Cramps or pains in the abdomen, also known as the stomach, are very common during pregnancy. They are typically nothing to worry about, but there is a possibility that they could be an indicator of a more serious problem that needs to be checked out. If the pain is only mild and disappears when you shift positions, take a break, defecate, or pass gas, then there is probably nothing to be concerned about.
Cramps or pains in the abdomen, also known as the stomach, are very common during pregnancy. They are typically nothing to worry about, but there is a possibility that they could be an indicator of a more serious problem that needs to be checked out.
If the pain is only mild and disappears when you shift positions, take a break, defecate, or pass gas, then there is probably nothing to be concerned about. However, if you are experiencing stomach pains and are concerned, you should contact your midwife or the nearest maternity hospital.
What Causes Stomach Pain While Pregnant?
In order to make room for your growing baby, the uterus will stretch, and with it, so will the ligaments. It’s possible that this will cause a sharp or dull pain in the groin, hips, or abdomen. Pain in the round ligament may be triggered by movements such as shifting your position, sneezing, or coughing. This typically takes place in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.
Pains in the abdomen that are not harmful and can be dull or sharp may be caused by the following:
Constipation is a common symptom of pregnancy, and it can feel like a sharp cramp on one side of your lower tummy. Ligament pain, also known as “growing pains” because the ligaments stretch to support your growing bump, is another common symptom of pregnancy (find out how to avoid constipation)
Call your midwife immediately if you have stomach pain and:
- bleeding or spotting
- regular cramping or tightenings
- vaginal discharge that’s unusual for you
- lower back pain
- pain or burning when you pee
- the pain is severe or does not go away after you’ve rested for 30 to 60 minutes
Any of these could be the symptoms of something that needs to be checked or treated urgently.
Important:Coronavirus (COVID-19) update
If you’re well, it’s really important you go to all your appointments and scans for the health of you and your baby.
If you’re pregnant, hospitals and clinics are making sure it’s safe for you to go to appointments.
If you get symptoms of COVID-19, or you’re unwell with something other than COVID-19, speak to your midwife or maternity team. They will advise you what to do.
Possible causes of serious stomach pain
Some conditions that can cause stomach pain need to be checked urgently.
This is when a fertilised egg implants outside the womb, for example in a fallopian tube. The pregnancy cannot survive and needs to be removed with medicine or surgery.
Symptoms typically appear between 4 and 12 weeks of pregnancy and can include:
- tummy pain and bleeding
- pain in the tip of your shoulder
- discomfort when pooing or peeing
Cramping pains and bleeding before 24 weeks of pregnancy can sometimes be a sign of miscarriage or threatened miscarriage (when you bleed but the pregnancy normally continues).
Pain just under the ribs is common in later pregnancy due to the growing baby and uterus pushing up under the ribs.
But if this pain is bad or persistent, particularly on the right side, it can be a sign of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy) which affects some pregnant women. It usually starts after 20 weeks or just after the baby is born.
Other symptoms of pre-eclampsia include:
- severe headache
- vision problems
- swollen feet, hands and face
You’ll need to be monitored in hospital.
If you’re less than 37 weeks pregnant and are having regular abdominal cramps or tightenings, call your midwife.
This could be a sign of premature labour, and you’ll need to be monitored in hospital.
This is when the placenta starts to come away from the wall of the womb, usually causing bleeding and constant severe pain that does not come and go like a contraction pain.
It’s sometimes an emergency because it means the placenta may not be able to support your baby properly.
You should go to the hospital so you and your baby can be checked.
UTI (urinary tract infection)
UTIs are common in pregnancy and can usually be easily treated. They can cause tummy pain and sometimes, but not always, pain when you pee.
What Helps with Stomach Pain During Pregnancy?
When belly pain is mild and is not a symptom of labour:
- Rest until you feel better.
- Take a warm bath.
- Think about what you drink and eat: Drink plenty of fluids. …
- Think about how you move if you are having brief pains from stretching of the round ligaments. Try gentle stretching.