Is Cramping a Symptom of Pregnancy?
Yes. Pregnancy cramps are common in pregnancy and are usually a pulling sensation on either side of your abdomen (or sometimes both!). In this post, we explore the most common causes of pregnancy cramps, what you can do to ease them, and when you should contact your medical professional.
Is Cramping Normal in Early Pregnancy?
Cramping in early pregnancy is usually just a sign that your uterus is expanding to accommodate the developing fetus. This causes the muscles and ligaments that surround your uterus to stretch. You’re likely to feel it most when you’re at rest and you change positions, and also when you sneeze or cough.
Cramping early in pregnancy can also be caused by sexual intercourse, or be a sign of pregnancy constipation, gas, or bloating. Nothing to worry about here.
Severe Cramping During Early Pregnancy Can be More Serious:
However, there are times when early pregnancy cramps are more than just cramps. If you experience intense cramping during pregnancy trimester one, you should contact your doctor right away, because it could be a sign of:
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Ectopic Pregnancy
Mild Cramping During Pregnancy Trimester Two:
Cramping is also a common symptom later in your pregnancy. Second-trimester cramping is generally caused by your round ligament (the ligament which supports your uterus) stretching and expanding as your uterus does.
Again, you need to keep track of the symptom and get in touch with your doctor if you are at all concerned. It can be a sign of more serious issues.
Contact Your Medical Professional if:
- The cramps are severe (i.e. you are doubled over in pain, find it hard to speak or stand, or the pain cannot be eased using one of the strategies below).
- The pregnancy cramps are accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness, bleeding, unusual discharge, contractions, or neck pain.
- Vaginal cramping or severe lower abdominal pain.
Cramping in Late Pregnancy:
You should discuss any late pregnancy cramping with your doctor, even if it’s only to put your mind at ease. Most often, what you’re experiencing will probably be Braxton Hicks Contractions (your body preparing for the birth process). But there are times when late pregnancy cramps can be a sign of dangerous complications including:
- Placental Abruption
- Urinary Tract Infection
Ways to Ease Mild Pregnancy Cramps:
- Curl up around a hot water bottle or heated wheat bag.
- Drink plenty of fluids – hydrated muscles are much less likely to cramp up.
- Have a long soak in a nice warm bath.
- Try some stretching and breathing exercises – pregnancy yoga is great for counteracting cramps.
- Move around – try pacing, or just sitting or lying in different positions until the cramp recedes.
If these methods make the cramp go away, then it’s just a normal cramp and you’ve got nothing to worry about. If cramping persists, it could be indicative of something more serious and you should get in touch with your medical professional as soon as possible.
Keeping a “Pregnancy Symptoms Diary”:
When “baby brain” kicks in, it can be hard to remember symptoms that might be important or things you had meant to speak to your doctor or midwife about. Keeping a symptoms diary is a really good way to counteract this – just keep a little notebook with you and note down whenever you notice a symptom. It might help you notice patterns or develop strategies to ease the symptoms. Your pregnancy diary will also be very useful when you’re talking to your medical professionals because one symptom in isolation might not mean anything but several combined can be an indication of something more serious. Take your symptoms diary with you and share it when you go in for your regular appointments.
More to Explore:
Another of the early pregnancy symptoms you’re likely to encounter is the dreaded morning sickness. About three-quarters of women experience pregnancy nausea. And it can strike any time of the day or night! But there are changes you can make to your diet to ease your nausea. Find out more here.
With so many symptoms coming at you, it can be hard to know when everything’s fine, and when you should be on the phone to your doctor! In this article, we outline some of the more unusual pregnancy symptoms and let you know which are safe, and which are risky.
Track the changes in your body, read about your baby’s development, and get some great tips and advice for each week of your pregnancy.