Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy: Common Causes And When To Call The Doctor
Learn the causes of abdominal pain in pregnancy, and find out whether your symptoms are normal or require immediate attention from your healthcare provider.
Some abdominal pain during pregnancy is normal. After all, your organs are constantly shifting, your uterus is expanding, and your ligaments are stretchingall of which can cause benign aches and pains. On rare occasions, though, abdominal pain can signal something serious. Consult our guide to learn more about the causes of upper and lower abdominal pain during pregnancy, and find out when to call the doctor.
When Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy Is Serious
Although many women who experience abdominal pain have healthy pregnancies, there are times when abdominal pain can pose a serious risk. If you exhibit any severe symptoms, such as those discussed below, please consult your medical care professional immediately.
- Ectopic Pregnancy: Occurring in 1 out of 50 pregnancies, an ectopic pregnancy is when the egg is implanted anywhere other than the uterus. Most often, the egg is implanted in the fallopian tube. Sadly, an ectopic pregnancy cannot continue to term and requires medical treatment. In the unlikely event that you have an ectopic pregnancy, you may experience intense pain and bleeding between your 6th and 10th weeks of pregnancy. Women at increased risk for ectopic pregnancies include those who have had an ectopic pregnancy in the past or have had endometriosis, a tubal ligation, or an intrauterine device in place at the time of conception. Learn more about Ectopic Pregnancies.
- Placental abruption: Placental abruption is a life-threatening condition in which the placenta separates from your uterus before the baby is born. One symptom of placental abruption is constant pain that causes your stomach to stay hard for an extended period of time without relief. Another sign is bloody fluid or premature breakage of your water. Additional symptoms include tenderness in your abdomen, back pain, or fluid discharge that includes traces of blood. You can access the complete Placental Abruption article here.
Shortness Of Breath During Pregnancy
Shortness of breath can happen due to increased upward pressure from the uterus and changes in physiologic lung function.
- When walking, slow down and rest a few moments.
- Raise your arms over your head .
- Avoid lying flat on your back, and try sleeping with your head elevated.
- If prolonged shortness of breathing continues or you experience sharp pain when inhaling, contact your health care provider. You could have a pulmonary embolism .
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Why Am I Cramping
The muscles in your uterus will soon begin to stretch and expand. This can cause a pulling feeling on both sides of your stomach. Very early in your pregnancy, you may even feel aches that are similar to those during your period. Increasing pelvic pressure over the course of pregnancy is quite common, explained Annette Bond, MD, director of maternal-fetal medicine at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut.
What Should I Do For Cramps While Pregnant
If you experience minor cramping during pregnancy, there are a couple of things you can do for prevention and self-care:
- Try to sit, lie down or change positions.
- Soak in a warm bath.
- Try doing relaxation exercises.
- Place a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel on the ache.
- Make sure you get plenty of fluids.
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What Are Other Causes Of Stomach Cramps And Diarrhea When Pregnant
Besides the physical changes, other factors cause stomach cramps and diarrhea during pregnancy.
- The sudden change of diet can upset your stomach. With the hope of having the nutrients your baby needs, shifting to a different diet must not be abrupt. A gradual transition is ideal to know if it is right for you.
- Hormonal changes can cause the digestive process to slow down and may cause diarrhea. All pregnant women have hormonal changes often during the early stage of pregnancy.
- Food sensitivity when pregnant occurs to some women. Some food that you eat before is no longer acceptable in your system during the pregnancy. This will slowly go away as your tummy grows.
- Vitamins: Pre-natal vitamins may cause either diarrhea or constipation. If you suspect that this is the cause of your discomfort, ask your doctor for medication and recommendation.
When Should You Call Your Health Care Provider
While some pain or achiness is normal, severe abdominal pain or cramps could be a sign of a serious problem. Many conditions can cause this type of pain, like ectopic pregnancy, urinary tract infection or preterm labor .
Contact your provider if you have:
- Severe pain
- Lightheadedness or faintness
Last reviewed: December, 2013
Some short-term pain in the belly is normal during pregnancy. But severe cramping or pain never is. Call your health care provider when you show signs of severe pain.
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Nose Bleeds And Bleeding Gums
Because of your increased blood volume and the effect of pregnancy hormones on your connective tissues and mucous membranes, it’s extremely common to suffer nose bleeds and bleeding gums during pregnancy. Embarrassing perhaps but neither will cause any permanent damage or indicate a more serious health problem.
How To Tell If You’re Pregnant Right Away
The only way to tell if youre pregnant right away is by taking a home pregnancy test according to its instructions. Waiting can be difficult, but you can usually take a test three to four days before a missed period though youre more likely to get a false negative if you test too soon. If its negative, wait a couple more days and test again if Aunt Flo doesnt come to visit.
Be sure to test first thing in the morning, when your urine and the hormone that the test is measuring are most concentrated. If you see a line indicating a pregnancy, youre almost certainly pregnant . Pregnancy tests with false positives are rare.
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How Reliable Are Home Pregnancy Tests
According to the NHS, home pregnancy tests are reliable as long as you follow the instructions correctly. It may not be reliable if you didnt follow instructions or youve taken the test too early.
Most pregnancy tests can be taken after the first missed period, with any tests taken before this time running the risk of being inaccurate. Professionals also recommend avoiding drinking too much fluid ahead of doing a test, as it can dilute the level of HGC.
Negative tests may not be reliable if youve taken it too early, as the level of HGC might not be enough at the time of taking it. Tests can also vary in their sensitivity and so its recommended you read instructions thoroughly before using one, as theres no guarantee each one will be the same.
Why Does Your Stomach Hurt
Stomach cramps can range from mild achiness to severe, stabbing pain.
Common causes of stomach cramps include eating foods that can irritate your stomach, constipation, food poisoning, or a stomach infection. People who have anxiety may also develop stomach cramps.
Pregnant people may experience stomach cramps as the fetus grows. Menstrual cramps are also very common, though they actually take place in the uterus.
Sometimes stomach cramps are constant. In this case, a chronic digestive illness, such as irritable bowel disease, may be the cause.
Most stomach cramps go away on their own within a few hours or a couple of days. Changing what you eat and taking over-the-counter medication can help with symptoms while you recover.
Some stomach cramps may require medical attention. You should be concerned about stomach cramps if they last for a week or longer or are so severe that you cant function, or you also have symptoms like fever or blood in your vomit or stool.
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Cramping In Early Pregnancy: 8 Of Your Faqs Answered By An Expert
A consultant obstetrician fills you in
Lets be real, stomach pains are never going to fill you with joy. But they are particularly upsetting when youre trying to get pregnant. You might think that the gripes are a sign your period is on the way, or worse – if youve recently had a positive pregnancy test, you may be worried about miscarriage.
But cramping in early pregnancy is super common, and, actually it’s a symptom that you’re expecting. Along with achey boobs and nausea, it can be just one of the many little signs that your body is busy growing a baby.
So how can you tell if your stomach ache is simply a sign that you’re on the fast train to parenthood, or if you need to seek medical advice? To get answers, WH asked Dr Virginia Beckett, consultant obstetrician and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, to answer your frequently asked questions on this very topic.
Is It Normal To Have Bleeding Or Spotting In Pregnancy
First, dont panic. Vaginal bleeding in the early stages of pregnancy is common and doesnt always indicate to problem .
Early pregnancy bleeding can be down to spotting, cervical changes, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy . In later pregnancy, vaginal bleeding may be due to cervical changes, vaginal infections, a show, placental abruption or a low-lying placenta .
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Stomach Pain In Pregnancy
Stomach pains or cramps are common in pregnancy. They’re usually nothing to worry about, but they can sometimes be a sign of something more serious that needs to be checked.
It’s probably nothing to worry about if the pain is mild and goes away when you change position, have a rest, do a poo or pass wind. But if you have stomach pains and are worried, call your midwife or maternity hospital.
Harmless stomach pains, which can be dull or sharp, may be caused by:
- ligament pain this can feel like a sharp cramp on one side of your lower tummy
- constipation which is common in pregnancy
- trapped wind
Stomach Cramps In 2 Weeks Pregnant
Stomach cramps in 2 weeks pregnant is fairly common. There is nothing to worry about that, it is also worth to tell about that to your General Practitioner or midwife.
When you are heading to the second week, you may think of some pregnancy signs to confirm whether you are a pregnant or not. You might experience in adjusting with your body and can also find even mild change.
You might also feel some cramps during the second week. Here are the stomach cramp types which may occur in 2nd week.
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How To Relieve Pregnancy Cramps
Pregnancy cramp relief depends on the cause behind the pain youre experiencing. These tips can relieve the most common causes of abdominal cramps during pregnancy:
- Lie down and relax for a while, which can relieve pregnancy cramps related to implantation, orgasm, increased blood flow to the uterus and round ligament pain
- Drink plenty of water, which may ease any cramping related to dehydration, bloating or constipation
- Soak in a warm bath, which can help ease pregnancy cramps related to increased uterine blood flow
- Wear a belly band, which can help relieve abdominal cramps linked to round ligament pain in the second half of pregnancy
- Change positions if you think youre having Braxton Hicks contractions
Are Cramps Normal During Early Pregnancy
Stomach cramps during early pregnancy are relatively common. If you get a few stomach cramps during the first trimester of pregnancy, its probably not a cause for alarm. These cramps are typically part of the normal physical changes in the body that occur in preparation for the baby.
Very early in your pregnancy, you may get cramps as well as light bleeding when the embryo is implanted into the wall of the uterus. This process can sometimes lead to implantation cramps and bleeding. As the pregnancy progresses, you may also feel cramping as your uterus changes and stretches to accommodate the baby.
In the following sections, we will talk about the causes of pregnancy cramps and when to call your health care provider.
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Home Remedies To Stop Cramping During Early Pregnancy
- A balanced diet rich in vegetables, salads or fruits may reduce the frequency of cramps
- A mineral supplement which is going to provide you with right dose of nutrients. Do consult your doctor before consumption of any supplements.
- Stay as active as can. Indulge in exercises like swimming, yoga or stretching would prevent cramps becoming severe.
- A soothing tummy massage, a hot shower and removal of constrictive or tight clothing would be great.
- Increase your daily intake of water and avoid starchy or highly processed foods. Pregnancy is a time when you need to keep constipation at bay. So avoid foods rice, white bread and pasta the prime foods responsible for it.
- While sitting, use a low stool or foot rest to support your feet. Your legs should be low on the floor which improves blood circulation.
- Do not stand for prolonged periods of time and try to sleep by your side as much as possible.
- Eat bananas or raisins that are vital sources of potassium and increase your intake of water and calcium during this stage.
- Having multiple smaller means and lower back massage can also be helpful.
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A combination of all these factors does keep cramping at bay. However, if the pain is more severe, it would be prudent on your part to lie down and take some rest. If you feel symptoms increase, then get in touch with your health care provider as some of the potential danger signs includes excessive bleeding or severe pain in the region.
How Soon Can You Get Symptoms And Signs Of Pregnancy
Most pregnancy symptoms will start to appear around five or six weeks after your last menstrual period. Usually symptoms wont appear immediately, as it takes a few weeks to develop them. Having symptoms a few days after sex isnt usually a sign of pregnancy, and can actually be due to something else such as PMS.
However, a missed period, fatigue or morning sickness before this five-week mark could indicate pregnancy, Lesley Gilchrist, registered midwife and co-founder of My Expert Midwife, says. The most common early signs are missing a period and feeling out of sorts and not yourself- often feeling overwhelmingly tired and needing to sleep a lot.
Morning sickness is also common and can take on several forms for different people, such as feeling nauseous at certain times of the day or all day, vomiting, dizziness or a combination of all these. The need to wee a lot can also be common and is caused by changing hormones in the early days, as are tender, swollen breasts which are sensitive when touched.
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Harmless Causes Of Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy
From constipation to round ligament pain, here are some common culprits that cause harmless abdominal discomfort during pregnancy. Keep in mind that if the pain you’re experiencing continuesor if you have worrisome symptoms such as bleeding or strong crampingyou should check in with your OB-GYN right away.
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.
Your little one presses down on the nerves that go from your vagina down to your legs. You may feel more pressure and cramping as you walk, as the baby is bouncing around in your belly. Lying down on your side for a while can ease your discomfort. But contact your doctor right away if you feel increasing, steady cramping.
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
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Week Pregnant Stomach Pain Spotting Abdomen Cramps Symptoms
Question: What causes 1 week pregnant stomach pain and abdominal cramps?
Recently, I received an email from one of my readers after having cramps in early pregnancy. Heres the exact message.
Seven days ago I noticed that am 1 week pregnant after taking a pregnancy test. I was not sure because I did not plan for a baby this time around. Im shocked that I got pregnant as this is my 2nd pregnancy. Suddenly, I now have severe abdominal cramps that get me worried if am losing my baby. Is this a sign of a miscarriage?
The truth is, learning you are pregnant and having stomach pain days after can be worrying, especially for first-time moms or women who did not have severe cramps in their previous pregnancy.
If you are already having symptoms or tested positive for pregnancy, one thing is sure you are not one week but four weeks into your pregnancy.
A womans pregnancy date is usually counted back from the first day of last period. This implies that if you last saw your period four weeks ago, then you are four weeks pregnant, and not one week.
At first weeks of pregnancy, you have no idea you will even get pregant. Your body is functioning as it should, as both estrogen and progesterone levels now fall, resulting in your period coming out.
During your period, you will have vaginal bleeding for about 3 7 days. Usually, most women will experience abdominal cramps, mood swing, headache before period starts and during period.