Early Pregnancy Cramps: Should You Be Concerned?

Early pregnancy cramps are fairly common. As the baby bump expands, your body shifts and stretches to accommodate the new life inside your womb. Most women experience aches, bloating, cramps, discomfort, and tightening as the muscles inside the abdomen extend for the baby to develop. These changes make discomfort a typical part of your pregnancy journey. However, ignoring pregnancy cramps can lead to serious complications. So, when should you be really worried about early pregnancy cramps? Read on to find out.

Is It Normal to Have Cramps During Pregnancy?

Mild and transient early pregnancy cramps are a common effect of uterine growth. But you must not ignore cramps that are accompanied by a significant amount of pain. Persistent, crippling cramps can indicate life-threatening problems, such as:

  • Ectopic Pregnancy: You are likely to experience debilitating pain during cramps if the fertilized egg continues to grow in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus, causing the tube to rupture eventually. It can be fatal if not detected before the tube ruptures. Continuous mild vaginal bleeding, unbearable pelvic pains, and occasional lightheadedness are some symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, which should not be ignored.
  • Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia symptoms include belly pain in the right side of the upper abdomen. Increased blood pressure levels ranging over 140/90 are also a sign of concern. High bodily fluids, a visible change in weight, accompanied by shoulder pain, severe headaches, and nausea are common in preeclampsia. Experts believe that autoimmune disorders, heredity, and blood vessel-related issues have a role to play in causing preeclampsia.
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Early pregnancy cramps can also be caused by yeast infections and UTIs. Urinary infections during pregnancy can be fatal for the fetus and should be treated as soon as possible. If you experience consistent pain in your lower abdomen followed by discomfort and mucus in the urine, you should speak to your obstetrician at once and get tested for UTI.
  • Placental Abruption: One of the conditions that cause unusual cramps during pregnancy is placental displacement. It is caused when the placenta separates from the uterine walls causing the fetus to be deprived of oxygen and other nutrients. In such cases, you might even need to deliver early to save the baby. Some of the symptoms of this condition include severe long-lasting pain, sudden contractions in the uterus along with tenderness, quick cramps in your belly, and shoulder pain.
  • Preterm Labor: Early pregnancy cramps that include shoulder and backaches, gushy watery fluid from the vagina, and intense pelvic pressure are leading signs of preterm labor. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your ob-gyn immediately.

While early pregnancy cramps are a fairly normal occurrence for most women, if you sense more than five contractions and increasing cramps with each passing hour then you should not ignore it. If the cramps are accompanied by vaginal bleeding, you must check in with your gynecologist immediately.

Regular obgyn appointments, blood tests, proper pelvic examinations, and ultrasounds will help you and your baby stay safe. Contact our experts at North Atlanta Women’s Care if you have any concerns related to your pregnancy.


North Atlanta Women's Care

North Atlanta Women’s Care specializes in complete women's health care and is the preferred source of comprehensive obstetrics and gynecology services for many women in Johns Creek, Georgia, and the greater Atlanta area.

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