Written by Pradeep
Pregnancy is an amazing phase of life. It is a roller coaster ride with its pros and cons. Besides being filled with joy and ecstasy, it is also accompanied by some distressing situations. Abdominal tightening during pregnancy or stomach tightening during early pregnancy and lower backache are the two most common pregnancy concerns observed mostly by expectant mothers.
Abdominal tightening during pregnancy is a feeling of tightness in the abdomen and is often confused with a cramp. Pregnant women might experience it from the first trimester and it will continue till last month of pregnancy. Read to know what is Abdominal tightening and what causes it during pregnancy.
In This Article
Pregnancy brings about many changes in your body one after the other due to alteration in hormones. As your center of gravity changes, you notice pain in joints, tendons, and circulatory and digestive issues. Tightness in the stomach during pregnancy is a feeling of tightness in the abdomen and is often confused with a cramp. As your pregnancy grows, the uterus will feel hard as it brushes against the skin. If you are on the heavier side, you may feel this abdominal tightening during pregnancy much later than a skinny woman. You will feel that you are having stomach tightening at irregular intervals, and you might interpret them as contractions.
Though this feeling of the tight stomach during pregnancy third trimester does not last long, some women have reported that they have felt it for as long as 5 minutes. The tightness in the stomach is often accompanied by weight gain. The increasing weight stretches the skin, and Braxton Hicks contractions or prodromal labor, or false labor may also set in. Braxton-Hicks contractions help prepare your body for actual true labor pains.
In early pregnancy, the stretching of ligaments is responsible for abdominal tightening during pregnancy. As the baby grows and demands more space, the uterus stretches itself pushing the other organs. Because of this, the stomach becomes hard and tight with each passing day, and you could feel uncomfortable with your stomach being tight. Round ligament pain is fairly common during this phase of pregnancy. It may not be regular, though. Besides this constipation, large meals, or flatulence can also lead to abdominal tightening.
In late pregnancy, the movement of the baby can result in a tight stomach. With the advancement of pregnancy, the abdomen expands to accommodate the growing fetus. Your organs and the growing baby share the abdominal space. Abdominal tightening is obvious, and it can be persistent in the last few months. The growing uterus and the baby’s movements can both cause the feeling of tightness in the stomach. Weight gain during pregnancy is also associated with the tightening of the abdomen.
The fat deposited under the skin stretches your abdominal wall and causes tightening. Gastric problems are also frequent in late pregnancy that can cause the stomach to feel tighter. However, if the tightening is more pronounced and does not go away, it could be a sign of preterm or even full-term labor. Progesterone hormone is sometimes used to avoid preterm labour in some cases.
Braxton Hicks Contractions, which are quite frequent in the second and third trimester, are also responsible for abdominal tightening during pregnancy. These contractions are often referred to as ‘false labor’. Try to record the frequency of the contractions and their duration as well. This information is very helpful for your doctor.
The placenta is important as it nourishes the growing fetus. Under normal conditions, it is attached closely to the uterine muscular wall. Sometimes it detaches and descends into the lower uterine segment. Bleeding occurs, and the uterus becomes firm and often tender to touch. This tightening is not temporary but lasts for long. In this condition-the abruption placenta poses a severe threat to the mother as well as the developing baby.
[Read : Placental Abruption]
As your stomach is pressed for space to accommodate the growing baby and the uterus, a large meal can cause a struggle for space in the limited quarters of your stomach. It is always advised to consume healthy food at regular intervals instead of gobbling a lot of food in one sitting. You will surely feel a difference if you plan your eating frequency and quantity.
Most women experience constipation as a side-effect of pregnancy. Constipation can cause gas, bloating and your stomach feels solid and hard. You may feel a tightening of the stomach owing to so much space constraint.
You should call your doctor right away if the abdominal tightening during pregnancy is getting longer and stronger, and you fall into a high-risk pregnancy. Following conditions require intervention from the doctor:
The treatment of abdominal tightening is dependent upon the underlying causes:
Not always easy, but some signs can help you distinguish Braxton Hicks contractions from true labor.
Remember a little discomfort is normal in pregnancy, and there is nothing to be vexed about it. You know it very well when it becomes more than what you can bear, and the need for medical assistance arises.
[Read : Water Breaking During Pregnancy]
Although it is normal to feel a tight stomach during pregnancy, the cause behind this feeling varies. During early pregnancy it is because of ligaments stretching and later on it could be due to gas or uterus stretch.
Yes, the stomach does feel tight during early pregnancy, because the muscles stretch when the uterus expands to accommodate the growing fetus.
The cause of stomach tightening during the first trimester can be ligament tightening, gas, constipation, or miscarriage. But later on in the third trimester, it can be due to overeating, nearing delivery time, pressure on the abdomen, or even baby’s movement.
Stomach tightening during pregnancy is because of one or many of the following reasons- Gas, constipation, miscarriage, uterus stretch, ligament pain, Braxton Hick contractions, fetal movement, or overeating.
Read Also: How To Identify Braxton-Hicks Contractions?