When women are pregnant, their bodies undergo changes almost daily. As such, it is not surprising for there to be aches and pain felt as the pregnancy progresses. But, when women have pregnancy symptoms that include cramping, it can cause feelings of anxiety and worry. And while many times cramping is nothing to be worried about, there are pregnancy cramps that can be a cause of concern. As such, knowing the signs and symptoms of abnormal cramping can inform women if they are fine or if medical assistance is necessary.
Every pregnancy is different. The first pregnancy that women had may not have caused cramping to occur. Then suddenly, in the second, cramping is very prevalent. Because this pregnancy symptom was not experienced the first time around, it would make sense that women are worried about there being complications to the pregnancy. And while it is comforting to read that cramping is a normal part of the pregnancy process, for those who are concerned, reaching out to a healthcare professional is recommended to see what the proper thing to do is with the cramping being felt.
Here is when pregnancy cramps may be a concern.
Normal Cramps During Early Pregnancy
During early pregnancy, it is not unheard of to have cramping. After all, the body is changing inside and out to be able to accommodate the life growing inside. Therefore, a certain amount of discomfort is expected in the first several months of pregnancy.
According to Banner Health, in early pregnancy, the body is preparing itself to carry a baby. As such, cramping can be caused by:
When the fertilized egg implants into the uterus, there can be some mild cramping. In fact, according to MedicalNewsToday, the feelings can range from a pulling to tingling in the uterus. The cramping can initially be confused with period cramps but because they are milder, they are easy to differentiate.
The growing uterus can cause twinges of pain or cramping, according to Healthline. This cramping feels similar to those felt during a period, per the publication, as they can be in the lower back, vagina, or in the pelvis.
Gas and bloating
As the body changes, hormones change as well. This change in hormones can cause the body to have excess gas, according to VeryWell Family. And that gas trapped in the abdominal region may lead to cramping.
Cramps That May Be Of Concern During Early Pregnancy
There is more serious cramping that can happen during early pregnancy. And unfortunately, they are cause for concern indeed.
In the early stages of an ectopic pregnancy, women will not feel a difference between the egg implanting in the uterus or in the fallopian tube, according to WebMD. It is when the pregnancy begins to progress and the fallopian tube is in distress that pain begins to develop.
Signs of an ectopic pregnancy, per the publication include:
- Pelvic pain
- Light bleeding
- Sharp cramping in abdomen
- Pain on one side of the body
If any of these symptoms are present during pregnancy, an appointment should be made to see a healthcare professional immediately.
One of the first signs of a miscarriage is light bleeding to heavy discharge in the early days of pregnancy. But because bleeding is common in early pregnancy, it is not always a sign that there is something wrong.
According to the NHSsigns that miscarriage may be located include:
- Cramping in the lower abdomen
- Vaginal discharge
- Tissue discharge from vagina
If bleeding of any kind is experienced, contacting a doctor is recommended to determine if a normal pregnancy symptom or something more.
Normal Cramps During Late Pregnancy
The later part of pregnancy brings on a whole host of cramps for women to deal with. The culprit for most of the ones to not be concerned about is round ligament pain.
According to the Mayo Clinic, round ligament pain is generally located on the right side of the pelvis. The pain that is felt can range from feeling tight to spasming to cramping. When this happens, it means that the ligament may have been overstretched and pain is caused as a result.
Round ligament pain can start during the second trimester and can last until babies are born. While uncomfortable, they are not a cause of concern when it comes to cramping.
Cramps That May Be Concerning During Late Pregnancy
Cramping during late pregnancy generally means that contractions have started. If this occurs before babies are due, premature labor may have begun.
According to UCSF Health, when preterm labor has begun, there are several symptoms that may be present. They include:
- More than a half-dozen uterine contractions in an hour
- Period-feeling cramps in the pelvic region
- Low backache
- Pelvic pressure
- Abdominal cramping
- Change in vaginal discharge
Labor is considered preterm at any time between 20 and 37 weeks pregnant. Women with these symptoms should be seen by a doctor immediately to help stop labor until it is closer to the due date of the baby.
Source: Banner Health, MedicalNewsToday, VeryWell Family, WebMD, NHS, Mayo Clinic, UCSF Health
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