Abdominal pain during pregnancy – you need to know that!
If you experience abdominal pain and abdominal pain during pregnancy, the next thought is usually the well-being of your unborn baby. Fortunately, these worries are usually exaggerated, but they are completely normal and correct. Because although most causes of abdominal pain during pregnancy are completely harmless, you should always listen carefully to yourself and go to a doctor or a hospital immediately if you have certain pains. This article summarizes which signals you should pay attention to when you have stomach pains when you are pregnant and why there is usually no reason to worry.
Abdominal pain in early pregnancy (1st-12th week of pregnancy)
Abdominal pain and pulling in the abdomen – am I pregnant or am I on my period?
If you’re planning on having a child, you probably listen carefully to your body every month and you know that a slight stinging and drawing in abdomen also a early pregnancy symptom can be. However, not every pain of this kind means that the egg has been fertilized and implanted successfully. Many women also experience slight abdominal pain in the days before their menstrual period. In addition, in the first few days after fertilization, there is still a relatively high risk that the egg will not implant properly or will be naturally rejected. The only certainty that a pregnancy has started is therefore only a positive pregnancy test and a gynecological examination.
You can find out which symptoms you can use to recognize a pregnancy very early on in our article on the topic “Early signs of pregnancy”.
Harmless symptoms and causes of abdominal pain in early pregnancy
Most women experience mild abdominal pain or spotting at one time or another during the first few weeks of pregnancy. That mainly has to do with the hormonal change (increase in progesterone levels, release of pregnancy hormone HCG) in the body and the physiological changes in the abdomen.
Pulling and stabbing in the abdomen: changes caused by pregnancy hormones
In the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, the blood supply to the abdomen improves and the so-called ligaments, which are used to attach the uterus to the pelvis, stretch. The muscles in the abdomen are softened and relaxed by the progesterone and prepare for the enormous strain in the coming months. The placenta also forms, grows and penetrates the uterine lining with its root-like villi. The resulting pain is sometimes severe and spasmodic, resembling a pulled muscle or sore muscles
Heat, relaxation and sleep usually help against this type of pain.
Pain, pressure and stinging in the abdomen: Indigestion caused by hormones
The increased progesterone level causes the muscles throughout the body to relax – including the digestive organs. Stomach and intestines work less quickly, the food remains longer in the intestinal loops. This leads to an increased feeling of fullness, flatulence and heartburn. About half of all pregnant women also suffer from constipation during pregnancy. All these digestive problems may be accompanied by stabbing or oppressive abdominal pain.
On the other hand, it may help to drink a lot of still water, eat a high-fiber diet and get enough exercise.
Light spotting and aching pain: implantation bleeding and implantation pain
The nidation of the egg cell in the uterus takes place a little later than the time of the menstrual period. What very few women know: This can be associated with pain or even light spotting. One then speaks of the implantation bleeding and the implantation pain. for a few days and is usually noticeable by a strong pulling in the abdomen.
Dangerous causes of abdominal pain in early pregnancy
Unfortunately, a painful pull and bleeding can also affect one abortion indicate. During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, natural miscarriage is relatively common because the embryo cannot develop or implant properly. In principle, there is usually not much you can do about it, but you should still consult a doctor.
Star Children: A baby who is not with the parents
Such miscarriages as well as premature births with fatal consequences occur again and again in nature. Neither mother nor doctors are to blame and there is probably no effective prevention against it. This often gives the parents of star children the impression that they just have to accept this event and should not mourn excessively. Depending on previous experience and character, a miscarriage can have very stressful psychological consequences for a woman or a couple.
Therefore, always take the right to mourn your star child – no matter in which week you lost it! Many maternity clinics and hospitals are now aware of the importance of farewell ceremonies and funerals – unfortunately some still are not. That is why there are many portals and reports on the Internet where you can find out about your rights and options after leaving. Take your time and arrange the farewell in the way that is necessary for you and your family.
If you then have the feeling that the events are taking a toll on you, seek psychological help or a self-help group.
Occasionally the egg implants itself outside the uterus. Depending on the site of implantation, this is called a Ectopic pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, ovarian pregnancy or cervical pregnancy. This can be very dangerous and even fatal if not discovered in time. It is expressed by stabbing pains, often left or right abdominal pain, which appear in phases and then disappear again.
During the first ultrasound examination during pregnancy, i.e. when the doctor diagnoses the pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy is ruled out. From this point on, you no longer need to worry about this.
Abdominal pain in pregnancy from the 13th week of pregnancy
Safe causes of abdominal pain in the 2nd and 3rd trimester
Occasional pain and cramps: Kicks through baby
The most likely reason for abdominal pain from the second trimester is being kicked by a child. The space in your abdomen is slowly decreasing and the kicks can now hit your internal organs or ribs directly. If the pain is clearly coming from there, it may be that your baby is just lying awkwardly. Then you can try to get him to change his position by going on all fours for a while or doing a headstand.
Hard belly in pregnancy: exercise contractions
From the second half of pregnancy onwards, exercise contractions (Braxton-Hicks contractions) can occur again and again. They prepare the uterus for childbirth and are quite normal. Exercise contractions shouldn’t hurt, shouldn’t be regular, and should stop after a minute or less. Otherwise it could be real contractions (see below) and you should ask your midwife or gynecologist for advice.
Stomach pain during pregnancy: The baby presses on the organs
Just as the bladder volume seems to be that of a pea towards the end of pregnancy, the space for the stomach also decreases. If you eat too much, it can lead to oppressive stomach pain. Just try to eat smaller portions and read my tips for heartburn.
Pain after sex in pregnancy
For some women, orgasming during pregnancy causes temporary abdominal pain and cramps. With normal sex practices that don’t involve excessive pressure on the abdomen or a lot of stress on the female body for hours, this is absolutely nothing to worry about and will soon pass.
Dangerous Symptoms and Causes of Abdominal Pain in Later Pregnancy
Late miscarriages (13th to 23rd week of pregnancy) or premature births (24th to 36th week of pregnancy) are also very rare in later pregnancy. These can also be announced by abdominal pain and bleeding. You should consult a doctor for any persistent or heavy bleeding during pregnancy.
HELLP syndrome: pain in the upper right abdomen
If you feel severe pain in the upper abdomen in the second half of pregnancy, i.e. from the 20th week of pregnancy, you should always pay attention and go to the doctor if the pain lasts longer. Above all, pain in the upper right abdomen can indicate the HELLP syndrome, a serious illness that can occur from the 20th week of pregnancy.
Regular cramps during pregnancy: labor pains?
Cramp-like pain during pregnancy should never be taken lightly. Observe how often the pain comes back, how long it lasts, and how it feels. True labor pains can be recognized because they occur regularly, become more frequent, and last longer than a minute. True labor pain also often radiates to the legs and back, so labor may also be confused with back pain.
How does contraction feel?
If you experience pain after the 36th week of pregnancy, there is no need to worry. However, you should call your midwife and discuss when you should come to the hospital or birth center. Before the 36th week of pregnancy, medical measures are likely to be needed to prevent premature birth or to prepare the baby for life outside the womb. In concrete terms, this means that you should go to an emergency room if you have regular contractions. There, depending on the baby’s stage of development, the doctors will administer labor inhibitors or a drug to help the baby’s lungs mature.
Other causes of abdominal pain during pregnancy
Not all abdominal pain during pregnancy actually has to be related to pregnancy. Kidney stones, appendicitis, cystitis, chronic intestinal diseases or food intolerance can also lead to severe pain in the abdominal area. Because even if these are the less likely possibilities, you are not protected from serious infectious diseases and the onset of chronic diseases even during pregnancy.
Gastrointestinal and diarrhea during pregnancy can also cause abdominal pain.
Read here when diarrhea can be dangerous during pregnancy.
painkillers during pregnancy
In principle, paracetamol is considered unproblematic during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but the pain should always be clarified by a doctor before taking painkillers, so you can then discuss which drug will help best.
Alternatively, help with many types of pain as well cherry pit pillow or a (not too hot) hot water bottle, a warm bath, or a waist belt.
When do I have to see the doctor?
Not because of every brief pull in the abdomen, but any type of severe and persistent abdominal pain during pregnancy should be examined by a gynecologist. Especially if there are other symptoms such as bleeding, regular contractions, fever or nausea.
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