What Causes Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy?

Sharp pains in the lower abdomen during pregnancy can be a scary experience for any expectant mother. It is important for pregnant women to be aware of the causes of lower abdominal pain and when it is necessary to seek medical attention. While some abdominal pains are quite normal in pregnancy, there are other causes that need to be taken into consideration. This blog post will explore the different types of abdominal pains during pregnancy and the potential causes, from simple muscles stretching to more serious conditions. It will also outline the times when it is necessary to contact a medical professional for advice and treatment. The information provided should help pregnant women to better understand the different types of abdominal pain they may experience and provide advice on the best course of action to take.

If you feel any of these pregnancy pains, you should give your doctor a call: Sudden sharp, dull or achy pain in your right abdomen

This could signal appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix). Surprisingly, appendicitis is the most frequent cause of emergency surgery during pregnancy, followed by pregnancy complications, according to Dr Clark tells SELF. Around 0. 1% of pregnant people will experience appendicitis during pregnancy, and it%E2%80%99s most common in the second trimester, according to the Mayo Clinic “The pain may be sudden, sharp, dull and achy, or both,” says Dr. Clark. It is frequently accompanied by fever, hunger pains, nausea, and vomiting. If you are experiencing pain and think something is wrong, call your doctor right away.

Although symptoms like nausea and vomiting aren’t all that different from pregnancy symptoms, appendicitis can be difficult to diagnose but is a very treatable condition if your doctor understands your medical history and performs a thorough examination, according to the Mayo Clinic. According to an earlier article in SELF, doctors will first carry out a series of examinations and scans to determine whether you have appendicitis. From there, they could decide if surgery is the best course of action. If your doctor determines that surgery isn’t the best option for you, they may instead decide to treat your infection with antibiotics and remove your appendix at a later date. 2. Sharp and intense pain in the upper right abdomen.

Slow digestion also affects how quickly the gallbladder empties, which can result in gallstones. According to the Mayo Clinic, pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen is frequently related to gallstones. According to the Mayo Clinic, in addition to pain in the upper right abdomen, you might also experience pain in the middle of your abdomen, back pain in the area between your shoulder blades, pain in your right shoulder, nausea, and vomiting.

“If it isn’t too severe a case, gallstones can be managed conservatively with dietary modification including avoiding fatty, fried foods,” Dr. Jones says. Occasionally, some patients will need surgery, but in most cases, removal can wait until after delivery, she adds. In some cases, the gallstone can cause cholecystitis, which is inflammation of the gallbladder, the Mayo Clinic says. The symptoms of cholecystitis include fever and increased pain that won’t go away. In this case, surgery may be necessary.3. Sudden pain in the upper right abdomen, paired with nausea

According to the Mayo Clinic, preeclampsia is a condition that only affects pregnant women and causes a sudden rise in blood pressure as well as damage to other organs, usually the kidneys and liver. Although it typically happens in the third trimester, some pregnant women with certain risk factors are kept under observation before then. A family history of preeclampsia, chronic hypertension, age, and race (Black women have higher rates of the condition than women of other races) are more specific risk factors, according to the Mayo Clinic. Most Popular.

“One common symptom is upper abdominal pain, typically under the ribs on the right side (where the liver is located),” Dr. Clark tells SELF. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, unbearable headaches, problems with vision, and shortness of breath, per the Mayo Clinic. You may also notice that you’re peeing less frequently, or your doctor might flag kidney problems like excess protein in your urine, the Mayo Clinic explains.

If the pain is new and persistent, you should be examined, especially if you experienced high blood pressure while pregnant, advises Dr. Clark adds. Preeclampsia must be closely monitored and diagnosed as soon as possible because it can result in serious complications for both the pregnant woman and the unborn child, such as an early delivery. Be sure to tell your doctor if you ever experience upper abdominal pain on the right side while pregnant. 4. Abdominal pain paired with vaginal bleeding.

There are numerous possible causes for this cluster of symptoms that you may experience. According to the Mayo Clinic, they could be a sign of an ectopic or tubal pregnancy. This occurs when the fertilized egg implants elsewhere in the abdomen—such as the fallopian tube—instead of the uterus. According to the Mayo Clinic, an ectopic pregnancy can occur before or after missing a period. The Mayo Clinic notes that in addition to extreme lightheadedness, shoulder pain, and fainting, you may also experience abdominal pain and vaginal spotting.

Another possible cause is miscarriage, which means losing a pregnancy before the 20th week (typically within the first 12 weeks). Sadly, 10 to 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the Mayo Clinic, but the actual numbers might be higher because many people might have a miscarriage without knowing they’re pregnant. Sharp, dull, or cramping abdominal or lower back pain paired with bleeding is a red flag.

Beyond that, if you’re earlier than 37 weeks along but feeling abdominal pain and seeing bloody discharge (or other discharge changes like very watery or mucous-filled secretions), it could be a sign of preterm labor, the ACOG says.

Because light spotting can be considered normal during pregnancy, it can be difficult to determine when bleeding might be a problem. In light of the foregoing, you should call your doctor if you experience any bleeding at any point while pregnant, especially if you also feel pain.

These pregnancy pains are typically normal and nothing to worry about: Gas or constipation pain

“Gas and constipation are very common,” Angela Jones, M. D. , a New Jersey–based ob-gyn, tells SELF. Because progesterone, a pregnancy hormone, relaxes the smooth muscles in the esophagus and the bowel, this is true. Normally, bowels contract to push waste along and out. However, because of this slowing down, the body struggles more to get rid of waste, which can clog up everything and cause low-belly pain in pregnant women. Dr. According to Jones, a buildup of gas can become so excruciatingly painful that some patients mistake it for a more serious condition and visit the emergency room. And it can get pretty damn painful. According to the National Institute of Kidney Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, the best way to avoid this is to consume smaller, more frequent meals that are high in fiber and plenty of water. A stool softener can also be beneficial for pain associated with gas or constipation. Even though the ingredients in stool softeners are unlikely to harm your baby, the Mayo Clinic advises consulting your doctor before using any over-the-counter medications. 2. a sudden movement-related low belly pain that pulls or stabs

According to the Mayo Clinic, the two round ligaments that connect the uterus to the abdominal wall start to stretch and strain as your pregnancy progresses and you continue to grow larger. According to Shannon M., “This pain usually begins between 12 and 14 weeks and intensifies during the second trimester.” Clark, M. D. , the creator of BabiesAfter35 and a specialist in maternal-fetal medicine at UTMB-Galveston com, tells SELF. “The lower half of my abdomen, on either side of the uterus, feels like it’s pulling or hurts sharply.” According to the Mayo Clinic, “usually, you’ll feel this pain more with sudden movements, like turning over in bed or twisting to one side. The good news is that round ligament pain usually goes away once you stop moving and is localized to just one area. You can think of them as “growing pains. ”3. Contractions that last just one to two minutes.

Many pregnant women are unaware that uterine contractions, which are the basis of labor, can begin as early as the second trimester, according to the Cleveland Clinic. While they may be uncomfortable, Braxton Hicks contractions, as they are known, are typically not painful during pregnancy. These contractions are similar to those a woman experiences during labor, but they are less painful and usually do not follow a pattern or last for a long time, according to Dr. Clark says. The contraction may last for one or two minutes before the uterus relaxes, and the uterus will become hard and “ball up” in the abdomen. Because they help you get ready for labor and give you a chance to practice any breathing techniques you may have learned in a childbirth class, Braxton Hicks are also known as “practice contractions.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, Braxton Hicks contractions can appear after physical activity (including sex) and are slightly more frequent in the afternoon or evening. According to the Mayo Clinic, they also have a tendency to become slightly more intense (and more frequent) as your due date approaches. You could try a few different methods to stop these contractions. If you’ve been standing, try sitting or lying down. The ACOG advises getting up and moving around if you’ve been sitting. You might also consider whether or not you’re hydrated. According to the ACOG, resting and drinking a few glasses of water can frequently make you feel better.

If none of the above techniques work, or if your contractions last for longer than two minutes at a time and seem to get closer together over time, you may be going into labor and should call your doctor, the ACOG explains.

Causes of stomach pain during pregnancy

Other conditions may cause stomach pain during your pregnancy in addition to round ligament pain and cramps. Many women who are pregnant can experience:

Any of these conditions can cause sharp stomach pain. In addition, women may experience completely unrelated issues. For instance, kidney stones happen just as frequently in pregnant women as they do in non-pregnant women.

While many stomachaches are common during pregnancy, if they come on suddenly and sharp, call your doctor. One of the primary signs of the following serious pregnancy complications is severe stomach pain:

The egg implants outside of the uterus in an ectopic pregnancy, usually in the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies are not viable. The fallopian tubes may rupture as a result of the eggs if they are not discovered in time, which could result in excruciating abdominal pain. A ruptured fallopian tube is a serious medical emergency that needs to be treated right away.

Early pregnancy loss, also known as a miscarriage or a spontaneous abortion, can happen in the first trimester. It’s possible for the fetus to be harmed, to have an unusual number of chromosomes, or to develop improperly. Early pregnancy loss affects about one in ten pregnancies.

Preeclampsia causes high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It can also produce sharp stomach pains. Your doctor must carefully manage this condition for you because it could endanger a healthy pregnancy.

When the placenta separates from the uterus during pregnancy, it is called placental abruption. It can be life-threatening to both mother and child. It occasionally happens during trauma, such as a car accident, but doctors don’t always know why it did.

If your cervix begins to dilate before 37 weeks, preterm labor may also result in stomach pain.


When should I worry about lower abdominal pain during pregnancy?

Reach out to your doctor immediately if you experience: Constant or severe pain in your stomach or back. Pain that’s worse at night or when you’re lying down. Pain that has redness or swelling along with it.

Are random sharp pains normal in early pregnancy?

Round ligament pain is a sharp pain or jabbing feeling often felt in the lower belly or groin area on one or both sides. It is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy and is considered a normal part of pregnancy.

Can lower abdominal pain causes miscarriage?

Stomach (abdominal) pain or cramping

Mild stomach pain in early pregnancy (during your first trimester) is usually caused by your womb expanding, the ligaments stretching as your bump grows, hormones, constipation or trapped wind. However, cramping and pain in your lower tummy may be caused by a miscarriage.

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