Are you afraid that cramps can affect your baby? Are you concerned that cramping could be a problem? Or perhaps there’s nothing you to be worried about. How normal is cramping during pregnancy?
Why do I have cramps?
Most women have some degree of cramping during pregnancy, which is usually the result of digestion problems, stretched muscles, ligatures, or a growing uterus. However, cramping of any kind during pregnancy should be reported to your doctor, you can never be too cautious when you are carrying a new little life.
Cramping during pregnancy, in some cases, could be the first sign of a more serious problem.
What causes cramping during pregnancy?
Cramping can occur within a few days of becoming pregnant and usually precedes a positive pregnancy test.
When the fertilized egg exits the fallopian tube, it enters the uterus where it sinks into the thick lining of the uterus. When implantation occurs, you may have mild cramping much like the first day or two of a regular menstrual cycle.
Each pregnancy is different and some women experience mild cramping during pregnancy with light discharge during the first trimester. Normally this should not be something to be worry about. However you should see your doctor, just to make sure everything is OK.
Cramping accompanied by vaginal discharge or bleeding can be symptoms of miscarriage and they are definitely more a cause for alarm.
If you have severe pain or cramping on one side of the abdomen consult your doctor immediately.
Some women will be sensitive to certain foods and experience pain during digestion, but severe pain is one of the ectopic pregnancy symptoms and can occur without bleeding. You should always immediately report to your doctor if you experience these symptoms. Cramping during pregnancy may end up in a tragedy. Ectopic pregnancies result when the fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus including the fallopian tube, ovary, or abdomen. Most ectopic pregnancies present themselves before ultrasounds can detect a normal pregnancy. Urinalysis, blood work and laparoscopy are usually done when severe cramping occurs during pregnancy, to confirm an ectopic pregnancy. IVF and fertility drugs can increase a woman’s chances of an ectopic pregnancy, so proper monitoring by the physician during the first weeks of pregnancy is important.
Big recommendation during early pregnancy: After you know for sure you are pregnant and feel cramping, you should report immediately to your doctor.
What causes cramping in middle and late pregnancy?
As the baby gains weight, additional pressure is placed on the muscles and ligatures of the abdomen causing regular second trimester cramping.
Consistent cramping during pregnancy, especially if the cramps are regular in duration and time between them, can be considered as normal. But do not hesitate to report it to your doctor.
This type of cramping may be the signal of the onset of pre-term labor, which in many cases can be stopped if caught soon enough.
Braxton Hicks contractions are another common second trimester cause of cramping. Unlike true labor pains, Braxton contractions are irregular, disappear in a few minutes or hours and are more uncomfortable than painful.
Regardless of what trimester you are in, any cramping during pregnancy should be reported to your doctor. Erring on the side of caution is always best for you and your baby.
Is there any remedy to reduce cramping during pregnancy?
There are a few things that you can do to help, reduce, or eliminate cramping and some may provide long lasting relief.
- Eat a well balanced diet and avoid foods that cause gas and bloating. Cramping can be caused by the pressure on the digestive tract during pregnancy and the changes in hormones may cause certain foods to be difficult or uncomfortable to digest.
- Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, will ensure proper hydration and may reduce both digestive cramps and Braxton Hicks contractions.
- Walking, applying a hot water bottle, and gentle abdominal massage will help move gas through the digestive track.
- Warm baths may also help but check with your doctor first especially if you are nearing the end of your pregnancy.
- Bending into a cramp can help relieve the discomfort as will a change of position, sit down if you have been standing and walk if you have been sitting.
Cramping during pregnancy in most cases is benign and should not be cause for concern. Always report any cramping to you doctor regardless of what stage of pregnancy you are in.
Rule of thumb is if there is just cramping or just spotting you are usually ok, but the 2 together are usually a sign that you should get checked out.
Remember there is a little baby at the end of this journey, which makes these discomforts worth it!