Is it normal to have cramps during pregnancy?

(August 18, 2011)

Pregnancy can be one of the most delightful experiences of a woman’s life, even though some of its symptoms are quite unpleasant. One of the symptoms that many pregnant women have been known to complain about is the presence of severe cramps during pregnancy.

Is it normal to have cramps during pregnancy?

If you are pregnant, the chances are that you already have some experience with cramps. So yes, it is normal to have cramps during pregnancy. Cramps during pregnancy can affect your back, abdomen and legs. In most cases, mild cramps are a normal occurrence and no medical treatment is necessary. Many women get worried about experiencing menstrual cramps during pregnancy. This is because the feel of pregnancy cramps in the abdominal area is quite similar to menstrual cramps. However, if the presence of cramps during pregnancy is accompanied by uncommon symptoms, you may have a reason to worry.

Causes of cramps during early pregnancy

There are many different factors that could lead to cramps in the earlier part of pregnancy and some of them are more serious than the others. Given below are some of the common causes of cramps during pregnancy:

Stretching Uterus: Cramping happens when the uterus stretches and expands, as the body prepares itself for the baby. This also results in a mild menstrual like pain and is generally felt in the third trimester. This type of cramps is generally regarded as being healthy.
Implantation: It occurs 8 to 10 days after ovulation and is quite similar to menstrual pain. The process of the implantation of the embryo leads to cramping.
Ectopic Pregnancy: At times, the fertilized egg may get implanted into the fallopian tube, instead of the uterus. This is a serious problem that demands immediate medical attention. It causes abdominal pain and cramps on one side of the body along with spotting or bleeding.
Miscarriage: If severe menstrual cramps during pregnancy are of a rhythmic nature and are preceded by spotting or heavy bleeding, you need to see your doctor. These could be signs of a miscarriage and if left untreated, could be a grave risk to your life.
Constipation, Gas and Bloating: Women suffering from these disorders might experience cramping in their back & pelvic region.

Cramping during late pregnancy

The factors that trigger off cramping in the later stages of pregnancy are usually different. Some of the causes of cramps in the third trimester include:

Ligament stretching: Also known as ‘Round Ligament Pain’, it happens as the muscles and ligaments supporting the uterus start to stretch resulting in cramps.
False Labor: This is a very common occurrence, which is also known as ’Braxton Hicks’. It occurs in the third trimester and is mistaken for labor.
Preterm Labor: Mild or severe cramps during pregnancy, along with backache, diarrhea and exhaustion can be an indication of preterm labor.
Labor: Both cramping and back pain are common symptoms during early labor.

Cramps during pregnancy are not unusual but, severe cramps during pregnancy should never be overlooked. Any severe pain in the lower abdominal region, preceded by bleeding, could be due to the rupture of the fallopian tube. Other causes for severe pain could be food poisoning, urinary infection, kidney infection and pre-eclampsia. So if you experience any of the above listed symptoms please seek medical advice at the earliest.

Submitted by N on August 18, 2011 at 02:03

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