Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy: Causes And How To Cope

Pregnant woman with abdominal pain

Pregnancy: Your organs are moving around, your body is stretching, your uterus is expanding. With all these body changes, it comes as no surprise that you may be facing abdominal pain. 

Abdominal Pain

Some abdominal pain isn’t unusual during pregnancy in most cases. Feeling a stomach ache or cramping may just be a part of the early signs of pregnancy that you are going through. If you feel a sharp, stabbing or dull and aching pain … it’s safe to say it’s the abdominal pain. 

As time goes by in your pregnancy, the pain may be linked to other usual symptoms including Braxton Hicks contractions or round ligament pain. 

This pain is normally expected during your pregnancy, but it can sometimes be a cause for concern. Abdominal pain can be linked to other conditions that are also common, but more serious, such as a urinary tract infection, misscarriage, preterm labor or preeclampsia. Listen to your body, and always contact your doctor if you ever experience a symptom that is worrying you. 

What Causes Abdominal Pain?

Abdominal pain during pregnancy

Because your body is going through so many changes during your 40-week pregnancy, you may undergo many different discomforts. One being abdominal aches and pains. But what exactly causes this pain?

Your Growing Uterus 

As your uterus is growing, it starts to displace your bowel. This repositioning may lead to nausea and the feeling of uneasiness.  

To cope: Incorporate smaller meals throughout your day (but more frequently), exercise regularly, give your body the rest it needs, and visit the washroom to empty your bladder often. 

Round Ligament Pain 

It’s common for your round ligaments to stretch as your uterus gets larger. Your round ligaments are two large ligaments that go from your uterus and down into your groin. It creates a sharp stab-like pain in your lower abdomen or groin area, and will be felt more when you change your body position. For instance, rapid movements such as exercising, sneezing, coughing, laughing, or standing up too quickly. 

To cope: This usually starts to be experienced during the second trimester of your pregnancy and will be solved on its own. 

Constipation and Gas

Experiencing frequent constipation and gas is unfortunately the reality for most pregnant women. As progesterone levels run higher (a hormone that increases during pregnancy), your intestines will start to relax which makes it harder for the food you eat to travel through your body as quickly as before. This may lead to bloating, belching and flatulence. 

Unfortunately, you’ll experience this more toward the later stages of your pregnancy since your growing baby will place a lot more pressure on your abdominal cavity. 

To cope: Drink plenty of water and eat foods that are rich in fibre. Avoid foods that are high in carbon dioxide such as sodas, carbonated energy drinks, and fizzy waters. If this doesn’t seem to help with the constipation, speak to your midwife or ob-gyn about a stool softener or fibre supplement. 

Pregnancy is filled with surprises, but going through body changes and some body aches is something that most women expect when expecting! Just remember that mama knows best and you should contact your doctor or midwife if you ever feel like your symptoms are problematic to you or your baby.

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