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Cramps During Pregnancy

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Congratulations on your pregnancy! Now that you are pregnant you have probably been experiencing some cramping and pain which is totally normal during pregnancy.

 

Cramping occurs because your uterus is expanding and everything is starting to move to make room for your baby.  

 

I am going to go over a few things so that you know what causes cramping, how you can treat it, ways to prevent it from happening, and when you should see your doctor.

women holding abdomen in pain

normal Cramps during pregnancy and what causes it

Cramping is going to happen at different points throughout your pregnancy, especially in early and mid-trimester when your body is changing and growing.

 

You are already feeling some pregnancy discomfort, tender breasts, nausea, morning sickness, and fatigue.

 

Abdominal cramping and pain can cause you to be concerned and worry that something is wrong, that is why I wrote this article to help ease your mind and let you know what is normal.

 

Gas and bloating

Gas and bloating are very common especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, this causes you to have some cramping due to hormone changes and the slowing of your digestive tract.

 

You will know this is what is causing your cramps if you get relief by having a bowel movement or passing gas.

 

Constipation is going to happen at some point especially while taking prenatal vitamins due to the iron they contain and depending on your fiber intake.

 

You can help ease these cramps by eating smaller meals, drinking plenty of water and eating lots of fiber-rich foods.

 

Try to stay away from food that causes gas like broccoli, beans, wheat, onions, garlic, dairy, sugar, and soda. These foods will all give you gas and cause you to feel more uncomfortable and no one wants that especially since you already are feeling this way.

 

For a list of what food you should be eating right now, this article What To Eat During Pregnancy might be really helpful!

Cramping after sex

It’s normal to have some cramping after sex and some women experience a little bleeding and backache.

 

According to healthline.com this usually occurs after orgasm due to the increase in blood flow to your uterus and your body releasing oxytocin. Semen also contains prostaglandins that can trigger uterine contractions as well.

 

Don’t let this stop you from enjoying sex unless of course, your doctor told you not to engage in sexual activity due to a high-risk pregnancy.

Round ligament pain

Round ligament pain is more common in your second and third trimester, this is caused by the ligaments that hold your uterus in place stretching.

 

You may feel this on one side of your abdomen or the other and it can radiate into your hip or groin.

 

Most commonly you may feel it when you sneeze, get out of bed, cough, laugh or make a sudden movement. 

 

I admit it is a strange and painful feeling that lasts for a few seconds to a minute almost like tearing something inside your body. No worries though you haven’t, this is normal!!

 

Some ways you can prevent this is to scrunch your body up into the fetal position when you cough or sneeze and move slowly when getting up or changing positions. 

braxton hicks contractions

These are practice contractions that occur and usually start around 20 weeks, your body is warming up for labor and it’s nothing to worry about.

 

They should only last a few seconds to a couple of minutes and be irregular, the time to worry is if they become shorter and last for an hour or more and don’t go away with rest or a soak in a warm bath.

dehydration

It’s very important to stay hydrated throughout your pregnancy, drink at least eight cups of water a day especially if it is hot outside.

 

Eating fruits like watermelon and other fruit or juice that contain water will help as well.

 

You can have period-like cramps if you get dehydrated and this isn’t good for you or baby. 

 

If you start having cramps that don’t seem to go away by changing positions make sure you drink plenty of fluids and rest on your left side.

 

 

If you experience any kind of cramping that doesn’t go away call your doctor!!

cramps during pregnancy and When to worry

These are symptoms to watch for and if they do occur you need to call your doctor or go into the hospital.

I am not telling you this to scare you, these are symptoms that are dangerous and if you do experience them you need to know what they are and when to seek help.

 

These don’t commonly happen to women so please don’t worry about this happening but just know what is normal and what isn’t for your own safety and your babies.

placenta abruption

What is placenta abruption? You may have heard this term before and wondered what it means.

 

Placenta abruption is the partial or complete separation of the placenta from the uterus before a baby is born.

 

This causes severe, persistent abdominal pain and in also in the back along with vaginal bleeding. 

 

If you experience any of these symptoms seek medical attention immediately!! 

Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia usually develops late in the second (after week 20 ) or the third trimester of pregnancy and affects 5-8% of pregnancies.

 

According to American pregnancy.org, the symptoms to watch for are severe headaches, blurred vision, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, pain in the upper right abdomen, shortness of breath, urinating small amounts, and you bruise easily.

 

When you go for your prenatal checkups they always check your urine for protein and also your blood pressure to make sure that you don’t have preeclampsia or something else.

 

Sometimes women with preeclampsia have no symptoms according to preeclampsia.org and this is why your doctor checks every time you have a checkup.

 

If you experience any of the symptoms above you should call your doctor immediately or go in just to be on the safe side.

 

labor contractions

How do you know if you are having labor contractions? You will have cramping that comes at regular intervals and increases in frequency.

 

Sometimes they start in your back and you feel it radiate into your abdomen this is called back labor. I had this with both my pregnancies and it hurts!!

 

They become stronger as they increase along with being more painful and are felt across your abdomen and lower back.

 

You may notice a change in vaginal discharge like bleeding and leaking along with pressure in your pelvic region of the baby pushing down.

 

If you are 37 weeks or less this could be preterm labor and you need to call your doctor or go to the hospital right away. 

 

For more on how to know if you are in labor, this article may be helpful Signs That Your Labor Has Started| What You Need to Know.

Final thoughts on cramps during pregnancy

Pregnancy has lots of aches and pains that go along with it, unfortunately, having cramping early and late in pregnancy is very normal.

 

Just remember that if you experience any of these symptoms that you should worry about, seek medical attention. 

 

If you have any doubt or questions it is always best to call your doctor just to make sure things are normal.

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