Common anxiety and concern that anything is wrong is a natural response to experiencing cramps early in pregnancy. You might be concerned that the cramps you’re experiencing indicate an approaching miscarriage rather than the natural stretching and expansion of your uterus. It’s not always easy to figure out why you’re cramping, especially when your body undergoes many changes throughout pregnancy.
If you’ve ever been pregnant, you’ve undoubtedly experienced this cramping discomfort before. Early pregnancy pains are pretty similar to the pain of a period. Pain is felt in the lower abdomen and lasts for a few minutes.
But read on if this is your first pregnancy, and you’re clueless about the why and how of these abdominal cramps.
First Trimester Cramps: Why & Causes
During the first 12 weeks, it’s common to have mild stomach pain due to the following: uterine expansion, ligament straining due to the bump’s growth; hormonal constipation or trapped gas; and constipation. Sometimes, it might feel like a moderate menstrual cramp or a “stitch.” If the discomfort is minor and disappears when you relax, change positions, poop, or pass gas, it’s usually nothing to worry about.
Even if your pregnancy progresses through the first two trimesters, you may sometimes suffer cramps. Because it is a muscle, uterine contractions might cause some degree of discomfort. It’s common for pregnant women to experience this due to constipation, full bladder, gas, or bloating.
Mild cramping is also a common symptom of urinary tract infections and yeast infections. Exercise-related cramps are a warning sign that you need to stop what you’re doing and rest. Some cramping after sexual activity is also normal.
Early Pregnancy Cramps: Symptoms
When you’re expecting for the first time, physical symptoms like stomach aches may cause you concern. Early pregnancy cramps are familiar but worth paying attention to.
In most cases, the discomfort associated with pregnancy cramps is milder than that associated with a period. You can suffer brief lower abdominal pains at the beginning of your pregnancy. Moreover, light spotting in early pregnancy may be associated with implantation bleeding.
You should take a pregnancy test if you’re experiencing cramps, nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, and spotting, and you’re not sure if you’re pregnant or not. Pregnancy may first manifest itself with these signs.
Make an appointment with your doctor immediately if you start experiencing anything out of the norm. You can determine if your cramps are typical during the first trimester of pregnancy and if you need to see a doctor by familiarising yourself with the symptoms that occur during this time.
Early Pregnancy Cramps: Treatment
Once you’ve determined nothing serious with the cramps you’ve been experiencing, it’s okay to treat them at home. Some certain tips and tricks can help relieve these cramps without any medication:
- Just hydrate yourself with water. If you’re dehydrated, you’re more prone to get cramps. Drink a minimum of eight glasses of water daily.
- Consider switching positions if you’re experiencing cramps when lying down or sitting up. Please refrain from applying direct force to the painful area.
- Activate your muscles with some stretching and light movement. Stretching and little exercise might help alleviate muscular cramps during pregnancy. This may help prevent future cramps in addition to easing present ones.
- A massage can help alleviate muscular cramps by increasing blood flow to the affected areas. A little back massage may assist ease discomfort.
- A good night’s sleep is vital in the early stages of pregnancy since it helps you feel refreshed. Make it a habit to obtain a good night’s rest every night.
When Should You See A Doctor?
You should see a doctor immediately if you feel any of the following forms of cramping:
- Extreme discomfort that refuses to ease
- Prolonged contractions and pain in the lower abdomen
- Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and lightheadedness might occur, as well as vaginal pain, bleeding, and discharge.
- The onset of muscle cramps and neck and shoulder aches.
The Potential Causes of Severe Abdominal Discomfort
While cramps can mostly be harmless, getting checked out immediately for some diseases that might cause stomach pain is essential. Therefore, if you’re experiencing any sort of cramps, it’s advisable to check them up with your gynaecologist.
Here are some of the severe causes of cramps during pregnancy:
Miscarriage or impending miscarriage might be indicated by cramping sensations and bleeding before 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The term refers to the implantation of a fertilised egg in a location other than the uterus, such as the fallopian tube. Pregnancy termination is medically or surgically necessary at this point.
Between 4 and 12 weeks of pregnancy, various symptoms may begin to manifest. These can be problems passing urine or faeces, including abdominal pain, bleeding, and pain around the shoulder blade.
UTI (urinary tract infection)
Pregnant women frequently get UTIs, although these infections are typically readily managed. Stomach ache and, less often, pain in the bladder are possible side effects.
Later in pregnancy, it’s usual to experience pain just under the ribcage from the expanding baby and uterus pressing up under the ribs.
However, (high blood pressure during pregnancy) which affects certain pregnant women, can be a cause of severe or prolonged right-sided abdominal pain. Typically, it begins at 20 weeks or shortly after delivery.
Abruption Of the Placenta
Once the placenta separates from the uterine wall, it’s common for the pregnant woman to have extreme pain and bleeding that doesn’t subside like during contractions.
There is a risk that the placenta is not functioning correctly, making this a medical emergency. Get yourself and the baby checked out at the hospital.
Beginning of Labour Too Soon
Call your midwife if you’re experiencing consistent stomach cramping or tightening and you’re not 37 weeks pregnant yet.
You may be experiencing the beginning of preterm labour and must be closely watched in the hospital.
Some cramping during pregnancy is expected, especially in the early stages. That said, you should still feel free to approach your doctor with any concerns you may have, especially if this is your first child or if you see anything out of the ordinary.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so keep track of how long and often your cramps last and discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider if they persist.