• You're all caught up!

Stretching & Stomach Pains in Pregnancy

author image Sara Clement
Sara Clement has been a writer, editor and social-media expert since 2002. A regular contributor for publications such as "Exhale," "Reflections of a Butterfly" and "The Giggle Guide," she is currently writing a book about grief and loss and coauthoring a sequel to "Being Ourself." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in premedical science and psychology/education from the University of Montana.
Stretching & Stomach Pains in Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a normal and potentially enjoyable human process. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Due to substantial stretching that occurs during pregnancy, some achy muscles or mild pain is considered normal. Each stage of pregnancy has an assortment of typical reasons for mild pain or discomfort related to stretching. However, due to the fact that pregnancy complications are more common than the average person suspects, it is important, according to The March of Dimes, to understand the signs indicating that something may be wrong. Contact your obstetrician or midwife regarding any concerns you have during pregnancy.

Significance of Round Ligament Pain

One of the most common types of benign, or harmless, pain experienced during the second and third trimester of pregnancy is associated with round ligament pain. As the ligaments supporting the uterus are stretched along with muscles and connective tissue to support the healthy growth of the fetus, sharp or dull pains may be felt. This occurrence tends to increase with subsequent pregnancy due to the fact that the ligaments are not as taut as they were in a first pregnancy. However, even a first pregnancy may induce round ligament pain. It is advisable to time any type of pain or recurring discomfort to ensure you are not actually experiencing regular contractions, which may indicate premature labor.

Function of Braxton Hicks Contractions

Braxton Hicks contractions are the body's way of preparing for labor. They are more commonly felt in the last trimester of pregnancy and are typically not painful, although the tightening sensation is experienced by some woman as taking their breath away. Braxton Hicks contractions, or false labor, may be felt earlier in pregnancy by women who have had more than one baby as their body may adapt to pregnancy more quickly, offering these preparatory contractions as early as the end of the first trimester. Braxton Hicks can be differentiated by the fact that they are typically not regular and may cease with eating, sleeping or bathing. Any regular contractions should be assessed by your caregiver to rule out premature labor.


Using a body pillow may offer support to exhausted muscles and ligaments, which can reduce pain associated with normal pregnancy. In addition to ample relaxation, gentle exercise, such as walking, swimming or prenatal yoga, is imperative to provide the body with muscular support as it goes through changes associated with pregnancy. Pain and uncomfortable stretching can be reduced with a protein-rich diet, adequate physical activity and quality relaxation, according to the Academy of Husband Coached Childbirth, which internationally trains experienced mothers, nurses, midwives and doctors in Bradley Method Natural Childbirth Preparation Coursework.

Effects of Poor Digestion

During pregnancy, room is made for the growing baby by pushing the stomach and intestines aside. This occurrence can increase digestion upset, causing pain related to heartburn and gas. Gas pains may be felt as sharp and acute irregular discomfort that may be remedied with physical activity, papaya enzymes, homeopathic remedies or over-the-counter gas remedies, such as Beano or Tums. Any regular sharp pain should be assessed by your prenatal caregiver.


The contractions of labor can be considerably challenging. While many childbirth experts encourage women to see these contractions as a powerful means to birth that is completely normal and potentially empowering, many women find labor to be frightening due to its intensity. Regular contractions spaced five to 10 minutes apart that are not interrupted by walking, bathing, eating or sleeping should be treated as actual labor. It is important to contact your care provider at this point, whether you are having a hospital birth, a birth center birth or a home birth, to consult about the stage of labor you are in.


In the first trimester, severe cramping may indicate ectopic pregnancy, a potentially life-threatening condition that demands immediate termination of pregnancy. Any severe cramping, bleeding, fluid discharge or cessation of normal fetal movement may indicate pregnancy complications, including premature birth, miscarriage and stillbirth. Because stillbirth is a consideration parents may have to face during pregnancy, it is important to note that, according to author Monica Murphy-Lemoine, chief editor of bereavement and infertility magazine "Exhale" and author of "Knocked Up, Knocked Down," 4.5 million stillbirths occur each year with an even greater number of miscarriages. Murphy-Lemoine encourages bereaved parents to know they are not alone and to find support should they find themselves entering the world of baby-loss or infertility.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.



Demand Media