Abdominal pain during pregnancy can occur due to various reasons. From the first weeks when the baby begins to form in the womb, serious changes begin to occur in the body. Of course, the abdomen and internal organs are also affected by this change. Depending on all these changes, it is usually normal to experience abdominal pain during pregnancy. In some cases, when evaluated together with other accompanying symptoms, it may indicate different disorders.
In the first weeks of pregnancy, it is normal to experience mild abdominal pain that resembles menstrual cramps. In the following weeks, abdominal pain may be experienced due to various reasons. Abdominal pain during pregnancy can be considered normal if there are no vaginal bleeding, dizziness, nausea, tremors and similar symptoms and it decreases after resting.
Abdominal pain during pregnancy can occur for a variety of reasons and is considered harmless if:
Insertion pains: Minor abdominal pains may occur while the embryo is forming and attaching to the uterus, and these pains are commonly known as ‘implantation pain’. These pains, which can occur mostly before pregnancy is detected, can sometimes be confused with premenstrual pain.
Digestive problems: During pregnancy, the stomach and intestines are affected by pregnancy hormones and the movements of the baby in the womb. Progesterone hormone, which rises during pregnancy, can slow down bowel movements and cause digestive complaints such as gas and constipation, and therefore abdominal pain.
Stretching of muscles and ligaments: Connective tissues, known as round ligaments, extending from the upper part of the uterus to the groin begin to stretch as the uterus grows, and pain may be felt from time to time during this stretching. Abdominal pain due to connective tissue is usually felt when changing position in bed, coughing or sneezing and can sometimes occur suddenly in the form of cramps.
Stress: Psychological tensions and constant exposure to stress cause tensions in the body and can also affect the digestive system. It is normal to experience abdominal pain during pregnancy due to such tensions.
Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia, also known as pregnancy poisoning, is a condition that can be seen in 10% of pregnancies. Nausea and vomiting associated with upper abdominal pain during pregnancy may indicate preeclampsia.
HELLP Syndrome: This syndrome, which is seen in less than 1% of pregnancies, occurs when the destruction of red blood cells, elevated liver enzymes, and platelets that enable blood clotting are insufficient. The risk of the syndrome may increase in cases of preeclampsia and eclampsia. It occurs with headaches, constant fatigue, nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, edema and high blood pressure symptoms along with aches and pains in the upper abdomen.
Ectopic pregnancy: An ectopic pregnancy, whose incidence is 2%, is a condition in which the fertilized egg is attached to a place outside the uterus. It presents with severe abdominal pain and bleeding symptoms between 6 and 10 weeks of pregnancy.
Problems related to placenta: It is thought that there may be some problems related to the placenta, known as the baby’s partner, in cases where severe cramps occur in the abdomen and these pains are accompanied by back pain, vaginal bleeding and a feeling of tenderness in the uterus.
Low: Abdominal pain accompanied by a bright red vaginal bleeding can sometimes indicate a miscarriage.
To prevent abdominal pain that is not accompanied by other symptoms and is considered ‘harmless’:
- Eat a regular and balanced diet. Consuming small meals at frequent intervals, taking fibrous foods and drinking at least 2 liters of water a day helps the digestive system to work more easily and healthily, preventing abdominal pain during pregnancy.
- Pain in the first weeks usually goes away with rest. Lie down calmly in a comfortable position and relax your body by taking deep breaths.
- Abdominal pains caused by stretching of the connective tissues can also be relieved by resting and keeping the abdomen warm. Doing yoga, pilates and light exercises during pregnancy will also increase the flexibility of the body and help reduce pain due to muscles and connective tissues.
- Take time for yourself when you feel stressed and tense. Try to take a hot shower, a short walk, or whatever relaxes you.
If there are no symptoms such as dizziness, vaginal bleeding, nausea, vomiting and similar symptoms, the abdominal pain felt is not harmful to the baby.