Why Abdominal Cramps Occur During Pregnancy

Most women face abdominal cramps/pain both during early and later stages of pregnancy. The cause for these cramps differ during each stage. Some causes of abdominal cramps are harmless whereas some of them can be a sign of danger. Since it is not possible to differentiate the kind of cramps, it is advisable to contact your doctor any time you suffer from abdominal cramps.


Why Abdominal Cramps Occur During Pregnancy

Causes

Some causes of abdominal cramps during early pregnancy are:

You may feel cramping after implantation. This usually occurs a week or so after ovulation.

Your uterus expands itself to prepare for the baby's arrival. The ligaments supporting the uterus get stretched and you may experience mild cramps.

You have a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. In this case, spotting or bleeding occurs along with the cramps. The abdominal pain in case of an ectopic pregnancy will usually be on one side.

Constipation and other gastric problems that pregnant women are prone to. In some cases, you may find cramps due to constipation during later stages of pregnancy also.

Some causes of abdominal cramps during late pregnancy are:

Round ligament pain occurs mostly during the second and third trimester. The expansion of the uterus stretches the ligaments that support it. This results in abdominal cramping.

You are due for preterm labour. The cramping can be either mild or severe in this case.

Irregular and painless contractions are felt during the second and third trimesters. These help pregnant women prepare for pregnancy.

You have reached your due date and labour has just commenced. Abdominal cramping is common in this case.

The placenta discharges partially or completely from the uterus before your delivery. The cramps may be persistent in this case.

You are suffering from pre-eclampsia or high blood pressure.

You have a urinary tract infection. This can cause lower abdominal pain.

Other causes – appendicitis, gall bladder stones, kidney stones.

Prevention

You can try and prevent abdominal cramps by doing the following:

Maintain a well balanced and high fibre diet consisting of a lot of fruits and vegetables.

Drink a lot of fluids to avoid constipation.

Relax yourself and do some abdominal breathing exercises.

Eat regularly in small amounts.

Avoid foods that cause gastric problems.

Treatment

Some ways to treat abdominal cramps during pregnancy are:

Change positions slowly.

Bend towards the source of the pain to relieve it.

Try walking or other exercises to relieve gas pains if the cramps are because of gastric problems.