Although people may insist that your pregnancy has you glowing, you may not feel like you fit that description. In fact, the common discomforts of pregnancy can disturb your sleep and have you wondering if everything is progressing normally. Mild discomforts are a normal part of pregnancy, but some types of pain may signify a condition that requires medical treatment. An unusual pain in the side may be nothing more than an ordinary symptom of a stretching uterus, or it could be something more serious.
When to Worry
Pain is not just an annoying symptom designed to make us miserable. Pain is one way our body communicates with us. Don’t just ignore pain during pregnancy. Pain in the abdomen and sides during may be a symptom of a serious condition. Ectopic pregnancies, when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, require medical attention. The pain caused by an ectopic pregnancy normally occurs around six or seven weeks after fertilization but may occur earlier. Vaginal spotting or bleeding usually accompanies the pain, and you may experience dizziness and faintness. Contact your doctor if you experience bleeding with your pain or if your pain continues or intensifies.
Many women exercise throughout their pregnancies, while others decide to start a new program when the find out they are pregnant. Pulled muscles can occur at any time, including during pregnancy. Try to remember if you did anything that might have caused you to put strain on your abdominal muscles. With the extra strain placed on your muscles during pregnancy, aching muscles can occur from time to time and may not limit themselves to the abdominal area.
Changes That Occur as Your Baby Grows
During the second trimester, many women experience aches and pains in the abdomen and sides as the round ligaments near the uterus begin to stretch. These tough, fibrous bands of tissue can cause intermittent pain that may get slightly worse when coughing or getting out of bed. These stretching ligaments commonly cause some discomfort during pregnancy.
The Uterus Prepares Itself for Labor
Many women begin to feel like their uterus has a mind of its own during pregnancy. This efficient muscle begins exercising and preparing itself for the rigors of birth in the weeks and months prior to delivery. Known as Braxton-Hix contractions, these pre-contractions can occasionally cause discomfort in the abdominal area, including the sides. These contractions usually strengthen and become more frequent in the weeks prior to labor. Unlike true labor, these contractions normally stop when you walk. Notify your doctor if you think you may be experiencing preterm labor.
Conditions Involving Nearby Organs
Not all side pain during pregnancy comes from the uterus, muscles or ligaments involved in pregnancy. One common, but uncomfortable, condition that may cause side pain involves your kidneys. Urinary tract infections may flair up during pregnancy, causing pain. Watch for other symptoms, such as an uncontrollable urge to empty your bladder when it isn’t full, blood in your urine, fever and burning during urination. Let your doctor know if you experience these symptoms so he can clear up the infection as soon as possible.