Cramps During Pregnancy – Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment
Cramping, though not considered to be a symptom of early pregnancy. It is the most common symptom that occurs with most of the pregnancy. During the pregnancy, the body undergoes a lot of changes and stretches at various occasions to make room for the baby, which leads to cramping. Though the minor and occasional pregnancy cramps can be ignored safely, a doctor’s intervention may be required in some instances. In this article, we have analysed the various causes, symptoms, and treatment for cramping during multiple trimesters of pregnancy.
However, the first thing you need to do is find yourself a good gynaecologist and consult them. Do not compromise on the comfort level. You have or can have with the doctor since you need it more than you know later on. In such situations, an identified person would be a great choice. However, if you do find someone, make sure to be open and free and transparent. Enough about your queries and thoughts and rumours and misconceptions.
Is it normal to have cramps during pregnancy?
Though it can be frightening to have cramping during the early pregnancy, mild cramps during pregnancy are normal, and there is no need to worry about. Various reasons can cause cramping. Whenever the uterus contracts or expands for reasons such as the full bladder, exercise, UTI, orgasm, the ligaments and the muscles that support the uterus stretch and one can feel a cramp in the abdomen. However, the cramping during pregnancy is for an altogether different reason. Following are the various types of cramps at different stages of pregnancy.
See More: Leg Cramp During Pregnancy
What Is Cramping In Pregnancy:
Worried about the cramps you are having? Well, there might not be an actual reason to worry about as such. Cramping in pregnancy can be pretty standard and sometimes due to simple movements of the body. However, they can sometimes be a severe issue. Before you start to panic, you might want to go through the C.S.T’s of camps,i.e. the causes, symptoms and then the treatments for cramps during pregnancy.
If you have just experienced cramps and are panicking about it, you need to relax and take a deep breath and read on before you jump to any conclusions. Also, if you are wondering ‘Is cramping a sign of pregnancy?’ you are right. Familiar yet scary, cramping is a symptom of pregnancy. But, do not get convinced by that and consult your doctor to confirm the results. Since the uterus is considered as just any other muscle and since they are trained to do nothing but a contract, these contractions may seem like cramps.
A hardcore workout session can also lead to cramping of the uterus. Now that we know that simple things can also cause cramps, it is essential to understand how to differentiate them. Let us have a look at some of the cramping while pregnant.
Causes Of Cramps During Pregnancy:
Cramps during early pregnancy (1st Trimester):
Dividing the period of pregnancy into three stages, we call them as trimesters and name them as the first trimester, second trimester and similarly the third trimester.
For some, cramping is a sign of pregnancy which occurs when an egg gets implanted in the wall of the uterus. Implantation cramps, which could also be the sign of the egg getting inserted, it is something that you might experience in the first trimester. And since the implantation is done, the factor of uterine growth can also lead to cramping within the first two trimesters.
There is a common misconception in most of the pregnant women that cramping during the first trimester is dangerous as it is a sign of miscarriage, but that’s not true. Many of the world-renowned doctors have agreed and approved the fact that a significant number of pregnant women experience cramps in the initial 15 to 16 weeks into the pregnancy period. Doctors from around the world have ruled out and denied cramping to be a sign of miscarriage and have said that it’s also not a cause for miscarriages.
So, if you had that impression of cramps, you can erase that thought from your mind since miscarriages happen when there is improper development of the egg that got attached to the uterine wall, and the body rejects the pregnancy.
Cramps during 2nd trimester of pregnancy:
The second trimester usually is the most comfortable one and has the least chances of you encountering cramps. Unless you are pregnant with multiples (More than one child). If you have multiples growing in your uterus then the rate at which your uterus grows increases and reaches the levels it was supposed to enter in the third trimester already.
However, the joint ligament pain is also an exception since the stretching of ligaments causes this kind of pain due to the growth of the uterus. Also, if you have experienced uterine fibroids in the past, then it might be essential for you to to know that you are bound to experience severe pain during the 15th to 18th weeks of your pregnancy.
To the ones who do not know the term, uterine fibroid’s are overgrowths of tissues which are harmless. Now, these overgrowing tissues break down when they have not enough supply of blood for them to sustain. When this happens, you may experience severe pain and might even need to be admitted for a while in your hospital to be able to deal with the excess and intriguing pain.
Cramps during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy:
The third-trimester cramps are tricky. Being a phase where you are bound to have labour cramps or contractions. You might experience these on a frequent basis, and it might not be the labour cramps just yet. However, if you are having these in the second or initial phase of the third trimester, you may want to get it checked since they can be a sign of preterm labour.
Symptoms of cramps during pregnancy:
Now there are quite a few symptoms which you need to be concerned about. However, there are some which you need not be worried about. Let’s have a look at what to ignore and what not to.
Here’s What You Can Ignore:
If your bowels or gas release gives you relief, it is not something you need to be bothered about. You can let it pass if it is not too severe since it may be a gastric issue. However, if it seems to be aggravated, please consult a doctor. While most people call with issues related to cramps, many of the experienced doctors would be asking them if they had sex recently.
Sexual intercourse is one of the most common reasons for cramping during pregnancy. If you did have, then you have nothing to worry about and can be calm about it as long as you keep yourself hydrated. Changing positions might make the cramping in pregnancy better or worse since the uterus may stretch. So see what suits you the best and stick to it.
See More: Cramping At 5 Weeks Pregnant
Here’s What You Should Not Ignore and consult the doctor immediately:
The following are the cases when you should consult your doctor for cramping in pregnancy:
- If you just had six or more cramps within an hour, you do not want to ignore it since it may be preterm labour.
- Dizziness and bleeding accompanied with cramping is not something to be taken lightly. Forming the base symptoms of miscarriage, bleeding is not to be taken for granted.
- Being another symptom of preterm labour is a pink discharge which can occur when your cervical length is being altered.
- If you have been diagnosed with a short cervix or have a history of preterm labour, persistent cramping is not something you want to let go without consideration.
- Intense abdominal or back pains, along with vomiting, nausea, fever are the symptoms of kidney stones or gallbladder disease. Kindly visit your hospital as soon as possible if that’s the case.
- If your pain is not improving with the change in your positions with time, do not ignore it. Consult your doctor immediately.
Treatment for cramps during pregnancy:
Your doctor will be more than happy to see you again and assure you that you are fine. Rather than you being too late in bringing something to his/her notice where something could have been done by intervening. Few of the renowned doctors of the United States recommend the following to deal with cramping while pregnant.
Keep Rest & Relax:
Firstly, it is recommended that you rest and relax and drink lots of fluids, and if the pain is too much, you might want to take a pain relief tablet. However, check with your doctor before popping those pills.
You are not advised to use heating pad or any such pain relief articles on your abdomen as it can be highly risky during pregnancy to handle anything that will increase the temperature inside and most importantly to be avoided during the first trimester.
It is highly recommended to take warm showers and take a few breaks during the course of the day for some stretching and sitting since cramping might be aggravated from being in one position for an extended period.
Now that you know what cramping is look out for the above mentioned and be wise in picking what to ignore. If you still have no confidence in the matter, do not take it up into your own hands. Your doctors would be more than glad to help you out with your concerns and sort them for you. They best clarify rumours and misconceptions.
Do not believe what anyone you know tells you unless it is your doctor. And it is best when the details of these are not hidden and explained in detail to them so that they know what is going on exactly. So, try to be as transparent as possible even if it involves your sex life. Cramping during pregnancy can be frightening enough.
Although it is quite reasonable to have them, you might want to have your partner on board with you to help you out when you need it. Do not keep anything from your partner since they can be the ones who act upon it and keep track of it since you are bound to forget and ignore feeling it is natural.
See More: Cramping At 4 Weeks Pregnant
Alternative methods to painful relief cramps during pregnancy:
The following are the various alternative ways to treat painful cramps during pregnancy:
- Change the position in which you are sitting, standing or lying down.
- Take a warm water bath.
- Perform different relaxation exercises.
- Place the hot water bag wrapped in a towel at the ache, and you might soon feel some relief.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
Having a baby of your own is one of the most magical things in nature and humankind, and this period of your life needs to be cherished as much as possible. Do not let anything ruin your pregnancy. If there is something as minor as a desire to itch, get it sorted. You do not want anything to come in the way of you and your baby. And as far as abdominal cramps during pregnancy are concerned, do not freak out and panic when you have them. Most of the issues we face in life are not worth being worried about. Keeping that in mind, some are not to be passed on as well.
Hence, be smart, patient, and confident and care for yourself as you have never done before because a whole new person is being developed inside of you. Remember to eat healthily, drink lots of fluids and rest more than you work. You might also want to avoid working in the last trimester to not pressurise yourself all through this. Cherish every moment and all the very best to you.
Frequently Asked Questions And Answers:
1. Are cramps normal during early pregnancy?
Ans: In most cases, mild stomach cramps during pregnancy are a usual symptom in the early stage of pregnancy. As the body is gearing up to carry the baby. Many a time, women even get mild bleeding with cramps when the embryo implants itself on the walls of the uterus. Hence there should be no reason to worry with mild cramps provided you are not feeling any of the symptoms mentioned above where you need to consult the doctor.
2. Do cramps mean a miscarriage?
Ans: In most of the cases, light cramping during pregnancy is considered normal. This pain is short-lived and occurs as the body prepared to carry the baby. But cramps in itself doesn’t mean miscarriage. When severe cramping during pregnancy is accompanied by heavy vaginal bleeding, then it might be due to miscarriage. When the egg is not implanted correctly, then the body discards the same, which is known as a miscarriage. Cramps, in itself, don’t mean miscarriage.
3. Do pregnancy cramps feel like period cramps?
Ans: In early pregnancy, you can experience mild cramps. These cramps are similar to the period cramps during early pregnancy, but they are in the lower back or in, the lower stomach. In pregnancy, you can experience such cramps for weeks or maybe till few months. This is because the body is making space in the uterus and preparing itself to carry the baby.