7 Reasons for Cramping in Early Pregnancy
If you’re in the early stages of pregnancy and have been experiencing some cramping, you may be worried about what’s causing your pain. Thankfully, there are many benign causes of cramping in early pregnancy–some of which are quite common. In addition, miscarriage rarely presents with cramping in isolation. Instead, it’s typical for there to be bleeding and cramping, as it is the expulsion of blood and tissue that is thought to cause the cramping during a miscarriage. Here are the major reasons why you might be suffering from cramps, and some information on what will help you address these potential causes.
- Hormonal changes
Firstly, it might be a relief to learn that cramping is often a normal part of early pregnancy, and is associated with the hormonal changes that take place as your body adjusts to the task of carrying a baby. These cramps usually decrease as you move through the first trimester.
Another common cause of cramping in very early pregnancy (i.e. the first two weeks) is the implantation of the embryo into the uterine wall. These cramps will often be accompanied by spotting or light bleeding, typically around the time you would have expected to have your period.
A minority of women report cramping during orgasm, though this is highly unlikely to be associated with any risk to your baby. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, it is generally safe to continue having sex in pregnancy.
Constipation can cause lower abdominal cramping, and results from the rise in progesterone in your system. Try adding more fiber to your diet, and ensure you’re well hydrated at all times.
- Ligament stretching
When you reach the 12 week mark, you may start to feel a sharp cramping pain on either side of your groin when you change position or reach for something. This type of discomfort comes from stretching ligaments, which are trying to accommodate your growing womb.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
As well as causing increased urination and pain when urinating, urinary tract infections sometimes cause cramping. If you think you’re developing a UTI in early pregnancy, talk to your doctor (who will weigh the risks of antibiotics against the risk of a UTI developing into a more serious kidney infection).
If you haven’t yet had an ultrasound, cramping in early pregnancy can be a sign that the embryo has implanted outside of the uterus (usually in one of the fallopian tubes). In this case, cramping is usually severe, and gradually worsens.
If you have an established pregnancy and experience bleeding at the same time as cramping, always contact your doctor for an examination. Similarly, if your cramping is getting steadily worse and you’re getting very little respite, it’s wise to be checked for underlying problems like appendicitis or gallstones.
Have you suffered from early pregnancy cramps for any reason not described above? Let us know what happened in your case, and what helped you.