Abdominal pain can be a normal part of pregnancy. It occurs as your body changes to accommodate your growing baby. However severe cramping or pain can be a cause for alarm.

Young woman having abdominal pain, pain on white background

Causes of abdominal pain during pregnancy.


As your uterus expands during pregnancy, the ligaments and muscles may stretch causing cramping. This abdominal pain may be more prominent when you cough, sneeze or change positions.


Round ligament pain is the common cause of second trimester cramping. This round ligament supports the uterus and causes sharp, stabbing or dull pain when it stretches.


Other causes of abdominal pain during pregnancy include constipation, gas or bloating Braxton hicks contraction  and sexual intercourse.


What serious medical conditions can cause abdominal pain during pregnancy ?


Some medical conditions that may cause severe cramping during pregnancy include the following :


Ectopic pregnancy : This occurs when the fertilized egg is implanted anywhere apart from the uterus. This results in severe pain and bleeding usually during the 6th and 10th weeks of pregnancy.


Miscarriage : Vaginal spotting which is accompanied by mild or sharp cramping may be a sign of a miscarriage. If you have severe bleeding and spotting, contact your doctor immediately.


Preeclampsia : This is high blood pressure accompanied by protein in urine. Severe preeclampsia can result in the severe upper abdominal pain.


Preterm labor : This is when you start to have contractions that efface or dilate your cervix before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Preterm labor is accompanied by increased pressure, abdominal pain and cramping.


Placental abruption : This life threatening condition is when the placenta separates from the uterus before the baby is born. It is characterized by constant pain that causes your stomach to stay hard for an extended period of time without relief. You may also experience bloody fluid or premature breakage of water, back pain and abdominal tenderness.


Urinary tract infection UTI : This can be easily treated during pregnancy but can also case complications if left untreated. UTI produces symptoms among which include abdominal pain, fever, chills, nausea or sweating.


Other causes of cramping during pregnancy include :

  • gallbladder disease
  • fibroid
  • kidney stones
  • appendicitis
  • stomach virus
  • food poisoning
  • bowel obstruction


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