Cramping during pregnancy occurs when the uterus expands so that the ligaments and muscles that support the uterus are stretched. The sensation may be felt on one or both sides of your abdomen. It usually lasts for 10 to 20 seconds.
The first trimester of pregnancy is usually the most tiring time. The woman experiences many symptoms, from nausea to dizziness, headache, mood swings, food cravings, changes in taste, morning sickness, weight gain, back pain, spotting, and cramps.
On the journey to motherhood, pregnant women go through emotional, physical, and behavioral changes. They are different for different people; some have severe abnormal pain and others do not.
During the first trimester, cramping is normal. Many women notice it when the fertilized egg becomes implanted in the uterine wall.
When you are pregnant and you suddenly feel cramping, it is perfectly normal, so do not be scared yet. There can be several causes for abdominal pain.
Implantation: This is when the embryo burrows into the wall of the uterus. Cramping from implantation is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy.
Stretching of Muscles and Ligaments: Cramping often occurs when the uterus stretches, making the ligaments and muscles supporting it expand. This is noticeable to a pregnant woman when she sneezes, coughs, or changes positions.
During the second trimester, another typical cause of cramping is round ligament pain. The round ligament supports the uterus. When it expands, a pregnant woman may feel a sharp searing pain in the lower abdomen.
Sexual Intercourse and Digestive Disorders: Other causes of cramping include sexual intercourse, gas and bloating, and constipation. During sexual intercourse with your partner, you can experience cramping as a result of orgasm. This type of cramping is normal. It sometimes feels like normal period cramps and usually goes away rapidly. Please note: If the pain is intense and accompanied by bleeding, it’s time to schedule a doctor’s appointment.
Braxton Hicks contractions are something like labor pains, so they are also known as practice contractions. They occur during the second and third trimesters. A pregnant woman will feel her uterus tighten for 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time.
The cramps are usually irregular, not always frequent, and mostly unpredictable. A pregnant woman can practice the breathing exercises she’ll use during actual labor during the Braxton Hicks contractions. The contractions can be triggered when the mother or baby is active or when the mother has a full bladder or is dehydrated.
Cramping That Is a Cause for Concern During Pregnancy
Although most types of cramping are perfectly normal, some may have a serious origin.
Ectopic Pregnancy: This occurs when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. It may attach to a fallopian tube, the abdominal cavity, or the cervix. Ectopic pregnancy causes heavy cramping and is a serious medical condition that must be reported to your doctor for treatment. An ectopic pregnancy can manifest itself through chronic abdominal cramps.
Miscarriage: Severe cramping occurs with miscarriage and needs a doctor’s attention as soon as possible. Vaginal spotting accompanied by searing pains can be a sign of miscarriage. Some women with this type of cramping go on to deliver safely and have healthy babies, however. Any pregnant woman with severe cramping should see her doctor right away.
Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia can cause severe pain in your upper abdomen. It is a condition in which the mother’s blood pressure is very high and protein is present in the urine.
Preterm Labor: Another serious concern for cramping is preterm labor, which occurs with dilation of the cervix before 37 weeks. Increased pressure and abdominal pain, including cramping, can be signs of preterm labor. Urinary Tract Infection: Lower abdominal pain and painful urination may be symptoms of a urinary tract infection. See your doctor immediately for treatment.
Placental Abruption: This happens when the placenta disengages from the uterus before the baby is born. This is a life-threatening condition and is usually followed by very painful and severe cramping that does not go away. If you are experiencing this, contact your doctor immediately.
During pregnancy, there can be normal mild cramping or severe cramping. If you experience any of the types of cramping listed below, a visit to your doctor is necessary.
• Lower abdominal pain followed by contractions that last longer than 10 to 20 seconds • Severe pain that does not go away immediately • Cramping along with pain in the shoulder and near the waist; this should be reported to your doctor immediately • Vaginal cramping with bleeding and an abnormal discharge or with gastrointestinal symptoms and dizziness should be checked; it may be due to an infection and needs treatment immediately
The information contained in this post is for general information purposes only. Cramping During Pregnancy | Symptoms & Causes is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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