pregnancy, this cannot be continued and has to be treated as soon as it is found. If your pregnancy test is positive and you experience severe stomach pain and bleeding anywhere between six to ten weeks of gestation, you should immediately bring this to your doctor’s notice. There is a risk of rupture, which would require immediate surgery, otherwise it can be fatal. When the tube bursts as a result of ectopic pregnancy, you may experience intense pain in the lower part of your body and shoulder blades. Inconsistent bleeding, dizziness and fainting are other related symptoms.
In this case, the placenta detaches itself from the uterus and can cause serious complications. When this happens, you may have bleeding that is very dark and intense pain in the abdominal area, which keeps getting worse. This is also a rare condition that occurs in the third trimester and may require emergency c-section delivery.
Women with high blood pressure are more at risk of developing preeclampsia in their third trimester. This condition can have serious consequences to you and your baby, because oxygen and nutrition supply to the fetus gets restricted and you will require medical treatment. You may experience very painful headaches, nausea, breathing difficulty, blurry vision, huge swelling in the hands and face.