You were never one to panic or overreact to things in your life, but then again, you have never been pregnant before. Life has changed, and your “panic meter” may be set differently. Time to find out about cramping during pregnancy: should I be worried?
Cramping in Early Pregnancy
If this is your first time, you are less knowledgeable about how you will feel through your first and second trimester, plus what is normal and not normal. Your body begins to change almost immediately and is making room for your little one to get settled in the uterus. This may involve stretching of muscles and ligaments giving you aches and pains.
Your first thought might be that cramping means you are having a miscarriage. It is common for a miscarriage to occur in early pregnancy. However, if the cramps are mild, similar to having your period, and with increased pressure in your pelvic region, this is normal and nothing to be worried about.
Unless there is bleeding, it is most likely normal and of no concern. If you still have worries, contact Florida Women’s Health for some reassurance.
Normal mild cramping during pregnancy can be caused by the following non-threatening causes:
- Gas, bloating, and constipation
- Implantation bleeding (light spotting or bleeding 1 to 2 weeks after conception)
- Braxton Hicks contractions (false labor pains lasting from 30 seconds to 2 minutes)
Changing position, rest, and staying well hydrated will usually help.
When to Worry About Cramping During Pregnancy
Cramping that is severe, is occurring at regular intervals, and is getting progressively worse is not normal.
If any amount of cramping is accompanied by sharp pain, vaginal bleeding, or an increasing watery discharge in addition to increased pelvic pressure is not normal.
This type of cramping can be caused by differing degrees of concern.
Bladder Infections and UTI
Less worrisome is a bladder infection or a UTI which can cause severe cramping. If you have any symptoms, contact the pregnancy care specialists at Florida Women’s Health for treatment.
Preeclampsia is a sudden increase in blood pressure during pregnancy. Symptoms include protein in the urine, and swelling of hands and feet. This condition can lead to preterm birth, learning disorders, Cerebral Palsy, epilepsy, deafness, and blindness.
This typically happens during the first trimester.
Although rare, this is a serious and dangerous situation where the fetus implants inside a fallopian tube instead of the uterus. It requires immediate surgery and threatens the mother’s life should the fallopian tube rupture. Signs include one sided cramping and pain in the neck or shoulder.
This is a sudden premature separation of the placenta from the uterine wall before birth. It deprives the baby of oxygen and nutrients and causes heavy bleeding.
It’s always best to err on the side of caution if you have cramping and any bleeding.
Contact Florida Women’s Health at (352) 369-5999 if you have severe cramping or any other concerns or questions during your pregnancy. Obstetrician Michelle Wood, MD specializes in pregnancy care for women in special circumstances.