Cramping during pregnancy is universal as it’s the uterus response to anything happening in your body. It occurs when the uterus expands causing stretching in the muscles and ligaments creating pain noticeable while sneezing or changing positions.
Cramping in early pregnancy results due to regular changes to your body as the baby develops. They are a pulling sensation on one or both side of your abdomen usually harmless but needing medical attention if it becomes severe.
During this phase, Round Ligament Pain is often common to happen characterized by stretches causing sharp, stabbing pain in the lower abdomen.
Cramping during Late Pregnancy
During the third trimester, cramps may be a result of Braxton Hicks Contractions, Labor Contractions, and Round Ligament Pain. The body is preparing for labor resulting in several decreases which may be regular and long last.
- Bloating and gas
- Corpus luteal cyst (forms on the same ovary which matured the egg along with releasing it before fertilization)
- Placental abruption
- Stretching of muscles and ligaments
- Gallbladder stone or infection
- The growth of the uterus
- Hemorrhoids (develop due to increased blood pressure)
Signs of Cramping during Pregnancy you should never ignore
- Six or more contractions in an hour
- Dizziness or bleeding
- Pink discharge from the vagina
- Any constant cramping
- Intense Abdominal pain
- Constant stabbing pain
- Dull backaches
- Intense pelvic pressure
- Five or more contractions in an hour
Cramps after Sex
Some women experience cramping after sex which is often not dangerous but if it leads to pain or bleeding, that would be a sign to stop it and consult your doctor immediately
- Miscarriage: Mild cramping causing vaginal bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage causing severe cramps.
- Ectopic pregnancy: It causes painful cramping as the fetus grows outside the uterus resulting in complications.
- UTI: Painful urination and lower abdominal pain is a sign of urinary tract infections.
- Preeclampsia: High blood pressure with protein in your urine is a sign of preeclampsia causing severe cramps
- Placental Abruption: This occurs before the delivery when the placenta separates from the uterus causing painful cramps that do not go away.
- Preterm birth: Increased cramping and abdominal pain can be a sign or preterm labor
You may need some painkillers for the severe pain for which consulting a doctor is always the best choice. Do not take medicines such as ibuprofen as they can harm you resulting in heart problems in the baby. Acetaminophen is the most common medicine for pregnant women which is safe to use during pregnancy but avoid taking any type of painkiller during the first trimester as the baby develops.
When will the Cramps stop?
Usually, after the uterus enlarges and is better supported by the bones in the pelvis, cramps may stop as the ligaments and muscles become large with enough energy to bear the weight of the growing uterus.
- Practice relaxation exercises
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid constipation
- Try to sit, lie down or change positions
- Apply heat pack on the aching area
- Soak in a warm bath
- Avoid crossing legs while sitting
- Using elastic belly band for support
- Medication or mild yoga
- Practicing several relaxation techniques
- Don’t smoke
- Avoid having unnecessary X-rays
When to seek Medical help?
Consult the doctor immediately on experiencing following types of cramping during pregnancy:
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Cramping along with pain in the neck or shoulders
- Vaginal bleeding, cramping, discharge, dizziness or gastrointestinal
- Severe constant pain
- Problems while passing the urine
- High body temperature or chills
- If your pregnancy symptoms are unnoticeable
- A severe headache