Abdominal pain during pregnancy may have different interpretation in different trimesters. It may be a non serious symptom of pregnancy or may point towards a more serious issue which needs immediate medical attention. Walk through the pains experienced by expecting mothers in each trimester:
First Trimester Pains:
Usually some amount of pain is associated with pregnancy because of the hormonal changes and enlargement of uterus. Serious issues are :
Miscarriage- If you have cramps in lower abdomen with bleeding or spotting, visit the hospital immediately.
Ectopic pregnancy- When pregnancy develops outside uterus, it is a serious condition associated with moderate to severe pain usually on one side with bleeding or fainting attacks.
Second Trimester Pain:
Pain with bleeding may be due to late miscarriage or other problem and you should visit your doctor.
Third Trimester Pain:
Pain may indicate preterm labour, abruption etc. Past 37 weeks cramps can occur indicating false labour or true labour pains.
Pain Causing Reasons Unrelated to Pregnancy :
Such as appendicitis, ovarian cyst, kidney stones, UTI, gall bladder stones, fibroid uterus, acidity, gastroenteritis, vaginal infection, constipation etc can also cause pain abdomen and need to be looked into. Urinary tract and vaginal infections need attention because they are very common in pregnancy due to the lowered immunity. If left untreated it can affect the mother and the baby. So if you have pain while micturating, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting or vaginal discharge visit your doctor.
What to do if you are pregnant and are experiencing abdominal pain?
It is important to deal with some non serious issues because if you have any associated alarming symptoms, you need to go to the hospital. As there are many hormonal changes in body and enlargement of uterus some amount of abdominal pain and pain in joints, muscles is common during pregnancy. Listen to your body. Avoid jerky activities, heavy weight lifting (including your elder child), sharp movements, standing for long periods, high heels. Refer to the following measures to relieve pain :
Round ligament pain- Due to uterine enlargement, stretching of uterine ligaments occurs causing pain in abdomen and groin area. It resolves on its own but sometimes may need paracetamol.
Braxton Hicks contractions- Mild contractions of the uterus without dilatation of cervix. Dehydration triggers them, so you should drink plenty of fluids.
Sitting down for a while helps
Local pain relief gels on back and joints
Massage of limbs
Keep weight gain in control
Special shoes for pregnant women
Eat small frequent meals with adequate fibre
Empty your bladder frequently
Support of pillows while sitting or lying down
Use firm mattress
Staying active, doing prenatal exercises, yoga, walk if your doctor allows helps in relieving aches and pains. It also prepares the body for a normal delivery as exercise strengthens and tones the muscles.