When you find out you’re pregnant, you’re going to feel a whirlpool of emotions. You’ll most likely feel excited, happy and scared all at the same time, which is completely normal because you’re growing a little human!
Along with the emotions you feel during pregnancy, it’s common for you to feel abdominal pain and cramping, joint pain, nausea, and fatigue. Being in pain isn’t anywhere close to fun, however, you can get through it and it will be all with it once your little one is in your arms.
While occasional pain and cramping in your abdomen is completely normal, it could also be a sign that requires medical attention. Never ignore agonizing cramping and call your OBGYN if you are also experiencing:
- Pain while urinating
- Vaginal bleeding
- Extreme Vomiting
- Unusual vaginal discharge
If your cramping is not accompanied by any of the symptoms above, you may just be experiencing round ligament pain or Braxton-Hicks contractions.
What is Round Ligament Pain?
If you’re feeling a short-lived, sharp, stabbing pain on either or both sides of your abdomen, you’re probably feeling the not so wonderful round ligament pain. In your pelvis, you have two round ligaments on each side of your hip area in your uterus. These round ligaments are stretching and thickening to hold your growing baby; while they’re stretching and thickening, you get the joy of feeling the pain. Although the pain may be intense, it should be short-lived and it’s completely harmless to you and baby.
You’ll most likely feel this pain during pregnancy when standing up, getting out of a chair, after an active day, rolling over, pretty much anything to do with sudden movement could activate the wonderful round ligament pain. To prevent this pain from happening, make sure you have time for yourself throughout the day to rest.
Along with rest, if the pain during pregnancy isn’t allowing you to get your daily tasks done, ask your OBGYN about a mild pain reliever such as Tylenol. If you don’t feel like taking medication is the right route to take, you can also wear a pregnancy support band that will help with your posture and take the weight of your growing baby off your pelvis.
While wearing the support pregnancy band, or after taking a mild pain reliever, give your abdomen a gentle massage to relieve the pain and don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re growing a baby and it’s a lot of work your body is doing.
If your pregnancy pain isn’t sharp and short-lived, you may be experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions which are just as harmless as round ligament pain.
What is a Braxton-Hicks Contraction?
The good old Braxton-Hicks contractions aren’t a stabbing pain like round ligament pain. It’s usually a tightening and release kind of pain you feel in your abdomen. They’re usually less painful than round ligament pain, but just as harmless.
This pain can occur throughout your pregnancy. If you’re experiencing what you think is Braxton-Hicks contractions after 37-weeks, you may want to call your doctor to be sure they aren’t real contractions. You’ll usually be able to tell the difference between real contractions and Braxton-Hicks contraction but if you aren’t sure, your OBGYN will be able to help you.
Be sure to call if:
- You have more than 6 contractions in 60 minutes—even if you aren’t in pain
- You’re having vaginal discharge
- You feel the contractions in regular intervals (every 2-3 minutes)
- You are also experiencing lower back pain
More Serious Pregnancy Pain
Most of the pain you feel during your pregnancy is going to be normal—don’t feel bad if you’re calling your doctor every day to be sure. If you’re having extreme pain before 20-weeks of your pregnancy you could be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
An ectopic pregnancy is when the egg is fertilized outside of the uterus, most likely in your Fallopian tubes and if left untreated, it can be life-threatening. Call your OBGYN if you have one or more of the following pregnancy pains:
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding
- Pain gets worse during a bowel movement or physical activity
- Pelvic or abdominal tenderness—sharp pain that won’t go away
Although having an ectopic pregnancy is uncommon, it can still happen. So be sure to call your doctor if you’re unsure of your pain. Even if it isn’t an ectopic pregnancy, you could be experiencing a miscarriage which also requires medical attention.
A miscarriage is a loss of a pregnancy before you hit the 20-week mark. Your first symptom of a miscarriage is going to be vaginal bleeding and will immediately follow with sharp abdominal cramping that won’t go away.
It’s best to catch your miscarriage early because the doctor will be able to prevent the pain. Even if you’re not sure you’re having a miscarriage, call your OBGYN if you’re experiencing anything that remotely alarms you.
The doctors will be able to talk you through anything and are there for a reason. Your OBGYN may also have some tricks for you to try to help relieve your pain.
Relieve the Abdominal Pain
Pregnancy is the most beautiful, life-changing experience, but it does come with a lot of pain. The pain is worth it though—you just have to keep trusting the process and be excited to hold your little miracle in your arms.
If you’re feeling pain with no other symptoms, it might be gas or just a little discomfort.Try moving around to relieve the gas pain, take a warm bath, drink a ton of water and relax as much as possible. Your body is going through a lot of changes and you need to take care of you along with taking care of your growing baby.
Pregnancy is such a happy yet scary time. Remember to enjoy each second. Soon, you’ll blink and you’ll be at your child’s first birthday. Through all the pain, sleepless nights and trips to the bathroom, childbirth is the most beautiful thing you will endure.