Pain and cramping during pregnancy often causes expectant mothers to worry, although healthy pregnancies may include some abdominal pain and cramping. Previous abdominal surgeries, including C-sections, as well as your stage of pregnancy, can increase your likelihood of experiencing pelvic pain and cramping. Don't hesitate to contact your obstetrician regarding the state of your pregnancy or the health of your developing baby.
Your body goes through numerous changes during the first few months of pregnancy. Early pregnancy cramping often occurs as the embryo attaches to the lining of your uterus. This type of cramping usually happens about the time of your expected period, often before you realize you are pregnant. Some women experience light bleeding at this time, known as implantation bleeding. This type of cramping usually lasts about one day. Cramping near the middle of your pregnancy may arise from stretching ligaments or adhesions, the scar tissue that may form after abdominal surgeries or infections. This type of pain may range in severity from a dull ache to a sharp pain.
During late pregnancy, cramps that resemble menstrual pain may indicate the beginning of labor or false labor. False labor causes your uterus to periodically tighten and relax during the second and third trimesters. Some women find this painful. The cramping that occurs early in labor can feel like menstrual cramps or achiness in your back.
Severe and sudden pain during pregnancy requires a trip to your doctor. Abdominal cramping that increases in severity may arise from an ectopic pregnancy, a situation that occurs when the fertilized egg implants somewhere other than your uterus. Vaginal bleeding that accompanies cramping can signal the beginning of a miscarriage. Other symptoms that may indicate a problem with your pregnancy include fever, shoulder pain, dizziness and vomiting.
Report all unusual pregnancy symptoms to your doctor, including cramping and bleeding. Even though mild cramping sensations are a normal symptom in many healthy pregnancies, your doctor may ask you to come if for a medical exam. Cramping that occurs at regular intervals may signal the beginning of premature labor. Preterm labor is labor that begins before your 37th week of pregnancy. Labor that occurs this early requires immediate medical attention.