Experiencing period like cramps during pregnancy can be very frightening especially if it’s the first time you are conceiving. The first thing that comes to the mind of a prospective mother when she starts experiencing severe ones is always a miscarriage.
Even though such pains can be a sign of severe problems that need medical attention, it’s normal to have bad cramps when pregnant.
I am going to tell you the symptoms, causes, and treatment of mild to severe pregnancy cramps. I will also point some cases of painful cramps during this period that you should be wary about and seek medical attention.
Symptoms to expect are just like the ones for the normal cramps though they can be a bit more uncomfortable because you are a little heavier.
These cramps are often because of the uterus being stimulated by almost any kind of pressure like exercises, walking or a full bladder. Mild ones are therefore perfectly normal unless there is something else.
To fully, understand the causes, we should first know the stage of pregnancy at which you are experiencing them.
Experiencing mild cramps in early pregnancy is normal. Painful ones during this early stage of early pregnancy are usually linked to the changes that your body is going through in preparation for carrying your baby.
Some of the causes are;
- Implantation cramps- Some people will describe them as uterine cramps during pregnancy. These are experienced when the fertilized egg makes its home in the uterine wall. They often feel like those of period but can also be accompanied by painful stomach pains. Among most women, these are the first signs of pregnancy.
- Cramping after sex- You may also experience some painful cramps during orgasms or right after. Such are normal if they are short-lived. This alone is not a reason enough for you to stop enjoying sex when pregnant.
- Gastric distress – some ladies will experience early pregnancy cramps because of bloating and constipation. This can bring about a painful feeling and in your lower abdomen. The mild cases go away temporarily when you release some gas.
- Increased blood flow to the uterus – During pregnancy, your body sends more blood than usual to the uterus to help in the development of the uterus. This can lead to a little mild cramping cases around that area during the first trimester.
- Urinary Tract Infections – More than 10% of mothers contract UTIs during their gestation period. UTI causes pain and pressure around the pelvic region. Another symptom is that it can cause lower abdominal pain when urinating. This could be the reason why you are experiencing pregnancy cramps. The right antibiotics usually take care of UTI infections.
- You may also experience bad cramps in early pregnancy as your womb starts to grow and stretch because of the baby bump.
- As you enter the 12th week of your pregnancy, you may start feeling sharp pains around your groin area when you twist. These are the ligaments of your womb that stretch as it grows.
You unlikely to experience pregnancy cramps or other difficult pregnancy symptoms during your second trimester. However, mothers carrying more than one baby are an exception since the uterus grows more rapidly and may reach third-trimester proportions in the second trimester.
- Some ladies will experience round ligament pain; this is the most common cause of cramps during the second trimester of pregnancy. The round ligament is a muscle that supports the uterus and you may feel sharp and stabbing pains in your lower abdomen when it stretches.
- You may also experience them around your lower back during this period because of pressure from the weight that you have gained over the past few months. Remember that your baby is also growing and is putting a lot of pressure on your back too.
- Preterm labor- This is often referred as premature labor. It is defined as regular contractions of the uterus resulting in changes in the cervix that occur before 37 weeks of pregnancy. It can lead to very severe cramping. Another sign of preterm labor is diarrhea. Pre-term labor can lead to premature births.
- Constipation and heartburn resulting from slow digestion will lead to uncomfortable and sometimes severe pains in your lower abdomen. This is one of the causes in your second trimester.
Late pregnancy cramps
Here are some reasons why you could be experiencing them in your last trimester
- Braxton Hicks contractions - This is also known as fake labor or ‘practice labor’. The muscles of the uterus usually tighten for approximately 30 to 60 seconds. Braxton Hicks occur spontaneously and may make you think that you are experiencing the real labor pains. They are irregular and unpredictable and can cause severe uterine cramps during your last trimester. They always disappear alone.
- Separation of placenta- This is not very common. It’s the separation of the placenta from the uterine walls. it’s always partial and can cause severe abdominal and uterine cramps during pregnancy it happens.
- Round ligament pain- Starts in the second trimester and continues as the baby bump continues to grow in the third trimester.
- Urinal Track Infection (UTI). These are bacterial infections that are very common in the late pregnancies. They can cause severe ones around your pelvic area.
Here are some of the ways that you can use to treat severe cases while at home.
- Soak your feet in warm water; the warm water will soothe your legs and help ease the pain associated with leg pregnancy cramps
- Eat a balanced diet full of fiber, this will help ease constipation and treat the those that you may be experiencing after eating.
- Avoid standing for too long
- Take the specified amount of paracetamols
- Drink juices and plenty of water to keep your body hydrated
- Eat small amounts of food at the right moment to avoid constipation and bloating.
- Put a warm water bottle to the region where you are feeling them. It will make you feel comfortable.
Cramps during pregnancy are perfectly normal. They mostly occur during different stages as your body undergo changes that will help it accommodate the new life inside it.
However, it should be noted they can be a sign of more serious problems like an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
Here are some signs that they are very serious and you need immediate medical attention from your gynecologist.
- If they come along with vaginal bleeding.
- Severe cases followed by pain while urinating.
- Constant ones with unusual vaginal discharge.
- Any persistent cramping that does not get better
- Back and severe abdominal pain that comes with nausea and vomiting.