Pain and discomfort are obviously unpleasant. Moreover, if they occur around the abdominal area as early as the first trimester of pregnancy, mothers are quickly insecure, especially at first pregnancies.
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In most cases, abdominal pain in early pregnancy occurs when the woman’s body experiences physical changes in preparation for upcoming pregnancy and childbirth.
Such pain is very common, especially in the earliest stages of pregnancy; so there is no need to worry too much. Typically, it is not too violent and most often without gravity.
However, severe abdominal pain in the first few months, where some possible symptoms may also co-occur, could indicate the presence of some pathologies more or less serious, which should be an alarming situation.
Pain in lower abdomen during pregnancy first trimester
In the first trimester, lower abdominal pain can have different forms: dull, intense, with cramps or tightness, or acute. The diagnosis can be oriented depending on the kind of pain you experience.
Generally, such pain feels like cramps similar to those seen before periods. Many pregnant women also notice painful pressure or pulling under their umbilicus, this usually happens about a week after conception and lasts a few weeks.
Often, these pains are not pathological and may occur on either side of the lower abdomen. They are mainly related to ligament disorders caused by increased uterus volume.
But no stress: The majority of these symptoms are normal and can be explained by ordinary changes that arise in early pregnancy. A little rest and relaxation usually helped to ease and eliminate the discomforts.
Causes of abdominal pain in early pregnancy
For many pregnant women, abdominal pain in the first trimester is physiological due to the natural reactions imposed by pregnancy, or could simply be a typical urinary bladder infection.
At the beginning of pregnancy, when the uterus begins to enlarge so that the new little earthling can grow in space, it stretches some ligaments and muscles that hold it in place causing pain in the lower abdomen.
Tightness feelings are most often due to ligament stretching in the pelvic area. Pregnancy hormones (relaxin in particular) may be the main source, especially during the first trimester.
Slight cramps similar to those felt in the menstrual cycle may also appear during the whole day.
The Round Ligament
The round ligament is generally the most frequent origin of abdominal pain in the second trimester. But the pain may start earlier for some women when the pregnancy belly begins to appear.
Pain manifests in the lower abdomen and may extend to the hip area. It usually lasts for just a few seconds at a time and worsens with sudden agitation when coughing, laughing or getting up fast.
Gas and Constipation
With increased progesterone hormone levels, the mother’s gastrointestinal tract slows down, causing the food transit to slow as well. This can enhance the body’s ability to preserve water and gas.
Gas and constipation can result in bloating along with mild pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen area, but this is rarely a source of concern, although your doctor has to confirm that.
Urinary Bladder Infection
Urinary tract infections can also cause abdominal cramps during early pregnancy. Women are more exposed to such infections due to increased uterus pressing on the bladder, which can block urinary drains.
Symptoms of this include bladder pain or tenderness and increased need to urinate. If untreated, urinary tract infections can lead to renal infection, causing premature birth and low birth weight.
When to consult?
While abdominal cramps are, in most cases harmless, a simple medical check-up may be necessary to ensure they are safe. It is always better to consult a doctor as soon as possible if you have sudden or severe abdominal pain or other symptoms, such as:
- Fever and chills
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Burning while urinating
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Persisting pain
All these signs must be seriously considered as they may hide some complications requiring treatment. Quick action and professional assistance are usually needed to rule out any of the following possible risks:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Spontaneous abortion or miscarriage
- Ovarian cyst torsion
- Appendicitis (appendix inflammation)
Any pregnant woman with unclear symptoms should see her gynecologist or talk to her midwife: they will be there to assure you and make sure your pain is normal. Any delay in consultation may endanger your health and that of your unborn baby.
How to ease abdominal pain during
Adopt The Right Posture
To relieve ligament pain, you need to adopt a correct posture, avoid standing or sitting too long. In the lying position, sit on your left side and rest with pillows between your legs and under your abdomen.
The round ligament pain generally subsides when your knees are bent towards your chest and worsens with transitional moves. Slow down transitional movements and contract your transverse abdominal muscles while moving. This will make things much less painful.
Lower abdominal pain can be reduced by applying a heating pad or a hot water bottle wrapped in a cloth to the painful area. Heat often helps to relieve abdominal pain, getting warm or using a water heater safely can relieve discomfort.
Drink A Lot Of Water
Drink plenty of water and fluids to stay hydrated and avoid constipation and urine-related pain. You are more susceptible to cramping when you are dehydrated. You should drink at least 1.5 L of water per day or more.
Boosting water levels in your digestive tract will keep your stools softer and easier to digest. In addition, urinating as soon as you feel the urge and carefully cleansing your genitals after discharge will prevent urinary tract infections before they appear.
To avoid gas and constipation, eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and fiber-rich foods. Fiber will stimulate intestines and help moving stool within the digestive tract.
Whole grain bread, barley, nuts and fruits such as berries or apples with skins, carrots, green peas, broccoli, and almonds are excellent sources of fiber.
On the other hand, avoid certain foods known to cause excess gas. These may include beans, carbonated drinks, such as soda or sparkling water, coniferous vegetables, etc.
Rest As Often As You Can
When the pain is intense and you have the opportunity to do so, rest until the ligament tears disappear. Rest in a reclining position and in a firm mattress.
While solutions exist to prevent and limit abdominal discomfort and pain, it is sometimes essential to use medication. In any case, if you have any doubts, do not hesitate to consult a gynecologist for an examination.
Did you experience lower abdominal pain during early pregnancy? What did you do to ease it? Share your story to help other pregnant readers.