Abdominal pain can be of different types and are caused by a host of reasons like:
- Round Ligament Pain:
Characterized by a sharp stabbing pain when mothers change positions, or it can also be an achy, dull, lingering pain, felt time to time.
Round ligament pain is caused by the two large ligaments that run from the mother’s uterus to the groin area. As the uterus grows, these ligaments are stretched and create discomfort.
This pain is generally reported in the second trimester.
- Gas and Constipation:
Gas during pregnancy is caused by increased levels of progesterone. As more of this hormone is released, the gastrointestinal tract slows down, slowing down food travel.
Drinking plenty of water, eating fibre-rich foods, exercising, and using stool softeners are some of the ways to combat excessive gas and constipation.
- Braxton Hicks Contractions:
Women report sudden periodic contractions in their stomach that feel like a tightening of the stomach muscles, causing the stomach to feel firm and hard.
It is important to differentiate Braxton Hicks from true contractions. But true contractions will be closer together, last for a longer period of time, and are much more painful. True contractions will also take the mother’s breath away, so a general rule of thumb is that if the mother is able to carry on their normal activities, then it is most likely a Braxton Hicks contraction.
Drinking plenty of water is known to help eliminate this problem.
Apart from these common regular occurrences, there are some more serious and threatening causes that can lead to abdominal pain in mothers, such as:
- Ectopic pregnancy:
An ectopic pregnancy is known to occur when a fertilized egg gets implanted outside the uterus, typically in one of the fallopian tubes.
It may cause cramping, severe pain especially during any physical activity, and other symptoms like vaginal bleeding or spotting (red or brown, copious or scant, continuous or intermittent).
If left untreated, an ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening too.
Miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy in the first 20 weeks.
Vaginal spotting or bleeding is generally the first symptom. The bleeding may be light or heavy.
This is followed by abdominal pain a few hours to a few days later.
The pain may feel crampy or persistent, mild or sharp, and may feel more like low back pain or pelvic pressure.
- Pre-term labour:
If a pregnant woman enters into labour or starts to have contractions that effaces or dilates the cervix before 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is called pre-term labour.
Abdominal pain, menstrual-like cramping, or more than five contractions in one hour, increased pressure in the pelvic area, low back pain are common symptoms of pre-term labour.
Pregnancy can make mothers more susceptible to urinary tract infections of all kinds, including kidney infections.
Symptoms of a bladder infection would typically include pain, discomfort, or a burning sensation when urinating; pelvic discomfort or lower abdominal pain; frequent or uncontrollable urge to urinate; and the presence of cloudy, foul-smelling, or bloody urine.
Is a serious condition faced by pregnant women which affects a number of organs, including the liver, kidneys, brain, and the placenta.
People suffering from this disorder have high blood pressure after 20 weeks of pregnancy, protein in the urine, liver or kidney abnormalities, persistent headaches, or vision changes.Symptoms would include intense pain or tenderness in the upper abdomen, puffiness around the eyes, swelling of the hands, and excessive or sudden swelling of the feet or ankles.
- Other reasons like gallbladder disease and the rapid growth of fibroids during pregnancy can cause abdominal pain in pregnant women.
By merely observing the symptoms, the mother or no one around her in the family can tell what the exact cause behind the abdominal pain is. Hence, a doctor’s consultation must be sought to get more insights about the cause of the pain and the potential harm it poses to the mother. Addressing, identifying, and remedying the issue timely would ensure that both the mother’s and the growing baby’s health can be safeguarded