Pregnancy seems to have only just begun, so why are you feeling spasm-like movements in the lower abdominal regions? They resemble contractions, so you might be worrying if they’re a sign of a miscarriage. What are the causes of cramps or contractions in early pregnancy and what should you take note of?
Cramping in early pregnancy
Cramping in early pregnancy is a sign that your uterus is gearing up and starting to move. The muscles in the uterus stretch and contract – this causes pain in the abdominal regions. When the muscles in the uterus suddenly contract and stiffen, your belly will feel tight. What you feel is thus similar to cramps.
When labor approaches in the third trimester, the uterus gears up to prepare the uterus for labor, so you’ll feel more cramps. However, there are many other reasons why you feel contractions during early pregnancy and most are related to the fact that your uterus is going through many changes.
Why does cramping during early pregnancy happen and how should I deal with it?
The reason why cramps start even in the first trimester of pregnancy is not because of contractions in the uterus like in the third trimester, but because of the changes in your body.
Once pregnancy is established, the muscles of the uterus expand so as to be able to accommodate the baby and the amount of blood in the mother’s body increases. When the uterus becomes bigger, the surrounding organs are pushed out of place, and the changes in the positions of your innards can cause you to feel cramps.
Also, the muscles which support the uterus – the broad ligament of the uterus and other ligaments – are stretched and so you might feel some pain. The cramps you feel might resemble menstrual cramps (same area).
As mild cramps in the first trimester are the result of the changes in your body, you only need to stay still for awhile and rest, and the pain will go away. Mild cramps don’t mean a miscarriage is happening, so don’t worry!
Feeling constipated, bloated and cramping during the first trimester
The first trimester of pregnancy is full of changes – think of it as your body undergoing a remodeling. Cramps in the first trimester can be a result of you being on tenterhooks all the time, feeling cold, feeling fatigued, or having constipation. Standing up for long periods of time or moving around while working can give you mental stress when you’re physically tired and your muscles are stiff. This could, in turn, cause the muscles of the uterus to tighten.
Many moms experience constipation during pregnancy or feel bloated when gas accumulates in their bellies. Since such conditions concern the abdominal area, they could easily make cramps worse and so, fighting constipation can help you fight cramps.
Are cramps in early pregnancy a sign of illness or a miscarriage?
Although most cramps in early pregnancy are simply a sign of the changes in the body, they are also indications that something’s wrong. At times, they are indirect symptoms of problems in the digestive system, chorioamnionitis, or illnesses in organs near the stomach. At times, they are a sign of miscarriage.
Cramps that could mean a miscarriage don’t affect the whole abdomen. The lower abdomen – the part slightly above the pelvis and where the uterus is located at – might become hard as a volleyball. If you feel that the region between your pelvis and your navel feels slightly hard to the touch, it’s recommended that you get yourself checked at the OB-GYN’s.
Should I go to the hospital if I have cramping in early pregnancy ?
Cramps in the first trimester go away when you sit or lie down. However, if you rest for about 5 to 10 minutes and there’s no change in your condition, and if you have cramps a couple of times in the span of an hour, it’s recommended that you call your practitioner. Take note of any strong pains or heavy bleeding as these 2 signs are indicative of a miscarriage.
You might want to note (a) how long you feel the cramps for, (b) what color your vaginal discharge is or if there is any bleeding, (c) where you feel the cramps, and (d) how frequently you feel them. This will help your practitioner determine what’s happening when you go down for a check.
Cramps in early pregnancy aren’t always dangerous; quell your anxiety!
The first trimester is the most volatile period – most miscarriages occur during this period of time. As your body is going through many changes, you can’t help but be at the edge of your seat every time these cramps start. Know that they are physiological phenomena, and unless you see bleeding, have strong pains, or have frequent cramps, you don’t have to worry as much.
If you’re still in doubt and aren’t sure what your cramps mean, call your practitioner and get your doubts cleared. Quell your anxiety and you’ll then be able to focus on your baby!