Pregnancy comes with a host of symptoms -- one of which can be cramping. While uncomfortable, mild cramping is typically normal during pregnancy. If you are ever concerned, speak with your obstetrician. Otherwise, don’t underestimate the importance of drinking plenty of water throughout your pregnancy. Water provides you and your baby with a multitude of health benefits which include preventing dehydration and associated cramps.
Making Room for Baby
Unless it’s accompanied by other symptoms, such as bleeding or severe pain, some cramping throughout the full nine months of pregnancy can be normal. As your uterus expands, it causes the muscles and ligaments supporting it to stretch, which results in cramping. During the second trimester, the round ligament supporting your uterus grows, causing sharp, stabbing pains or dull aches in your lower abdomen. According to the American Pregnancy Association, other common culprits include gas and bloating, constipation and having sex.
Why Water Is Your Friend
In the third trimester, dehydration can bring on contractions that cause preterm labor, says Julie Redfern, a registered dietitian writing for Baby Center. Water doesn’t directly alleviate the cramps, but drinking enough can help prevent you from getting dehydrated in the first place. When you’re pregnant, your fluid needs increase to support blood flow to your baby, amniotic fluid and increased blood volume. If you don’t meet those needs, you risk dehydration and additional cramps.
Registered dietitian Julie Redfern recommends pregnant women drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid daily. For every hour of activity, add an additional 8 fluid ounces. Milk, juice and decaffeinated beverages count toward this number. Aside from preventing dehydration and alleviating cramps, water has additional benefits. It reduces swelling, carries nutrients to your baby and prevents constipation, hemorrhoids and bladder infections.
When Water Isn't Enough
There are other home remedies you can try to alleviate pregnancy cramps. Heat is commonly used to relax tight muscles. Soak in a warm bath tub or wrap a hot water bottle in a towel and put it over the pain. The American Pregnancy Association also recommends changing positions and sitting or lying down. Engage in yoga or other relaxation exercises to relax tense muscles and stave off cramps. However, if you are concerned about cramping for any reason, call your obstetrician.