Although abdominal pain during pregnancy is a common occurrence, it can be a sign of serious problems if it is accompanied by vaginal bleeding, vaginal spotting, unusual vaginal discharge, chills or fever, discomfort while urinating, light-headedness, vomiting and nausea.

Abdominal pain during pregnancy is caused in most pregnant women by the following causes:

1. Gas and Bloating

This is a major cause of abdominal pain during pregnancy because the rapidly growing uterus puts a lot of pressure on the intestines and stomach and also due to hormones that slow down the process of digestion.

2. Constipation

Another cause for abdominal pain during pregnancy can be caused by the hormones which are released during pregnancy that cause the slowing down of the process of digestion along with the pressure the rapidly growing uterus applies on the rectum. These factors can lead to constipation which in turn leads to abdominal pain during pregnancy, in some cases.

3. Cramping during Orgasm

An orgasm can also be the cause of abdominal pain during pregnancy. A pregnant woman might experience a little cramping after an orgasm which is okay as long as it is short-lived and mild.

4. Round Ligament Pain

A cause for abdominal pain during pregnancy is called round ligament pain. This pain generally starts in the second trimester as the ligaments which support the uterus in the pelvis stretch and grow to make space for the growing uterus. It is most often felt when the pregnant woman coughs, or gets up from the chair or the bed to the bathtub, or rolls over. This round ligament pain is a brief, sharp stabbing pain or a dull ache felt in the groyne area or in one or both the sides of the lower abdomen. This pain in the abdomen generally recedes after some rest. If it still doesn’t recede after rest, one must call the doctor to be on the safer side and to ensure that the baby and the mother are both safe.

5. Braxton Hicks contractions

These contractions are another cause of abdominal pain during pregnancy. At about the halfway stage of pregnancy, one might feel a tightening sensation in the uterus sometimes. These are called the Braxton Hicks Contractions. If these contractions before 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is generally nothing to worry about as they will be painless, infrequent and irregular. But it is a cause for concern if these contractions are accompanied by lower back pain, vaginal discharge, any signs of premature labour, vaginal bleeding, contractions at regular intervals, or more than six contractions per hour.

We spoke about some of the common causes of abdominal pain during pregnancy. We will now talk about the more serious concerns of abdominal pain during pregnancy-

1. Ectopic pregnancy

This type of pregnancy can be a cause of abdominal pain during pregnancy. It also causes cramping. If not treated at the right time, it can be life-threatening for both the baby and the mother. In this type of pregnancy, the fertilised egg gets implanted in the fallopian tubes – the fertilised egg is always implanted outside the uterus. The doctor must be called if there is vaginal spotting or vaginal bleeding or if the pain gets worse with any physical activity or if the abdomen is tender or if the pelvis is tender or if the pain gets worse by coughing or by pain in the shoulder which is caused by the accumulation of blood under the diaphragm due to a ruptured fallopian tube, along with the abdominal pain.

2. Miscarriage

Miscarriages can also be a cause of abdominal pain during pregnancy. Miscarriage is the loss of the baby in under 20 weeks. Miscarriage is accompanied with vaginal bleeding or vaginal spotting which is unfailingly followed by abdominal pain. This abdominal pain during pregnancy can be sharp, stabbing or mild, and it can be persistent or crampy, while the bleeding can vary between heavy and light.

3. Preterm Labour

Abdominal pain during pregnancy can also be caused by premature labour. The doctor must be contacted immediately if the pregnant woman has contractions that make the cervix dilate before 37 weeks. If it is accompanied by an increase in the amount or type of vaginal discharge or vaginal shooting and vaginal bleeding or by more than six contractions per hour or by abdominal pain which feels like menstrual cramps or by increases pressure on the pelvis or of the water breaks or if you are plagued with lower back pain.

4. Placental Abruption

Placental Abruption can be a cause of abdominal pain during pregnancy. Sometimes during pregnancy, the placenta gets separated completely or partially from the uterus. This can be life-threatening for the baby. The doctor must be contacted immediately. Symptoms which bring this about can vary from person to person. For some, the water might break and the bloody amniotic fluid might come out. For some, it causes sudden heavy bleeding and for some, it causes light spotting or bleeding. For some people, the uterus will become tender or will contract and stay in that position for a long time. Some might also have frequent contractions and back pain or the movements of the baby will decrease significantly.

5. Preeclampsia

Abdominal pain during pregnancy can also be caused by preeclampsia. This pregnancy complication causes the blood vessels to change and affects organs like the liver, brain, placenta and the kidneys. The doctor must be contacted immediately. It is characterised by high blood pressure after the twentieth week of pregnancy, the presence of protein in the urine, abnormalities in the kidneys and liver changes in the vision or persistent headaches. Other symptoms of preeclampsia can also include severe tenderness or pain in the shoulder or upper abdomen, intense headaches, blurred vision, breathing problems, nausea and vomiting, puffiness around eyes and swollen face, hands, feet and ankles.

6. Urinary Tract Infections(UTI)

UTIs can also cause abdominal pain during pregnancy. Pregnancy makes the mother more susceptible to UTIs. The doctor must be contacted if there is any reason for the mother to believe that she has a bladder infection, it can harm the kidneys if left untreated.

7. Gallbladder disease

Often said to be a result of gallstones.

8. Pancreatitis

Often said to be a result of Gallstones.

9. Appendicitis

Severe abdominal pain during pregnancy is caused by appendicitis. This particular disease is difficult to diagnose during pregnancy since the appendix gets pushed up to the liver or navel due to the growing uterus. This particular ailment can be accompanied by loss of appetite, vomiting and nausea.

If the pregnant woman just has minor abdominal pain and no indications of any other serious symptoms, these tips can relieve abdominal pain during pregnancy:

1. Eating small meals frequently can aid digestion, thereby releasing some of the pressure on the digestive organs.

2. Exercising regularly moderately can relieve abdominal pain caused by gas.

3. Taking a warm bath will soothe the muscles

4. One must be well hydrated

5. Abdominal pain can be relieved if the pregnant woman bends in the direction of the pain.

6. Resting and lying down can also relieve the abdominal pain.

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