Abdominal Pain during Pregnancy: Should You Be Worried?

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le

One of the major concerns of all mothers is about their stomach cramps during their period of pregnancy: “Should I ignore my cramps, or should I have a check at the hospital instead?” This post will give you everything you need to know about pregnancy abdominal pain.

3 harmless types of abdominal pain during pregnancy

1.Round ligament pain

Pregnant women normally experience round ligament pain at the beginning of their second trimester. It is mostly described as a sharp and stabbing pain that occurs in one’s lower abdominal region for a short amount of time. This is due to the fact that as the mother’s womb begins to develop, the round ligament locating outside of it begins to stretch out and thicken in order to accommodate the womb’s expansion since its job is to connect and support the organs.

2.Slight abdominal cramping

Slight cramping in the belly is often considered as one of the initial signs of pregnancy. However most of the times, it also continues throughout the second and third trimesters. Doctors explain that these are the results of gastric distress and constipation of the mother as her digestion in this period slows down due to the pregnancy hormones her body produces. It is also a normal thing for a pregnant woman to have a mild cramp-like pain in her stomach during or after orgasm since it triggers her uterine to contract.

3. Braxton-Hicks Contractions:

This type of contraction is also labeled as “fake” or “practice” contraction, which mostly occurs in those final weeks of pregnancy. It is the way of the body to prepare itself for the upcoming delivery. It is typically not painful and often is described as a tightening sensation in the uterus. Mothers can differentiate Braxton-Hicks contractions from real contractions by starting to move around, eat something or take a warm bath. Unlike real contractions prior labor, these preparatory contractions often subside when the mother does gentle exercises or relaxes.

Potential life-threatening causes of abdominal pain:

1.Premature birth

A mother can be diagnosed with preterm birth if her cervix starts to be dilated due to contractions within the first 37 weeks of pregnancy.

2. Ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic or tubal pregnancy is defined as a condition in which the mother’s fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus. As the egg starts to grow, the mother suffers from severe one-sided cramping that worsens over time. Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical treatment. If a woman is diagnosed with ectopic pregnancy, she has no choice but to terminate her unborn baby.

3. Placental abruption

The placenta is an organ attached to the inner wall of the womb. Its primary responsibility is to provide the baby with an adequate source of oxygen and nutrients. However, there are certain cases in which the placenta is partially or completely peeled away from the uterus’s wall. This condition significantly prevents the baby from having access to sources that maintain their survival, which can put both the mother and her baby in danger.

4. Miscarriage

Miscarriage, or spontaneous abortion, is defined as a pregnancy loss within the first 20 weeks. The most common cause of miscarriage is abnormalities in chromosomes or the uterine. 15 to 20 percent of pregnancy ends in a miscarriage every year.

When to seek medical help

Call your doctor immediately if one of these signs occur:

  • Vaginal discharge of water, mucus or blood
  • Increasedpressure in pelvic
  • Heavy abdominal pain
  • Having more than 6 contractions per hour (even when you feel no pain)
  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness or fever
  • Swollen hands, legs or face

Abdominal discomfort is a natural phenomenon of pregnancy.However, there are still possibilities for it to be a sign of underlying health issues. That’s why pregnant mothers should always play safe and call their doctors whenever they experience abnormal changes in their bodies.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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