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Abdominal Cramps During Pregnancy

Abdominal Cramps During Pregnancy

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You may have felt occasional bouts of lower abdominal cramps. There is no reason for undue worries. It’s quite common during pregnancy. It may happen due to certain adaptation processes that the body undergoes during pregnancy. However, if it does become severe and continues for longer periods of time, then it can be indicative of some underlying complications of pregnancy. It’s better to consult your doctor in such cases.

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Why does it happen?

Your body is trying to make space for your baby. Lower abdominal pain may happen during the early weeks of pregnancy. There can be many reasons for this. For some expecting mothers occasional or sporadic abdominal discomfort during pregnancy, which are similar to menstrual cramps, may simply be a sign that the uterus is preparing to carry the baby through the next nine months of pregnancy.

The uterus is expanding. Expansion of the uterus puts a pressure on the stomach and intestine and the stomach gets constricted, leading to cramping. Also, the secretion of the progesterone hormone slows down the intestinal activities leading to constipation, gas and bloating. These can cause abdominal pains in the process.

Your ligaments are thickening to support the baby. During the second trimester, one very common reason for abdominal pain is the round ligament pain. In this trimester, to accommodate and support the growing foetus, the ligaments of the uterine wall thicken, leading to long lasting pain.

However, abdominal pain accompanied by other symptoms including chills, fever, spotting or bleeding may signify something more serious. If this is the case it is better to consult your doctor immediately.

What can be the complications?

Not always, but sometimes these cramps may indicate certain complications. For instance:

Ectopic pregnancy: This condition occurs during early pregnancy when a fertilized egg gets a implanted outside woman’s uterus, more commonly in the fallopian tube. Typically this condition arises in the first few weeks of pregnancy. If it is not treated then, it may result in the rupture of the fallopian tubes. Signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include spotting, abdominal pain and tenderness, bleeding, back pain, shoulder pain, dizziness or faintness.

Miscarriage: Occasionally lower abdominal pain is a sign of im pending miscarriage. Symptoms of this typically include light or heavy bleeding and menstrual like cramping that gradually increases in intensity. Many women experience back pain. If your pregnancy is confirmed and symptoms like spotting, bleeding, and cramping arise, be sure to contact your doctor right away.

Pre-term labor: Lower abdominal pain at a later stage in pregnancy may be a of premature labor. Preterm labor is typically characterized by regular abdominal contractions that start dilating and effacing the cervix. You may experience vaginal discharge, that is, a bloody mucous accompanied by cramping, or low back pain. In many cases early labor can be stopped effectively by medical intervention, allowing mothers to carry their baby to term.

Other causes: Few other causes of lower abdominal pain during pregnancy may include placental abruption and preeclampsia. Some women may also experience abdominal pain during pregnancy because of kidney stones, gallbladder diseases, or even pancreatitis. These diseases may result in debilitating pain and in some cases might warrant surgery during pregnancy. It’s better to consult your doctor if you have recurrent pain.

How to counter it?

Remain calm, consult your doctor, and find out exactly why these cramps are happening. The knowledge of the what, why, and how of it can put you at ease.

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