If you are pregnant, you may be having some cramping. Women cramp from conception all the way till they have the baby. It can be very normal and can mean different things at different stages of pregnancy.
Cramping in Early Pregnancy
Most pregnant women face some abdominal pains and aches in early pregnancy. Not surprisingly, these early pregnancy symptoms are accompanied by significant changes in the way your body functions. Many changes are happening during this time and your amazing body is registering some of these changes in the form of cramping.
Cramps can be a source of worry and you want to understand why and what is happening. Here are some common causes of cramps in early pregnancy.
Your body is producing a flood of hormones some of which cause cramps as your body prepares to expand and change. Every system of your body needs to adapt and cope with the increasing demands that your pregnancy will make on it.
When the fertilized eggs makes its way and buries or implants into the lining of your uterus, you can experience implantation cramps. This can sometimes be accompanied by a very small amount of bleeding or spotting.
As soon as the fertilized egg implants into the lining of the womb, the uterus experience a number of changes. As the uterus expands, some woman experience cramps and aches. These pains can also be referred to the hip area and reflect changes in the pelvis in particular with your growing uterus. It can be perfectly normal to experience menstrual type cramps in early pregnancy due to the growth that occurs within the ligaments and muscles that attach to and support your uterus into the internal abdominal wall.
Constipation and Gas
Elevated levels of the hormones causes the bodies muscles to relax including those that make up the digestive system which slows down during pregnancy. This can result in constipation and access gas which produces a wide range of pains, pressures, bloating and sometimes cramps.
Cramping may occur on either side of the pelvis and can be accompanied by nausea, spotting and dizziness. An ectopic pregnancy is a medical emergency and you need to see a doctor right away.
Corpus Luteum Cyst
This is the cyst of pregnancy and it is from this structure that the eggs are able to released and then subsequently fertilized. This cyst plays and important role in the early weeks of pregnancy as the corpus luteum produces hormones that support the pregnancy in the early weeks. This cyst can vary in size and the larger ones can cause some cramping and usually resolves on its own.
Women can also experience some strange and uncomfortable sensations, twinges and cramping and each pregnancy can be quite different. So consider these bumps along the road of an amazing journey. Note that if the cramping is severe and long, this may not be normal and you must call your doctor immediately.
The chances of miscarriages are high during the first trimester and what we have to watch for is bleeding alongwith cramping that heightens the concern of a potential miscarriage.
Cramping During Second Trimester
Your baby is now of a good size and weighs several pounds. At this stage, your uterus is stretching a lot. During this time, a very common thing is to try to discern what is cramping, what is baby’s movement and what is round ligament pain.
The round ligament pain is the most common cause of cramping during second trimester and is a feeling of pull on the sides of the uterus. It is caused by the pulling of the ligaments that hold the uterus in the pelvis gets stretched under tension as the uterus grows out of the pelvis.
Ff you are feeling a pull, stretch or pain on one or the other, then that is not so worrisome. It typically gets better when you bend over or curl up and usually lasts for a couple of weeks.
Cramping during third Trimester
In the third trimester there can be new causes for the abdominal pain and cramping.
A lot of times pregnant women may experience Braxton Hicks Contractions.
Another thing that you might notice during this time is specific tightening of your uterus. Those are called contractions. However, they may not be labor contractions. Whereas, Cramping is high frequency, low intensity contractions and they happen quite often. You might even have some cramping in between those contractions and 6 or 10 of the contractions a day is quite normal. If contractions, that as described earlier tightens up the uterus, are more than six an hour, then that is too many of those kind of contractions.
Labor is a different issue and is a rhythmic pattern to the contractions and it comes and goes over time. If a woman is preterm which is less than 37 weeks and is experiencing more than 5 of the contractions an hour, then they need medical attention. If a woman is full-term and is experiencing 5 or more contractions an hour, then it is good news and they are priming to go into labor.
If your cramping, at any of pregnancy, gets worse, is extremely painful accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting or fever, are signs that you should talk to your doctor about.
Cramping that is associated with problems tends to be persistent and progressively gets worse or intense.
Regardless, if you are not sure what kind of abdominal pain you are facing, you are advised to call your doctor.