One of the benefits of pregnancy should be the lack of PMS. Unfortunately, a new set of stomach pains and cramps are common for many pregnant women. While some of these discomforts call for a doctor’s visit, most are just the normal side effects of a changing, growing belly.
The abdominal feelings associated with pregnancy range from tingling to stinging, dull to intense. Because everyone’s pain tolerances and experiences are different, you may need to tell your doctor a scale of 1 to 10 or compare the pain to others you have had, such as menstrual cramps. Some pain may involve muscle, ligament or skin stretching. Other pain may be a sign of bleeding or other problems in your organs.
The most common pain in your first trimester is implantation cramping. This will occur early in your pregnancy, even before you know you are pregnant. They will feel similar to menstrual cramps and may be confused with them. The second trimester may involve stretching and moving of the muscle around the uterus as you grow. This may be an acute, short-lived pain. In the third trimester, you may feel the baby kick and jab inside you. Depending on his position, this can be on your organs, ribs, bones or muscles. Contractions preparing for labor are normal during the third trimester.
Although pain may be intense, it usually does not last long. If you have debilitating pain for extended periods of time, go to the hospital immediately to diagnose the source. While light vaginal bleeding is normal at the beginning and end of pregnancy, take note if it is heavy or without some cause, such as after an exam. This could be a sign of miscarriage or other problems. Talk with your doctor about every pain you endure. It’s better to hear his words of comfort that it’s all normal than to worry if it could be something worse.
The best relief you can provide for your abdominal pain is to relax. Whether your muscles are under strain or your baby is trying his karate skills, a relaxed demeanor will encourage your muscles to relax, ready to endure their fate. Take the deepest breaths you can, draw a warm bath and read a book. Participate in daily abdominal exercises to keep them as strong and as prepared as you can.
You may find comfort in knowing that many of the pains you endure have positive sources. Once you have talked with your doctor and eliminated the option of problems, remember that the stretching and cramping are signs of your baby’s growth and your body’s preparation to introduce him to the world.
- pregnant woman image by Frenk_Danielle Kaufmann from Fotolia.com