Cramping occurs during different phases of pregnancy. They generally become more noticeable in case of any physical activity, sneezing, coughing, or changing positions.
Some common causes of cramps are:
- Cramping during early pregnancy months: Implantation cramping at the onset of pregnancy when the fertilized egg gets attached to the uterine wall is common.
The rapid uterine growth in the first two trimesters of pregnancy can also lead to cramping. And the sudden spurt of hormonal growth inside the body also leads to increased gas, bloating, and constipation.
During this stage, the cramping associated with miscarriage is actually caused when blood and tissue leaving the uterus irritates it, causing it to contract.
- Second trimester: Cramps are less likely to occur during this time except for those women who are pregnant with multiples.
Round ligament pain during this time occurs during this time, though, in which ligaments that support the uterus are stretched with the uterus growing upward.
Uterine fibroids are another reason that can cause massive cramping during this time. Happens when tissue overgrowth in the uterus starts breaking down, due to lack of blood reach.
- Third trimester: Frequent cramping occurs during this time owing to the onset of the Braxton Hicks contractions.
- Apart from these, occurrence of gas build-up, constipation, and even sexual intercourse during pregnancy can lead to cramping.
Some simple ways in which temporary relief can be ensured in the case of abdominal cramps are:
- Taking the recommended dose of paracetamol (make sure that medicine is doctor-recommended and marked safe for use during pregnancy)
- A warm bath would relax and soothe the muscles and cramps
- Gentle exercises such as walking or yoga would also keep the body and muscles fit and active
- Using a hot-water bottle or a warm compress would also provide relief
- Proper rest and fluid intake would also reduce pains
Cramps can occur any time of the day or night. And the pain can range from being mild or severe. They can be accompanied by back or abdominal pain, pink discharge (could be a sign of preterm labour), dizziness, light-headedness, or bleeding – these signs should be taken seriously as they could point towards complications like miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, pre-eclampsia, urinary tract infections, placental abruption, constipation, or even a pre-term labour.