Most pregnant women experience abdominal cramps or pain at some point in their pregnancy. These cramps occur when the uterus expands which causes the muscles that support it to stretch.
Although cramps during pregnancy are normal and quite common, there is a difference between cramps that are normal and cramps that can be dangerous for your pregnancy.
When Are Cramps Normal
You may feel contractions after sexual intercourse, but they are not dangerous and will go away after some time. However, if the pain is severe and doesn’t go away or if bleeding occurs, you should consult your doctor.
2. Round ligament pain
Round ligament is a band of tissue that supports the uterus and when it stretches; you will experience a sharp pain on the side of your abdomen. It generally occurs when you cough or sneeze or make abrupt movements.
It is mostly felt during the second trimester and is temporary. However, it doesn't stay for long and is completely harmless.
3. Braxton hicks contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions, also known as "practice contractions" is the act of the uterus stretching its muscles and preparing for the real labour pain. These contractions are infrequent and not painful.
It is important to identify whether you are having these contractions or real labour.
Drinking water is important during pregnancy as the main reason for these contractions is dehydration. However, peeing is even more important. Don't keep your bladder full as it can also lead to false labour contractions.
Consult your doctor if the contractions become severely painful and frequent.
Urinary tract infections(UTIs) can cause cramps during pregnancy. They can also lead to your kidneys getting infected and can result in preterm labour. You should get your urine tested everytime you visit your doctor to see if any such infections persist and get them treated as soon as possible.
5. Gastrointestinal Issues
In some cases, cramps during pregnancy might also be due to a gastrointestinal problem. Pregnancy hormones slow down your digestion process and can cause constipation. It is not a very serious issue and can be treated by bowel movements or passing gas.
What Will Help
If you experience cramps during pregnancy, there are few things you can do to ease the pain and feel better:
- Take a warm bath.
- Try to change positions.
- Take rest physically as well as mentally.
- Use a hot water bottle/bag and keep it on the area where the pain occurs.
- Drink lots of water.
When to see your doctor
If you have the following symptoms, consult your doctor immediately:
- Continuous unbearable pain
- Painful urination and lower abdominal pain
- Vaginal cramping, bleeding, watery discharge, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Cramping along with bleeding or spotting can be signs of early pregnancy but can also be signs of a miscarriage.
- Back or abdominal pain which involves vomiting or fever.
Mostly, these cramps are normal and harmless, but you should never hesitate in enquiring about them if any doubts occur in your mind. So examine your cramps carefully and if anything bothers you, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Also read: Is Swelling During Pregnancy Normal?