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Cramps During Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Experiencing cramping during the pregnancy period can be frightening, but it’s actually one of the most common symptoms. One of the most reassuring facts is that most cramps are not really dangerous. In fact, cramping early pregnancy and during the later periods is just the uterus’s reaction to almost any kind of situation.

However, unlike the other pregnancy discomforts, such as tender breasts, sore feet, or an achy back, these abdominal pains can easily cause any woman to feel very concerned. Keep reading and find out everything you need to know about pregnancy cramps – our guide will let you know what is and what isn’t normal.

Is Cramping While Pregnant Normal?

Some abdominal pain and cramping during the pregnancy period is usually quite normal and is associated with a broad range of things. These include everything from round ligament pain and increased blood flow to the uterus to Braxton-Hicks contractions and simple constipation.

However, it’s crucial to mention that it can also be a symptom of preeclampsia, miscarriage, tract infection and other conditions that require immediate medical attention. Even though calling your health-care professional is always the safest choice, let’s have a look at how to know when cramps are harmless and when do they indicate something serious.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

Are you wondering if your cramps require medical attention? To be safe, a future mom should always contact her health-care professional in case she’s concerned about cramping. Severe or continuous abdominal pain, on the other hand, means that you need to call the doctor immediately.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with your health-care professional if your cramps are accompanied by these conditions:

  • Severe headache
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Bleeding or spotting
  • Chills or fever
  • Difficult urinating, burning or pain during urination, blood in your urine
  • Vision changes, such as temporary blindness, sensitivity to light, seeing flashing spots or lights, or having blurred vision
  • Having more than four contractions during one hour – this can be a symptom of the incoming labor

Abdominal Cramps Occurring Throughout Pregnancy

Gastric Distress

During pregnancy, bloating and gas often occurs due to the increased levels of progesterone. This is a hormone whose job is to relax the muscles in the person’s digestive tract. The result of this is slowed-down digestion, which leads to constipation and bloating, and both of these conditions can cause crampy feelings in future mom’s abdomen.

The discomfort is probably related to digestion in case the bowel movement or a passing gas provides short-term relief. Preventing gastrointestinal issues is best done by taking your time when eating, consuming fiber-rich foods, drinking a lot of water, and having many smaller meals instead of a few larger ones. In case these changes are not helping you, your practitioner will probably prescribe a stool softener for constipation.

Cramps After Orgasm

Having cramps during and after orgasm is very common and usually harmless. It’s not a reason for stopping enjoying sex, as the problem is typically psychological (the future mom is worried about the baby getting hurt during intercourse). Another cause can be the regular uterine contractions or the increased blood flow to the pelvic region that take place during orgasm.

Blood Flow to the Uterus

As the body sends more blood to the cervix than usually during the pregnancy, there is typically a feeling of pressure in that part of the body. To relieve these aches, you can soak yourself in a warm bath or just lie down to rest.

pregnancy-cramps

Early pregnancy cramps

Implantation

In the earliest part of your pregnancy, there’s a chance you’ll experience menstrual-like cramping, right around the time of your period. Light bleeding and those slight twinges occur because of the fertilized egg slowly attaching itself to the uterine wall. This takes place around ten days after the ovulation and usually doesn’t last for more than one day.

Ectopic Pregnancy

Another cause of cramping in early pregnancy can be the ectopic pregnancy. It’s a condition in which the embryo attaches itself anywhere else but on the uterus. In most cases, this causes severe cramping that simply won’t go away and gets worse with time.

This condition often causes faintness, lightheadedness, shoulder pain, as well as vaginal bleeding. It is usually diagnosed through blood tests and ultrasounds.

Miscarriage

Cramping during early pregnancy can also be a sign of a miscarriage. Cramping associated with spontaneous abortion typically takes place in the pelvic area or abdomen and is usually accompanied by bleeding. Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester, although they can also take place in the second one as well.

Late pregnancy cramps

Round ligament pain

Period cramps during pregnancy third trimester are usually the symptom of stretched round ligaments, which are the bands of tissue that hold the uterus in its place. This kind of pain is often felt on one side and usually occurs when you make a sudden movement, such as coughing, laughing, and sneezing. For relief, change positions slowly and get plenty of rest.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

Also called “practice contractions,” the Braxton Hicks contractions typically start at 20 weeks of pregnancy. In simple terms, these contractions are your body’s way of preparing you for the real deal – giving birth to your child. Drink plenty of water and change positions every time you experience one.

Placental Abruption

In case the placenta wholly or partially separates from the uterus before childbirth takes place, there’s a chance you’ll experience persistent and severe abdominal and back pain, as well as vaginal bleeding. If this happens to you, seek immediate medical attention.

Preeclampsia

Occurring in the second half of the pregnancy period, preeclampsia is a condition characterized by sudden high protein in the urine and high blood pressure. Along with the abdominal pain, other symptoms include nausea, severe headaches, vomiting, shortness of breath, changes in vision, and swelling in the face. As it is treatable and causes an increased risk of dangerous placental abruption, it requires immediate medical attention.

Conclusion

As you can see, having cramps while pregnant can be both completely normal and a cause for serious concern. In case resting, drinking fluids, and taking (prescribed) drugs is not helping, make sure to contact your health-care professional and stop the trouble from happening.

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