Pregnancy puts a significant strain on your body and nowhere is this more apparent than in your growing stomach. As your baby grows the additional pain on muscles, joints, ligaments, and surrounding organs causes cramps during pregnancy and irritation. Understanding when and why cramps occur may assist you in determining that is a normal part of pregnancy and which may require the attention of your doctor.
What Creates Cramps during Pregnancy?
The ligaments that surround and support your uterus are the most common cause of cramps during early pregnancy. These ligaments expand as your baby grows. When you change positions, you will occasionally feel these ligaments cramp up on one or both sides of your stomach or near your back.
Ligament cramps can occur at any time during your pregnancy, but they are most noticeable between 14 and 20 weeks. During this time, your uterus is growing and causing pain to the ligaments. But it hasn’t grown so large that your pelvic bones are supporting it.
Try lying on your side until they go away if you have what feels like a ligament cramp. A warm water bottle may be useful too, but if you simply relax, most cramps go away fast.
You may experience nonirritating menstrual cramps as early as your fourth month, but more commonly in your sixth or seventh month. This is your uterus contracting, which is known as Braxton-Hicks contractions (named after the physician who recognized them).
These “practice” contractions prepare your uterus for the difficult task of pushing your newborn out when you’re ready to give birth.
How the Cramps Lasts?
They can last anywhere from thirty seconds to two minutes and will be converted into larger and more frequent as your due date approaches. If you’re feeling uneasy, try lying down, changing positions, or standing up and walking around. It has to change positions now and then to ease the contractions.
As you get closer to your due date and the contractions become stronger, it may be difficult to tell if you are still having Braxton-Hicks contractions or if you are in labor. Consult your doctor if you are unsure, especially if you are at risk of premature labor.
Types of Cramps during Pregnancy
Leg Cramps During Pregnancy
Leg cramps during pregnancy may be caused by changes in blood circulation as well as stress on your leg muscles as a result of carrying extra weight. Your developing baby also puts strain on the nerves and blood vessels that supply your legs. Some doctors believe cramps in the stomach during pregnancy can be caused by a lack of calcium or a change in the way your body processes calcium.
Abdominal Cramps During Early Pregnancy
Early pregnancy mild stomach pain (first 12 weeks) is usually caused by your vascular growth in ligaments, hormone constipation, or trapped wind. Sometimes it can feel like a “stitch” or mild pain. In the first trimester of pregnancy, many women experience stomach cramps, in particular. As your baby grows, so will your body. It is common to feel cramping or a mild pulling sensation in your abdomen.
You may experience cramps or aches in your lower abdomen during your second trimester. Cramps during pregnancy second trimester occur as a result of your uterus expanding during pregnancy, putting pressure on nearby muscles and ligaments. Your round ligament muscle frequently cramps as it stretches during the second trimester.
Menstrual Cramps During Early Pregnancy
You may experience mild or light cramping early in your pregnancy. These cramps will most likely feel like light cramps from your period, but they will be in your lower stomach or lower back. If you have a history of miscarriage, we request you don’t ignore these symptoms and visit your doctor as soon as possible.
It is normal to feel uneasy near the end of your pregnancy. By the third trimester, you may be experiencing ‘Braxton Hicks’ pains, which are similar to contractions. These are not regularly occurring. Normally they are brief. Cramps during pregnancy usually occur when you normally start your period. Some light spotting might accompany it. Implantation pain is similar to a mild menstrual cramp. In your lower abdomen, you may feel an aching or pulling sensation.