Cramps During Pregnancy

When one or both sides of the abdomen feel pulled, this is a sign of abdominal cramps. Pregnant women may suffer from cramps, though they are not very common. It is rare that cramps are caused by pregnancy and are biological in nature. Although cramping could indicate pregnancy, it may also be a red flag in some instances. Find out what causes cramps during pregnancy, how to manage them, and when to worry about it. [1] [2]

Is It Normal To Have Cramping During Pregnancy?

The majority of pregnant women experience abdominal cramping. Due to the growing embryo, the uterus expands. Due to uterine expansion, muscles and ligaments supporting the uterus are stretched. Mothers may notice more pain if they sneeze, cough, or maintain incorrect postures.

Leg cramps can accompany or be independent of abdominal cramping for some women. A leg cramp is a natural pain in the foot or calf muscles that may occur suddenly. Pregnant women and those who are awake at night are most likely to have them. You may also be prescribed stretching exercises by your doctor to relieve muscle cramps.

What Are The Possible Causes Of Cramps During Pregnancy?

It is possible to experience cramping throughout the entire course of pregnancy. It is worth noting that each trimester has different reasons for cramps and pain.

First trimester

  • The cramps started when the fertilized egg implanted in the uterus cause some women to experience bleeding, depending on the time of the contraction. It is common to experience cramping after surgery.
  • Early in pregnancy, progesterone levels cause ligaments and muscles around the uterus to become stretched.
  • Pregnant women often experience constipation. An episode of constipation during pregnancy may cause lower abdominal pain.
  • Because of hormonal changes, pregnancy often causes gastrointestinal problems. The most common symptoms of pregnancy are heartburn, bloating, and gas. As well as pain and cramps, trapped wind can be painful. It could be that it gets better after changing positions, having a bowel movement, or breathing through it.
  • Symptoms such as cramping, vaginal discharge, escalating abdominal pain and vaginal discharge could be signs of a miscarriage.
  • The cause of vaginal bleeding and cramps in early pregnancy cannot be determined by a woman without medical help.
  • It is possible to get an ectopic pregnancy if you experience abdominal cramps and bleeding on one side. It is usually between weeks 4 and 12 that the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy manifest.

Second trimester

  • In the second trimester, round ligament pain commonly causes abdominal cramps and pain. Sharp abdominal or hip pain that may extend to the groin may be experienced unilaterally or bilaterally. A few seconds of pain are felt after a round ligament injury.
  • Because the uterus is sitting on the bladder during the second trimester, urinary tract infections are common. During pregnancy the growing uterus puts pressure on the bladder, preventing urine drainage. The lower abdomen may be painful and cramping due to an infection of the urinary tract.
  • Fibroids are common in women who become pregnant. As high hormone levels in pregnancy can cause fibroids to grow, women who have previously experienced fibroids may have them grow again during pregnancy. In pregnancy, fibroids can cause abdominal cramping.


  • pregnancy cramps occur most commonly during the third trimester of pregnancy.
  • Braxton Hicks, also known as labor-like pains or contractions, occurs in many women during their third trimester of pregnancy. Although this is similar to labor contractions, it occurs infrequently and lasts only a few minutes.
  • You should visit your healthcare provider if cramps and contractions persist as this could indicate preterm labor.
  • The conditions which are associated with preeclampsia are high blood pressure, hypertension, neck pain, and headaches. The situation requires immediate medical attention.
  • Symptoms of placental abruption can include severe stomach pain and having back pain, as well as feeling tender when you touch the stomach. Aplacental abruption should be ruled out by your healthcare provider.

What Is The Right Time To Call A Doctor?

If abdominal cramps are accompanied by the following symptoms, seek immediate medical assistance.

  • Blood clotting or spotting
  • Tightening of muscles that is painful
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Feeling of burning while urinating
  • Urine that is cloudy or reddish
  • Despite resting for 30-60 minutes, pain that does not go away
  • Shoulder pain
  • Fainting or feeling dizzy
  • Fluid oozing from the vaginal opening slowly or suddenly
  • Swelling of the face, hands, or feet
  • Chronic headaches
  • Flashing or blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • Pelvic pressure
  • Fever
  • At least six contractions per hour

Pregnancy Cramps: How To Get Rid Of Them?

  • There are several things you can do to relieve cramps during pregnancy.
  • Stay off your feet for as long as possible. Avoid straining your legs, back, and abdominal muscles by sitting whenever possible.
  • Sit or sleep continuously for a short period of time. Your muscles and joints may feel sore if you are in the same position for extended periods of time.
  • If you’re working for several hours in a row, get up regularly.
  • Practicing deep breathing or walking as a form of relaxation will help you relax. If your doctor recommends mild stretching exercises, try them.
  • Make sure your diet is well-balanced and healthy. Stay hydrated.
  • When pregnant women experience pain during cramps, the safest medication is usually acetaminophen. If you plan to consume any OTC drugs, consult your doctor first.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do pregnancy cramps feel like period cramps?

A few weeks into pregnancy, menstrual cramps may resemble pregnancy cramps. Mild cramps can usually be left alone if they are intermittent and on and off. In some cases, sharp period-like pains during late pregnancy may be associated with labor pains.

  1. Can cramping be a sign of miscarriage?

A miscarriage may be indicated by lower abdominal cramps and bleeding. Consult a physician to determine the problem before coming to any conclusions.

There is no need to be concerned about cramps during pregnancy. Pregnant women can usually avoid cramps through proper care and exercise. If the cramps last too long or accompany other symptoms, stay alert. Without hesitation, seek a doctor’s opinion if you are in doubt or experiencing severe pain.