Many women experience cramps all throughout pregnancy. This can be an unsettling experience, especially at first. While some cramps are harmless, others indicate that there’s a problem. It’s crucial to learn the difference.
Here’s an overview of the different kinds of cramping you may experience in the first trimester, followed by a quick look at remedies.
Non-Dangerous Reasons for Cramping
The womb is a muscle, and it cramps every time it goes through a significant change. Let’s look at some of the changes that happen in the first trimester.
Cramping and spotting can be among the earliest signs of pregnancy.
When the embryo embeds itself into the wall of your womb, you may experience cramping as well as light bleeding. The cramps signal changes happening in the uterine wall.
Implantation bleeding happens around 6-12 days after the egg is fertilized. This means that it may happen just when you expect your period.
This is why many women mistake implantation bleeding for the symptoms of menstruation. However, it’s typically lighter than menstrual bleeding and may come with a white discharge.
As implantation bleeding happens to everyone, there’s no need to worry. But if the discharge has a bad smell, you may have a yeast infection. Your doctor needs to be notified because it might impact your pregnancy.
Changes in the Size of the Womb
Once the embryo starts growing, the uterus will grow to accommodate it. The resulting cramps last throughout the pregnancy.
After the first trimester, you may also experience pain in the sides of your groin. With the growth of the uterus, the ligaments supporting this organ have to stretch.
It is safe to have sex during early pregnancy. However, you may experience stronger cramps after an orgasm.
Gas, Constipation, and Bloating
Bloating and constipation are a possibility throughout your pregnancy, and this leads to cramping. In the case of prolonged constipation, contact your doctor.
Cramping as a Danger Sign
In general, the cramping that characterizes the first trimester shouldn’t be more severe than menstrual cramping. If you’re experiencing more severe symptoms, you should seek medical attention.
Possible medical causes of this symptom include:
Urinary Tract Infection
The changes in your uterus impact your bladder, and this may lead to complications. Experts say that pregnant women are especially vulnerable to this infection between the 6th and 24th week of pregnancy.
Other symptoms include a burning pain during urination, frequent urination, and signs of blood or mucus in the urine.
This is an extremely dangerous condition that comes with sharp abdominal pain. It happens in one out of fifty pregnancies. If your cramping is severe or you feel intense pain for longer than a few minutes, get medical help immediately. Keep in mind that ectopic pregnancies may come with bleeding as well.
Miscarriage usually happens within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. The first 13 weeks are especially dangerous. There are many different reasons why miscarriages happen, and they are fairly common. The likelihood of a pregnancy ending in miscarriage is 10-25%.
Severe back pain is one of the most typical warning signs. You should also look out for more intense bleeding or white mucus. The cramps that come with miscarriage tend to be more severe than menstrual cramps.
When to Contact Your Doctor
If there’s a sudden increase in the severity of your cramping, contact a doctor immediately. You should also take note of any vaginal discharge. Pain in your crotch, or even in your neck and shoulders, can be another warning sign. All of these conditions require immediate medical help.
However, it’s also a good idea to discuss cramping during your regular checkups. In most cases, there is nothing to worry about. But to ease your discomfort, your doctor may recommend paracetamol. If you opt for this painkiller, make sure to stick to the recommended dosage.
Remedies for Cramping Early in Pregnancy – What You Can Do at Home
There are many different ways you can ease the cramps in your abdomen. The basic idea is to relax your muscles and improve your blood flow.
You Can Try Shifting Positions
When you stand up, lie down, or change your position, the cramping might subside. It’s a good idea to stay active even in the first months of your pregnancy. Light stretches can help as well.
If your legs are positioned too low, your sitting position can make the cramps stronger. Hence, you should put your feet up whenever possible.
Consume a Lot of Fluids
Getting enough to drink will help you prevent constipation. It’s also an important preventive measure against urinary tract infections. Try to drink around eight glasses of water a day during your pregnancy.
To avoid cramping, you should also make sure to urinate often.
A Healthy Diet
Make sure to consume enough fibers, as they help you avoid constipation. Vitamin-rich foods can help keep you safe from UTIs.
Warm Baths Can Help
Taking a warm bath or shower is one of the best ways to treat cramping early in pregnancy. What you can do is to try and relax your muscles as best you can. Hot bottles are helpful as well.
Avoid Tight Clothing
Even if your body hasn’t yet visibly changed, you may need to modify your wardrobe for comfort. Keep to loose-fitting clothes.
It’s a very good idea to look up exercises for the first trimester. Working out improves your circulation and helps the muscles relax. It also helps with cramping because it strengthens your abdominal muscles. What’s more, it can reduce morning sickness, digestive problems, or fatigue.
Massaging your abdomen can help ease the cramps as well.
A Final Word
For most women, cramping is just a natural part of early pregnancy. You shouldn’t ignore it, but there’s usually no need to worry about complications. Cramps are a danger signal only if they’re severe or if they’re accompanied by other symptoms.
There’s a variety of ways you can reduce your cramps. Try to keep safe from UTIs. While some bloating is unavoidable, you can do a lot to avoid constipation and decrease cramping.
Stick to loose clothing and comfortable sitting positions. Whatever you normally do to ease menstrual cramps will work here too, but don’t forget that painkillers can be dangerous. If you’re uncertain about a remedy, consult with your doctor.