Cramps - One of the Early Symptoms of Pregnancy

Submitted by Pregnancy and Baby Care team on August 14, 2012

Cramping usually occurs in early pregnancy. These cramps may be similar to those experienced just before menstruation. It occurs because the uterus is preparing itself for the baby. Sometimes slight spotting is also known to accompany cramping during pregnancy. This could be due to the implantation of the egg into the uterine lining. This light bleeding generally continues for 2 to 3 days. In case menstruation is late and cramping is experienced, it is advisable to take a pregnancy test.


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In majority of cases, cramping is a normal sign of pregnancy, it is not indicative of a problem in the pregnancy. Other symptoms that may accompany cramps are pain in the uterus, lower back pain and pelvic pain. The preparation of the muscles of the uterus along with hormonal changes, are likely to result in cramps.

Even the implantation of the embryo into the uterus often causes cramps. This is because the egg needs to burrow into the uterine lining in order to get attached and this leads to cramping and light spotting. Women who have given birth before may complain of sharp, shooting pains in the pelvic area. These pains disappear while standing or walking, but become aggravated when lying or sitting down. These cramps or pains are cause due to a weakening of the tendons in the pelvic area. These tendons become weaker with every subsequent pregnancy and tend to cramp sharply. Strengthening the muscles of the groin area helps to ease these pains. Regular walking during the course of the pregnancy will help to alleviate cramps and also make the process of labor much easier.

In case of cramps that are too severe or those which are accompanied by heavy spotting, one needs to consult a doctor. Medical assistance is also necessary when the cramps persist for more than six weeks or there is heavy bleeding in the first few weeks. Cramps that occur on only one side of the lower abdomen may be indicative of an ectopic pregnancy. Another cause for concern is cramps that occur after eating in the upper abdomen, beneath the rib cage. These pains may sometimes travel to the right shoulder. This may be a sign of gallbladder disease. In this case one should undergo a medical examination and avoid eating oily and fatty foods. There are some natural ways to alleviate pregnancy symptoms, and cramps may be eased through the use of hot compresses on the lower back.

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