Stomach ache and discomfort during pregnancy may be among the first things which can affect you in pregnancy. With a host of changes going within your body, diagnosing stomach pain may seem tricky because many things happening during pregnancy are actually not abnormal and part of the life-developmental process.
However, you must understand that anything which seems out of ordinary during pregnancy must be attended promptly. Your promptness and timely medical intervention can play a crucial role in the successful accomplishment of your pregnancy. Stomach ache during pregnancy may essentially not be harmful, though not all! You must know the potentially harmful situations to demarcate between the not-so worrying and seemingly worrying conditions (demanding medical intervention).
Stomach Ache During Pregnancy
The following information, which should essentially not be considered as medical advice, can help you identify a potentially threatening or hazardous situation.
Pregnant women are likely to experience mild abdominal pain during early pregnancy. This is likely to be the result of the fluctuations in your hormone levels. Everything is stretching with advancement of the pregnancy and needs space to grow. Sometimes, you may experience sharp (shooting) pains on either side of the stomach. This can be the result of the stretching tissue which supports the extending uterus.
Help: Change position until you are comfortable. Avoid sharp movements.
During the second trimester of pregnancy, the uterine muscles can tighten (referred to as Braxton-Hicks contractions) to cause ‘false labor pains’.
They may be normal during pregnancy. Pregnant women can also experience pain in stomach due to contractions in the uterus. An intestinal problem may also cause stomach pain or discomfort. Uterine contractions should be attended promptly.
Help: Take rest, relax and change positions.
Round Ligament Pain
The ’round ligament pains’, named so owing to a ligament which holds the uterus in the pelvis, may not be a common outcome in pregnancy. Very mild pain (which do not last long) may remain harmless. Generally, it happens during the second trimester of pregnancy and may remain harmless. However, a pain which is stronger or constant indicates medical intervention. If there is bleeding as well, consult your doctor.
Help: When changing positions, be slow. Avoid sudden movements and get some exercise after consulting your doctor.
An infection in the urinary tract is likely to happen during pregnancy. Although abdominal pain may not essentially be due to urinary tract infection (uti), it may be a symptom. The hormonal changes occurring in a woman’s body leads to changes in the urinary tract which predisposes infections.
UTI must be treated during pregnancy so that complications do not happen. A UTI may lead to premature labour in a pregnant woman if left untreated.
Help: Drink plenty of water and maintain hygiene (particularly during sex).
Stomach pain during pregnancy may indicate ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is rare and occurs when pregnancy happens in the wrong place. Ectopic pregnancy can cause acute pelvic pain, particularly in the lower belly. It can be accompanied with other symptoms including bleeding. Ectopic pregnancy can be excluded before diagnosing another cause of abdominal pain during early pregnancy.
Help: Seek medical advice immediately as ectopic pregnancy can be potentially life-threatening.