Symptoms Of Muscle Cramps During Pregnancy
Muscle cramps and body aches during pregnancy may occur in any muscle or muscle group but is most commonly experienced in the legs. Muscle spasms that occur in the back or abdomen are also possible.A muscle cramp or spasm is characterized by the following:
- Involuntary contraction or tightening of a muscle
You should consult your doctor if your symptoms occur frequently, are associated with swelling or redness, and are not relieved with traditional methods.
How To Relieve Cramps During Pregnancy
If you have pregnancy cramps that don’t seem worrisome, Dr. Puritz advises getting off your feet, resting, drinking fluids, and taking acetaminophen if needed for pain relief. Don’t use a heating pad on your abdomen because raising your core temperature is dangerous during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester.
Dr. Klauser also recommends trying a warm shower. Stretching and sitting breaks throughout the day can also be helpful, particularly if you find that your cramping is worse after long periods of being in one position.
Most importantly, always contact your prenatal care provider for unusual cramps or ones that don’t go away. “I always tell my patients that I love a false alarm,” says Dr. Puritz. “I’m happy to see you and say you’re fine rather than miss something where I could have intervened.”
When Should I Report Stomach Pain In Pregnancy
Stomach pain can be very worrying for pregnant women. Pain can make you fear the worst, such as a miscarriage. Its important to listen to your own instincts. If you are worried about any pains youre having, or you just feel like something is wrong, contact your midwife. Dont be concerned about wasting anyones time. Its always best to get things checked out.
If you are having persistent stomach pain or cramping, or if the pain comes on suddenly it should be checked by a doctor or midwife immediately.
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When Should I Worry About Cramping During My Pregnancy
When youre pregnant, your body undergoes many changes as it makes room for your little one . While some of these changes may be no big whoop, others, particularly things like cramping, can have you quickly searching Google for their causes.
While some mild pregnancy cramps are a normal symptom of your ever-expanding body, other cramps could indicate a serious problem. Pregnancy cramps can give many women anxiety, so its important to know the common reasons for their occurrence and what you should do about them.
We asked Srijaya Soujanya Nalla, MD, an OBGYN at Banner Health Clinic in Loveland, CO, to help explain the normal causes for cramping, abnormal causes and treatment recommendations for both.
When To Call The Doctor For Cramps During Pregnancy: A Visual Guide
If you’re trying to decide whether your cramps warrant a call to the doctor, walk through the questions in this flow chart. Of course if you have any doubts about what to do, err on the side of caution and call your health provider.
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ACOG. 2019. Bleeding during pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
ACOG. 2020. Early pregnancy loss. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
ACOG. 2018. Ectopic pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
ACOG. 2020. Preeclampsia and high blood pressure during pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
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Pregnancy Pains Got You Down Read This
Most cases of pain during pregnancy arent an emergency and can be managed, though there are some warning signs to watch out for.
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I was 35 weeks pregnant with my first daughter when I began to feel an intense, intermittent pain that radiated from my lower back and pelvis and into my leg. Like a lightning rod, it would flare unpredictably, making it impossible to move without gritting my teeth. My physical therapist deduced that the combination of my expanding belly, my scoliosis and the pregnancy hormones loosening the connective tissue of my pelvis had caused serious misalignment issues in my hip area. The result was pain in my pelvic joints and possibly some pinched nerves in my sacrum.
It is very, very common for women during all stages of pregnancy to have discomforts, pains and body aches, said Dr. Christine Isaacs, a professor and head of obstetrics and gynecology at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, in Richmond. A lot of that comes with the natural, normal physiologic changes of pregnancy, and many of these symptoms are natures way of preparing us for birth.
What Causes Midcycle Cramps
Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is released from an ovarian follicle. It typically happens about midway through a womans menstrual cycle. If you have a 28-day cycle, ovulation will occur about day 14. Day one is the first day of bleeding.
The exact cause of ovulation pain isnt entirely known, but it may be caused by various factors, including:
- The rapid growth and expansion of the ovarian follicle housing the ripe egg. This stretching can cause cramplike pain.
- Irritation of the abdominal lining and pelvis from the blood, fluid, and other chemicals that normally accompany ovulation.
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Can Exercises Help Ease Leg Cramps
Regular, gentle exercises could mean cramps crop up less often and can help ease symptoms when they happen too. Heres how to do them:
- Bend and stretch the foot vigorously up and down 30 times.
- Rotate the foot eight times one way and eight times the other way and repeat with other foot.
- Pull the toes hard up towards the ankle or rub the muscle hard.
- Try doing these exercises three times a day.
When you do get a cramp, stretch and massage the muscle straight away .
What Causes Cramps During Pregnancy
Cramping typically occurs when the uterus expands, causing the ligaments and muscles that support it to stretch. It may be more noticeable when you sneeze, cough, or change positions.
During the second trimester, a common cause of cramping is round ligament pain. The round ligament is a muscle that supports the uterus, and when it stretches, you may feel a sharp, stabbing pain, or a dull ache in your lower abdomen.Cramping that is relatively minor and happens every now and then is probably nothing to be worried about. Some additional causes of normal cramping in pregnancy include:
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Cramps After Sex During Early Pregnancy: What You Need To Know
Experiencing cramps after sex during early pregnancy? Well, the first three months of pregnancy is usually the most difficult period in womens journey through motherhood. In the first trimester, a woman will experience the first of several physical, behavioral and emotional changes caused by pregnancy.
Most moms will experience many symptoms on their first trimester such as morning sickness, nausea, constipation, breast tenderness, weight gain, cravings and so on. But what if youre experiencing cramps after sex in early pregnancy? What does this mean? Keep on reading to learn more about post-sex cramps on early pregnancy.
What Causes Leg Cramps During Pregnancy
While it isnt clear exactly what causes these muscle spasms, leg cramps may be caused by pregnancy weight gain and changes in your circulation. Pressure from the growing baby may pitch the nerves and blood vessels that go to your legs.How to avoid and treat pregnancy leg cramps
- Exercise regularly, and include a stretching routine. For a simple calf stretch stand at arms length from a wall, place your hands on the wall in front of you and move your right foot behind your left foot with toes facing the wall. Slowly bend your left leg forward, keeping your right knee straight and your right heel on the floor. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds, being careful to keep your back straight and your hips forward. Breath deeply through the stretch. Repeat with the other leg.
- When spasms hit, gently perform the stretch on the affected side and then rest with your legs elevated. A warm bath, ice massage or muscle massage may help too.
- Drink lots of water. Your urine will be clear or light yellow when youre adequately hydrated.
- Wear support socks or stockings that provide some compression on your calves.
- Increase the calcium and magnesium in your diet by eating food such as whole grains, beans, dried fruit, nuts and seeds.
Contact your health care provider if your leg cramps are severe or persistent. Your health care provider may prescribe additional supplements or medication.
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Cramping In Late Pregnancy
Cramping in the second or third trimester could be harmless or concerningit depends on the situation.
- Preterm labor: Cramps occurring at regular intervals may indicate preterm labor. More than six cramps or contractions in 1 hour, a change in vaginal discharge such as bright red vaginal bleeding, a sudden gush of clear fluid, a low, dull backache, or intense pelvic pressure are all possible signs. For any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately.
- Round ligament pain: You may experience shooting pains in the lower abdomen or around your hips due to a phenomenon called round ligament pain, which occurs as your body accommodates your growing uterus. These types of pains are normal and will pass, but you should discuss them with your doctor.
How Can I Relieve My Pregnancy Leg Cramps
Now that Iâm in my third trimester, I keep getting these painful cramps in my calves. Sometimes they even wake me up at night. What can I do to make them stop?Emelia
Youâre not alone many pregnant women get these lower leg cramps, often in the middle of the night in their second and third trimesters.
Experts arenât sure what causes âcharley horsesâ . Although they can be extremely painful, charley horses are luckily! usually brief.
What might help:
- Do calf stretches before bed to prevent the cramping. But make sure not to point your toes while stretching.
- Straighten your leg and flex your foot when you get a cramp. A gentle massage of the calf may help relax the muscle.
- Make sure you are drinking enough fluids during the day.
- If cleared by your doctor, get regular exercise, which can help reduce cramps.
Talk to your doctor to see if extra calcium or magnesium could help you. But dont take supplements without checking with the doctor first.
If the leg pain doesnât ease is severe or is accompanied by swelling, warmth, or redness in the leg or trouble walking, talk with your doctor right away.
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When Should Cramps During Pregnancy Be Worrisome
New moms to be may feel a jolt of fear when they experience cramps during pregnancy. You might have it in your head that youre in the middle of a miscarriage. In reality, most cramping during pregnancy is actually normal and is something that occurs during all three trimesters. Its important to know why they happen.
Breast Pain And Tenderness
Breast changes are a common symptom of both PMS and early pregnancy. The changes can include:
- bumpy breast tissue
The severity of these symptoms varies among individuals.
However, in people with PMS, breast-related symptoms are usually most significant just before a menstrual period, and they typically get better during the period or just after it ends.
In early pregnancy, the breasts may feel particularly tender to the touch, and they often get heavier. The area around the nipple may sting or feel sore. Some women also develop more noticeable blue veins near the surface of the breasts.
Breast symptoms during pregnancy begin 1 or 2 weeks after conception and may persist until childbirth.
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Things To Know About Cramps During Pregnancy
Cramps during pregnancy can be worrisome, but theyre quite common and not necessarily cause for concern. Heres what you need to know.
Cramps during pregnancy are not only uncomfortable, but scary, as any sort of pain in the abdominal region can send an expectant mom spiralling down the path of worst-case scenarios. The good news is, cramping is fairly common and, more often than not, isnt cause for concern. The important thing is knowing when to seek help.
Why do they happen?Cramps are usually caused by the muscles of the uterus contracting, explains Amanda Selk, an ob-gyn at Womens College Hospital in Toronto. In the first trimester, cramps could be from the fertilized egg implanting in the uterus, as well as the uterus simply growing. However, if the cramps are accompanied by bleeding, they could be a sign of miscarriage. Later in pregnancy, cramps could also be a sign of preterm labour, or once you hit 37 weeks, simply labour!
Braxton Hicks contractions What feels like cramping could be Braxton Hicks contractions, also known as practice contractions, which can begin as early as the second trimester. With Braxton Hicks, the muscles of the uterus tighten for approximately 30 to 60 seconds. They tend to be irregular in intensity, infrequent, unpredictable, more uncomfortable than painful, and usually taper off and then stop entirely. They are not cause for concern.
Tips For Improving Circulation While Pregnant
- Try sleeping on your left side.
- Elevate your legs as often as possible literally, find the time to put your feet up and relax if you can.
- At night, place a pillow under or between your legs.
- During the day, stand up and walk around every hour or two especially if you have a job that keeps you at a desk all day.
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Cramps And The Third Trimester
As you enter your third trimester, youll most likely start to feel more pressure in your pelvis. This is quite common, as your baby is growing very quickly now.
Cramping during the third trimester is never really considered to be normal for pregnancy, said Bond. Bond added that if a mom-to-be is experiencing this, she should always seek out advice from her doctor as soon as possible.
While premature labor symptoms can be different in each mom-to-be, Bond added that its important to report any tightening or hardness of your belly, as well as new back pains. Especially if your back pains go along with changes in vaginal discharge.
|Increased, steady cramping in the third trimester||Premature labor|
Charlie Horse During Pregnancy: Symptoms Causes And Prevention
Muscle cramps, sometimes called a charlie horse, during pregnancy are one of the common discomforts experienced by approximately half of all expecting mothers. The majority of muscle cramps during pregnancy occur in the lower extremities, particularly in the calves. A muscle cramp is an involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles that happens abruptly and is most commonly experienced at night.
Cramps During The Third Trimester
By the time you get to your third trimester, your body will be so busy doing so many things that cramping may begin to feel like just a part of your routine. From baby kicks and indigestion to “practice” contractions and even pre-term labor, there are many reasons for cramping this late in the game. Here are three common reasons.
Early Signs Youre Pregnant Before A Missed Period
Early pregnancy symptoms can overlap with common body changes, such as PMS. Heres how to tell the difference.
Your menstrual cycle is your bodys monthly preparation for pregnancy if you get pregnant, the lining in your uterus has a job to do and you wont experience any typical menstrual bleeding. But while a missed period is many peoples first signal that theyre pregnant, it often isnt the first clue your body gives you.
In the first weeks of pregnancy , the body starts producing a lot of hormones that can affect you physically and mentally. In addition to amping up its regular production of progesterone and estrogen, your body starts producing new ones, including human placental lactogen and human chorionic gonadotropin .
While your body is in hormonal overdrive during early pregnancy, you may feel some side effects. But if hormones are to blame, how do you tell if its PMS, ovulation symptoms or something else completely? Below, we outline some signals you might notice from your body during early pregnancy, before you even take a pregnancy test.
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Are Cramps During Pregnancy Normal
Some abdominal cramping and stomach pain in pregnancy is common. Early pregnancy cramps can be linked to many run-of-the-mill pregnancy symptoms, including constipation or increased blood flow to the uterus.
Later on in pregnancy, pregnancy pains could be linked to normal symptoms like Braxton Hicks contractions or round ligament pain.
Sometimes, however, abdominal pain during pregnancy can be a sign of a condition that requires medical attention, like a urinary tract infection, miscarriage, preterm labor or preeclampsia. Its always safest to about any symptom that concerns you.
The following are common causes of abdominal pain and cramps during pregnancy that can occur during any trimester: