Pregnancy is a period of great responsibility for any woman. That’s why every soon-to-be mother pays a lot of attention to the changes in her state of health, especially when she feels any pain. Discomfort in the stomach and abdominal pain during pregnancy occur quite often. Sometimes such symptoms can even be a sign of such pathological processes as hypertonicity of the uterus or a miscarriage.
But you should remember that there are a lot of other internal organs in the abdominal cavity besides the uterus, and they also can cause a future mother discomfort. So, abdominal pain during pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with the baby. In order to avoid unnecessary worries, you need to know why you’re feeling abdominal pain during pregnancy and what you should do about it.
Why do you Feel Stomach Pain During Pregnancy?
Abdominal pain during pregnancy is usually seen by expectant mothers as a health-threatening condition that can harm the unborn child. But your abdomen can hurt because of a lot of other reasons besides a miscarriage. The sensations vary greatly, and it’s important to learn how to detect the causes of different kinds of abdominal pain during pregnancy.
How can your abdomen hurt during pregnancy? A healthy mother-to-be often suffers from stomachaches due to digestive tract disorders. Changes in the diet can cause spasms that induce lower abdominal pain during pregnancy.
Nagging pain in the abdomen is a sign of the growing uterus causing the abdominal muscles and ligaments to stretch. The pain can become sharp when you change positions, but there is nothing wrong with it.
In later pregnancy, abdominal pain can be triggered by fetal movements. It’s usually accompanied by the sensation of heaviness in the stomach, heartburn, and the loss of appetite.
Ectopic pregnancy is among the most dangerous conditions which can cause abdominal pain during pregnancy. In this case, the fertilized egg implants in the tube instead of the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed on the grounds of distressing symptoms (pain, vertigo, bleeding) and with the help of pelvic ultrasound. The growing embryo is stretching the tube which can lead to its rupture: the woman experiences severe abdominal pain during pregnancy and internal bleeding. It usually happens in the 6th–8th week of pregnancy. Only an urgent surgery can save the future mother.
Abdominal pain during pregnancy can occur due to the possibility of a miscarriage. In this case, you feel dull, lingering abdominal pain during pregnancy which is also affecting your lower back. The pain is often accompanied by vaginal bleeding. You’ll need to call an ambulance in order to check on the condition of the baby. You’ll be most likely brought to the hospital where you’ll receive the necessary course of treatment.
Another reason for abdominal pain during pregnancy is placental abruption. The placenta can separate itself from the uterine wall because of some trauma, hypertension, excess physical activity, emotional stress, etc. In this situation, the blood vessels which connect the placenta to the uterine wall are torn apart. As a result, the future mother feels sharp abdominal pain during pregnancy, and there is also vaginal bleeding. The woman will need immediate medical help.
The growing uterus puts pressure on the digestive tract organs situated close to it. Besides, the background of the hormonal changes, the eating habits of a lot of pregnant women alter considerably. All this can cause metabolic disorders, gas, and constipation. Such problems usually lead to abdominal pain during pregnancy. Your doctor can prescribe the medications which improve bowel movements and reduce the gas and give recommendations on a healthy pregnancy diet.
In rare cases, abdominal pain during pregnancy is a sign of a surgical problem. No one is completely immune to such pathologies as appendicitis, cholecystitis, etc., and only a surgery can help in this case.
Any abdominal pain during pregnancy is a reason for visiting your healthcare provider. Your doctor will perform a medical examination if necessary and prescribe a course of treatment to get rid of the problem and avoid unnecessary complications.
The Specifics of Abdominal Pain While Pregnant
Abdominal pain during pregnancy can appear at different points. In the first trimester, women usually experience short-term aching or nagging stomachaches. There is nothing dangerous about it because the sensations are caused by physiological changes in the female body, hormonal activity, and the growth of the uterus.
In the second trimester, the female body has already adjusted to pregnancy and got used to the changes. This term is the most comfortable for a soon-to-be mom because the fetus hasn’t grown that much and doesn’t put a lot of pressure on the nearest internal organs. The uterus continues to grow, stretching abdominal muscles and ligaments. That leads to pain, but it’s dull and doesn’t cause much discomfort.
In the third trimester of pregnancy, the stomach pain is related to the growing baby. The uterus is so large that it’s pressing down on the internal organs, causing the pregnant woman pain. The abdominal muscles and ligaments don’t stop stretching because the fetus is still growing. All this can be the reason for nagging lower abdominal pain during pregnancy which is of no consequence for the future mother and her baby.
The specifics of abdominal pain during pregnancy are short duration, the absence of regularity, and intensity. Such pain shouldn’t be a reason for concern, it’s absolutely normal. In other cases, it makes sense to consult your healthcare provider.
What Causes Pain in the Stomach During Pregnancy?
Stomach pain during pregnancy can occur at any time, and there are enough reasons for it. If you feel abdominal pain during pregnancy it doesn’t always mean you should be worried.
So, let’s sum up the causes of abdominal pain during pregnancy:
- Physiological changes in the female body;
- Muscles and ligaments stretching;
- The large uterus presses down on the internal organs;
- Unhealthy diet;
- Overexertion of the abdominal muscles;
- Fetal movements.
But sometimes abdominal pain during pregnancy is serious. You’ll need medical attention if:
- Abdominal pain in early pregnancy is a sign of a miscarriage;
- Placental abruption has happened;
- Medical examination has revealed appendicitis, cystitis, pancreatitis, or food poisoning.
Despite the reason for abdominal pain during pregnancy, better be safe than sorry and find out about it from your doctor. When you have noticed distressing symptoms (especially accompanied by fluid discharge with traces of blood in it) you’ll definitely need to consult a specialist.
How to Relieve Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy?
Here are some recommendations.
With the help of a healthy pregnancy diet, you will be able to improve the functioning of your digestive tract. It’s recommended to eat fruit, vegetables, and nuts in moderate portions every day.
Dairy products are important for intestinal microflora. Drinking fresh water will normalize the water balance in the body, and prevent edema and dehydration. It’s important not to eat more fat than necessary, and limit the consumption of candy and coffee. The healthier and simpler your daily ratio is, the healthier your little one will be.
Exercises for pregnant women, walking or swimming while pregnant – all these things will help you to get ready for childbirth and prevent abdominal pain during pregnancy related to a sedentary lifestyle.
Long walks will also provide your body with fresh air which is good for blood circulation. The baby will be getting more oxygen, and your body – getting rid of the toxins faster than usual.
No Stress and Negative Emotions
Any emotional stress affects the person’s state of health. Fear, hatred, aggressiveness, depression, anxiety – all these emotions can cause muscle spasms, including the abdominal muscles.
It’s important for a future mother to avoid negative emotions in order to prevent the overexertion of the uterus and the abdominal muscles because it can lead to the blood vessels’ spasm which affects the baby’s breathing and nutrition. In the background of the mother’s emotional state, the fetus can experience great stress and suffer from a lack of oxygen.
The discomfort and abdominal pain during pregnancy don’t necessarily indicate some pathology. Dull stomach pains while pregnant are not dangerous for the expectant mother and her baby. After giving birth you’ll completely forget about them, taking care of the newborn baby, and being a happy new mother!
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.