A pregnant woman’s body undergoes a lot of changes as it has to adapt to the growing life inside the womb. During pregnancy, a woman has to face a lot of discomfort and pain. One of the most common problem that a pregnant woman usually complains during pregnancy is abdominal pain. It is but natural to get a little anxious and worry about the safety of the baby when facing any kind of abdominal pain. In most of the cases, abdominal pain during pregnancy is harmless but then there are some instances where abdominal pain can indicate a serious problem. Continue reading to know all about abdominal pain during pregnancy.
Is It Normal To Have Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy?
Experiencing an abdominal discomfort is a common and often harmless complaint during pregnancy. Remember that the abdominal organs are shifting due to the expanding uterus over the course of pregnancy. Even gas formation in the stomach can cause excruciating abdominal pain during pregnancy.
What Are The Causes Of Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy?
While you are pregnant and carrying a baby in the womb, it puts a lot of pressure on the joints, veins and situated near the womb. This can make you feel extremely uncomfortable specially around the belly area. In addition to this, when the uterus expands, the ligaments and muscles that support it will also stretch. This process can cause pain in the abdomen. The causes of abdominal pain can be either harmless or serious. Let’s have a look at all of them.
Common Causes Of Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy
Here are some reasons that can cause abdominal pain during pregnancy that are quite common and generally pose no threat to the mother and the baby.
- Round ligament pain: Even though it is considered as a normal part of pregnancy, round ligament pain, which is most often felt during the second trimester is a short, sharp, stabbing pain. It usually happens when the expecting mother suddenly changes her position like getting out of bed or out of a chair or, roll over in bed, or get out of the bathtub
- Gas formation and bloating: Pregnancy hormone progesterone makes the intestinal muscles to relax. This will increase the time taken by the food to go through the intestines up to 30 percent. Longer the food remains in the colon, more chances of developing gas increases
- Cramping: An abdominal pain can be also be experienced due to cramping, which happens due because of stretching ligaments and muscles that support the growing uterus
- Constipation: Constipation, a side effect of pregnancy can also cause abdominal pain in pregnant woman
- Braxton hicks contractions: Braxton Hicks contractions or false labor can cause abdominal pain in the last trimester of pregnancy
- Sexual intercourse: Some expecting mothers are found to experience abdominal pain after sexual intercourse. Read : Is Sex Safe During Pregnancy?
Serious Causes Of Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy
Abdominal pain during pregnancy may also be a sign of other, more serious conditions that require medical attention. Some of the significant issues that can cause abdominal pain during pregnancy are:
- Ectopic pregnancy: An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in one of the Fallopian tubes. If between the sixth and tenth week of pregnancy there is Intense abdominal pain and bleeding then it can be a sign of ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy cannot be continued and needs immediate medical attention. If it is not detected and treated on time, an ectopic pregnancy can be life threatening
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding: Vaginal spotting or bleeding accompanied by abdominal pain can be a sign of some serious issues that affects a normal pregnancy
- Miscarriage: Vaginal spotting followed by abdominal pain that is similar to the rhythmic menstrual pain a few hours or a couple of days later can be an indication of a miscarriage
- Preterm labor: Abdominal pain accompanied by lower back pain and increased vaginal discharge during the last trimester can be an indication of preterm labor
- Placental abruption: Placental abruption is a life threatening condition in which due to various reasons the placenta gets separated from the uterine wall. Along with other symptoms, severe abdominal pain is a significant sign of placental abruption
- Preeclampsia: Intense pain in the upper abdomen can be a sign of preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication. Preeclampsia can develop any time after the 20th week of gestation
- Urinary tract infection: Expecting mothers are more prone to urinary tract infections. Lower abdominal pain and burning sensation during urinating are the main symptoms of UTI
- Appendicitis: A significant symptoms of a ruptured appendix is sharp pain in the lower right quadrant of the abdominal area, during pregnancy, it may appear higher up. This is because as the uterus expands, the appendix moves up and can remain close to the belly button or liver
- Food poisoning: Food poisoning can bring about several gastric issues either mild or severe. Despite the degree of gastric issues, abdominal pain is the main symptom of food poisoning
- Gallbladder disease: During pregnancy, stones in the gallbladder are quite common, especially if the expecting mother is overweight, or is above 35 years, or is prone to developing stones
How To Ease Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy?
Yes, there are some measures that will help to ease abdominal pain during the pregnancy. Remember that only harmless abdominal pain can be eased by the following measures. Abdominal pain with a significant underlying cause requires treatment. The abdominal discomfort during pregnancy can be eased by:
- Taking a warm bath or hot shower
- Lying down for a while
- Gently moving around for some time
- Bending towards the point of pain
- Sitting down for a while
- Increasing the intake of water or fluid
- Using hot compresses like a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel at the point where the pain is felt
When To Call The Doctor
Persisting severe abdominal pain, which is not reduced even after taking rest for a while needs attention. Never hesitate to seek medical attention if any of the following symptoms accompany the abdominal pain:
- If the abdominal pain is severe and if the severity increases
- Severe headache
- Visual disturbances
- Rhythmic abdominal pain (similar to menstrual pain) before 12 weeks of pregnancy
- Discomfort while urinating
- Pain along with chills and fever
- Spotting or bleeding
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unusual vaginal discharge