You might expect some discomfort during pregnancy, but stomach cramps can cause you to worry. Cramping may simply be a sign that you ate something that didn’t agree with you, but it can also signal more serious problems. Learn the potential warning signs to determine whether you should be worried by your cramps.
Cramps Along the Way
You may experience cramps very early in your pregnancy — from the time that the embryo implants in your uterus. Throughout the first trimester, cramps may signal that you are having a miscarriage. In the second trimester, it’s common to feel “round ligament pain,” which can either be a dull aching or a sharp, stabbing pain in the abdomen. It happens most often when you move suddenly. In the third trimester, you may experience preterm labor, false labor or real labor, all of which have cramps that can vary in intensity.
Most of the types of cramps that you experience during pregnancy are harmless. In particular, you might notice cramping after eating certain foods. This is gas pain. Cramps that are a tightening of the uterus are Braxton Hicks cramps and help prepare your body for birth. Cramps that are dull and achy are usually nothing to worry about.
If you’re having more than four strong cramps every hour in the later stages of your pregnancy, you could be in preterm labor. Likewise, cramps during the first part of your pregnancy are rarely a good thing.
What to Do
Try to relax. Feeling tension can make the situation worse. The cramps can go away if you take a bath or lie down for awhile. If you have round ligament pains, take care not to make any sudden movements, which can aggravate the situation. If you are at all concerned about the cramps you are experiencing, call your doctor or go to the emergency room.
Other Warning Signs
Though cramps alone do not necessarily indicate that something is wrong, if you are experiencing bleeding, fever or chills, you should contact your doctor immediately.