When do you need to worry about Pregnancy Cramps?

How do early pregnancy cramps feel? Cramping during early pregnancy usually feels like stretching or pulling in the belly or abdomen. Cramps are pretty common during pregnancy. They often feel like more of an ache and not a pain, similar to menstrual cramps. The female may also notice the cramps when she changes positions or when she sneezes or coughs. If the cramps are mild and the female does not have any other symptoms, they are probably no cause for an alarm.

Cramps during pregnancy- When to consult the doctor?

female at gynecologist

But, at times the female may observe some signs indicating that the cramps she is experiencing may not be the regular cramping during early pregnancy and that there may be a problem. If you experience the following symptoms during pregnancy, you should consult a doctor: 

  • Severe pain
  • Pain that does not go away
  • Cramping which can be felt in the vagina
  • Unusual vaginal discharge (Also Read: Vaginal Discharge in Pregnancy)
  • Frequent diarrhea or other digestive or stomach problems
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness 
  • Pain in the neck or shoulder 
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Contractions along with lower abdominal pain (Also Read: Abdominal pain in pregnancy- Is it Normal? )
  • Severe Bleeding
  • Cramping, along with pain in the shoulder and/or neck

How long do cramps last during pregnancy?

female having pregnancy cramps

Severity and extent of the cramps and how long will they last depend on the cause responsible. Like, cramps caused due to UTI generally last until the female gets medical treatment. UTI cramps can even get worse if not treated. On the other hand, implantation cramps usually last about a day and go away on their own.

Pregnancy cramps caused due to a growing uterus are intermittent, which means that the cramps come and go and can be felt at some places but do not linger for long. If the woman is experiencing mild cramps during the early pregnancy with no other symptoms, lying down, sitting, taking a warm bath, yoga or gentle relaxation techniques can ease the discomfort. Drinking plenty of water can also help relieve symptoms of cramping. 

Cramping during pregnancy may often be replaced with other pregnancy symptoms, such as round ligament pain (common in the second trimester) and Braxton Hicks contractions (common in the third trimester). So make sure to get lots of rest during pregnancy to ease the pain, contractions, cramps or other symptoms.


Also Read: How To Meditate During Pregnancy?

How to treat Cramps during pregnancy at home?

female having pregnancy cramps

If the female is experiencing minor cramps during pregnancy, there are some things she  can do to prevent and treat them and for self-care:

  • Lie down on a soft surface or sit down. 
  • Change positions so that the body stays in motion. 
  • Take a warm shower or soak in a warm bath.
  • Try doing yoga, meditation, mild stretching or relaxation exercises.
  • Use a hot water bottle for the ache or cramps.
  • Drink enough water and plenty of fluids.


Also Read: 10 Easy And Safe Exercises During Pregnancy

Serious concerns for cramps during pregnancy

pregnant woman having contractions

Cramping during pregnancy is most common. But, sometimes, there can also be some serious causes of abdominal pain or cramps, as listed below:

  • Ectopic pregnancy – This is the condition in which the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy is a serious medical condition and can cause severely painful cramps. The female should consult her doctor at the earliest without delay. 
  • Miscarriage – Spotting or bleeding, along with mild or sharp cramps can be a sign of a miscarriage. Some pregnant women have spotting and cramps but can continue to have healthy pregnancies. If you experience severe cramping or/and heavy vaginal bleeding, visit your doctor immediately.
  • Preeclampsia – High blood pressure accompanied by traces of protein in the urine indicates preeclampsia. Severe preeclampsia can also cause sharp pain in the upper abdomen.
  • Preterm labor – Preterm labor can be characterized by increased cramps, pressure, and abdominal pain. In this condition, the cervix of the female begins to dilate before 37 weeks.
  • Urinary Tract Infections – Lower abdominal pain along with painful urination are common symptoms of urinary tract infections. UTIs during pregnancy do not go away on their own. Get an appointment with the doctor to get the required treatment. 
  • Placental abruption – Placental abruption is the condition when the placenta separates from the uterus before the birth of the baby. This condition is life-threatening and can be identified by painful cramping that doesn’t go away. The female should contact the doctor immediately if she experiences such symptoms.

A word from Pristyn Care

In general, it is normal to have some cramping in the pregnancy. This doesn’t mean you should not consult your doctor about any questions, especially if it is the female’s first pregnancy. It is suggested to take notes about frequent symptoms and the frequency and for how long the cramps are. Visit your doctor right away if you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms during pregnancy.


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