Introduction to cramping during pregnancy
Many pregnant women will experience cramping during pregnancy and this is usually a big concern for the pregnant women and her family members. In many cases, cramping or abdominal pain will need medical attention immediately while some occasional cramping is just normal during pregnancy.
When you should see doctor when cramping occur?
If the following cases, it is recommended that you seek doctor’s help right away.
Cramp During Early Pregnancy
1. Cramping associated with spotting or light bleed in the vaginal discharge. This is a sign of miscarriage. It may be a sign of Ectopic pregnancy in which fertilized egg is not implanted inside the womb. You also need medical attention right away
2. CONSTANT or SEVERE CRAMP during pregnancy. This can be sign of stomach virus, food poisoning, kidney infection or complication of pregnancy.
3. Cramping associated with discomfort while urinating. This can be a sign of urinary tract infection.
4.Cramping associated with fever or chill, dizziness or faintness.
Cramp During Late Pregnancy
1. Cramping associated with an increase in vaginal discharge or a change in the type of vaginal discharge like it become bloody. This can be a sign of preterm labor.
2. Cramping with vaginal spotting or bleeding. This can be a sign of preterm labor.
3.Cramping associated with contractions that come at least four times in an hour. This is also a sign of preterm labor.
Causes of Normal or Harmless Cramping during pregnancy
1. Growing Uterus
As your uterus grows, the muscles and ligaments that support your uterus stretch. This can cause a dull ache that you can feel on your lower abdomen or groin. You may feel this pain when you change your position such as getting up from a seat or bed or walking. When this happen, try to rest.
2. Constipation during pregnancy
Constipation is another common cause of abdominal pain. Constipation is common during pregnancy due to the hormone change in body which slows down the bowel movement. Constipation is also caused by the growing uterus which pressurizes the rectum.
3. Implantation Cramping
Some women may experience cramping up implantation of fertilized egg in the lining of the uterus. Normal implantation cramping should disappear once you are confirmed pregnant.
4. Gas and bloating
Similar to constipation, gas and bloating is common during pregnancy due to hormone change that affects the digestive system and growing pressure on the stomach and intestines. It can also cause cramping during pregnancy.
Cause of harmful or abnormal Cramping during pregnancy
Miscarriage is the loss of pregnancy during the first trimester. Spotting or blood in the vaginal discharge is usually the first sign. This is normally followed by cramping or abdominal pain later. When this happens, you should see the doctor immediately.
2. Ectopic pregnancy
In normal pregnancy, fertilized egg will move towards uterus for implantation in the lining of the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy occurs when implantation of fertilized egg occurs outside the uterus.
If left untreated, the cramping or pain will become worse and worse, and may be accompanied by other symptom such as dizziness and shoulder pain.
3. Preterm labor
Before the 37th week of pregnancy, cramping can be a sign of preterm labor. This cramping is usually accompanied by contraction which comes at 4 in every hour. Change in vaginal discharge such as amount and color can also be observed. It may also be associated with an increase in pelvic pressure which may make you feel that your baby is pushing down or your period is coming.
Whenever cramping occurs during your pregnancy, do not panic. Try to call your doctor right away if you suspect there is a problem.
Common Questions about Cramping During Pregnancy
Question 1: How to differentiate cramping due to period from pregnancy cramping?
Answer: Cramping due to pregnancy should usually be light as compare to cramping due to period. However, it may be hard for many pregnant women to differentiate the two. Hence, when you had symptom of pregnancy like a missed period or sensitive breasts, it is suggested that you carry out a pregnancy test to confirm whether you are pregnant or not.If confirmed pregnant and cramping never stop, please seek doctor’s help as soon as possible.