Stomach Pains During Pregnancy
Becoming pregnant is a happy time but can also come with a lot of anxiety. It can be very stressful not to know what is happening to your body, as well as making sure it is a safe and healthy vessel for your baby to grow in.
Cramps during pregnancy are normal as your body is changing every day, as it starts to develop for birth.
There are however some cramps that are more of a concern than others.
Harmless Stomach Pains
When you are growing a baby, you are most likely going to experience round ligament pains.
The majority of this will be in your second trimester, as your baby and womb grow, the round ligament stretches. This makes them more likely to become strained.
Sudden movements can cause these ligaments to tighten quickly. Causing sharp or jabbing feelings in your lower belly and groin area, on one or both sides.
Sudden movements that can cause these spasms are
- Rolling over in bed
- Standing up too quickly
Constipation is very common during pregnancy. To help with this try getting enough intake of fiber every day, which is around 25-30 grams. Also keeping activate and drinking double the amount of water will help you overcome this constipation and bellyaches.
Yes, it just could be trapped wind which is making you experience these awful stomach pains like bloating, cramps, and abdominal pain.
Trapped wind can be caused by hormonal changes which can cause excess gas.
Try to avoid food these certain foods which can cause this:
- Fried foods
- Carbonated drinks (soft drinks, soda)
- Whole grains
Every woman experiences things differently, something might work for one but not another. The best thing to do is keep a food journal and it will help you note down what might cause you to experience trapped wind or constipation.
Cramps after sex
It is safe to have sex during your pregnancy, all the way up until your due date if you are comfortable with this of course.
If you do however experience cramps after intercourse or having an orgasm, they are called Braxton-Hicks contractions. These contractions can happen due to your body releasing oxytocin when you orgasm, making your muscles contract. Semen can also trigger uterine contractions as it contains prostaglandins. Sex is a physical activity and different positions may cause contractions.
Having these contractions after sex is normally mild and will pass within a few hours. These contractions are generally harmless and shouldn't lead to premature labour.
Cramping That May Need To Be Checked
UTI's can be extremely painful not only just during pregnancy, but for any women who have experienced these before.
So what is a UTI?
A UTI occurs when bacteria from somewhere outside of a woman’s body gets inside her urethra, (basically the urinary tract) and causes an infection.
They are quite common during pregnancy as the fetus grows it can put pressure on the bladder and urinary tract. This can then cause urine to leak and trap bacteria.
Symptoms of a UTI infection include:
- Burning or painful urination
- Cloudy or blood-tinged urine
- Pelvic or lower back pain
- Frequently needing to pee
- Feeling that you have to urinate frequently
If you are experiencing a UTI it is best to keep drinking as much water as possible, to try and flush most of the infection out. It will also ease needing to go to the toilet frequently.
An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes.
Ectopic pregnancy is quite hard to diagnose as some of the symptoms can be mistaken for something else like an upset stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, or appendicitis.
Symptoms do include cramps but also other signs that it may be more serious than just normal ligament cramps, you could be experiencing
- Vaginal Bleeding
- Lower abdominal pain, on one side
- Diarrhoea or vomiting
- Feeling faint
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or if you have had an ectopic pregnancy before, it is best to go straight to the emergency department.
The most common sign that you are experiencing a miscarriage is vaginal bleeding.
However, in the first trimester of your pregnancy, it is common to experience some bleeding which does not necessarily mean you are having a miscarriage.
Unfortunately, a lot of miscarriages the cause is not usually identified, meaning it can be a very traumatic experience to go through emotionally and physically.
Some other symptoms are:
- Cramps in your lower stomach
- Fluid discharge from your vagina
- Discharge of tissue from your vagina
- No longer experiencing signs of being pregnant for example morning sickness or tender breasts.
If you are experiencing vaginal bleeding please contact your GP or midwifery team immediately, especially if you have had a miscarriage previously.
Pre-eclampsia affects some women during their pregnancy and after the delivery of their baby. It happens when there is a problem with their placenta, which is the organ that links the mother's blood supply to their baby in the womb.
It can occur around the 24th-26th week of pregnancy, with the earliest symptoms being high blood pressure and protein in the urine. This will be picked up by your GP or consultant on your regular check-up appointments. This is why it is important never to miss your regular appointments.
Other symptoms of preeclampsia are:
- Sudden swelling of the feet, ankles, face, and hands
- Pain or cramping just below the ribs
- Weight gain due to fluid retention
- Severe heartburn
Placensem abruption is when the placenta comes away from the wombs wall, which can cause premature labour.
This can be caused by a high impact situation such as a car crash or falling. It could also be related to conditions such as preeclampsia which we touched on before, or fetal growth restriction.
Symptoms of this Placensem abruption are:
- Abdominal pain or in the back
- A tender womb
- Vaginal bleeding
It is so important if you think you are experiencing Placensem Abruption that you immediately go to the hospital. If it is a serious abruption you can lose a serious amount of blood and it can cause distress for your baby. It may even result in induced labour or an emergency C section.
Premature birth is when a baby is born before 37 weeks.
- extremely premature is less than 28 weeks
- very premature is 28-32 weeks
- moderate to late premature is 32-37 weeks
Women who give birth to their babies prematurely may have some underlying health issues, which may cause them to experience this. You will more than likely know if you are going to be giving prematurely for example if you are expecting twins or triplets.
The signs that you are going into preterm labour are
- Pelvic pressure within the vagina or rectum
- A discharge increase which means your waters may have broken
- Period type pains in your abdomen or lower back that are in a rhythm or are constant
If you think you have gone into premature labour, please contact your hospital that you are going to be giving birth in.
Top Tips For Finding Relief From Cramps
🛁 Warm bath
Having a warm bath can not only help you relax but help them aches and pains you may be experiencing as you grow bigger and bigger every day. It's known to help round ligament pain and leg cramps during pregnancy.
The temperature of your bath should not exceed any more than 37 degrees just to be on the safe side.
Nothing sounds better than treating yourself to a nice warm bath every couple of days, to relax and pamper yourself whilst easing those cramps.
Yoga has so many benefits from helping to ease the mind, stretching out the aches and pains and it can also be such a good social activity as well.
There are so many videos on how to do yoga whilst pregnant and what is safe and not safe.
Check out our birthing ball to help you aid in your pregnancy yoga experience
🏊🏻♀️ Low Impact Exercises
Exercise is so vital throughout pregnancy and offers so many benefits not only for you but for your baby as well.
If you are experiencing cramps during pregnancy, doing 30 minutes of low impact exercises such as gentle laps of the pool, a youtube video that has plenty of low impact exercises in, or a brisk walk will help to ease those aches and pains.
Yep, you heard right! Exercise really does help with the majority of pregnancy symptoms.
Hot Water Bottle
Is using a hot water bottle or heating pad safe during pregnancy?
The answer is yes! It's completely safe to use as it helps ease those cramps or other pains you may be experiencing. If you are using a heating pad or hot water bottle in an isolated area that you are experiencing pain, it will not spike your body temperature. However, there are some tips to make sure using this method is even safer
- Don’t apply a heating device directly to your skin. It’s best to wrap it in a thin towel first or use it over your clothing.
- Don’t apply heat for longer than 20 minutes, which is the normal cycle length of most heating pads.
- If your heating pad has temperature settings, use the lowest setting.
- Avoid falling asleep with your heating pad.
Wearing A Maternity Belt
We love to support pregnant women at BABYGO, and we really do supply everything you need to help you throughout your pregnancy journey.
As well as a birthing ball, we offer a pregnancy support belt that gently compresses the belly, while the band can help support the uterus and reduce discomfort from movement during physical activity.
It really is a must-have for pregnancy even to after giving birth.