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Having Cramps in Early Pregnancy

Is it normal and why you have them


An early pregnancy cramp or two is extremely common. Early pregnancy pains are typically nothing to worry about, but it's a good idea to mention them to your healthcare provider if they're severe or you're concerned.

A Cramp In Early Pregnancy

These cramps early in your pregnancy occur because of the normal changes that are happening in your body.

  • A cramp in early pregnancy can happen as your uterus starts changing shape and growing to accommodate your growing baby.
  • Some women do have slight bleeding during cramping. This often occurs when the embryo begins to implant itself into the uterine wall. Many women mistake these signs and symptoms of early pregnancy for regular menstrual cramping and a period because they typically take place when their periods are due to start.
  • Cramping during or after an orgasm can happen and can be a little frightening. However, unless your doctor tells you so, there's no reason to avoid sex.
  • Around 12 weeks, many women report that they start experiencing sharp pains on one or both sides of their groin. This can happen during sudden or gradual movements, such as when you stand up, twist or stretch. This pain is simply your ligaments stretching to support your expanding uterus.

What Does an Early Pregnancy Cramp Feel Like?

Many pregnancy cramps feel like period cramps, which means many women worry that their period is about to start at any moment. However, you can experience other pains, such as heartburn.

How to Relieve a Cramp in Early Pregnancy

If your early pregnancy cramps are especially painful, there are a few ways you can find relief. Some of these include:

  • Taking the recommended dose of acetaminophen (avoid aspirin and ibuprofen).
  • Asking your partner to gently rub your lower back.
  • Soaking in a warm tub.
  • Relaxing on the couch with a warm water bottle.
  • Going for a walk.

How to Know If You Should Call the Doctor About an Early Pregnancy Cramp

Most cramps are just signs and symptoms of pregnancy, but it's not a bad idea to mention them to your healthcare provider. He or she can make sure that there aren't any other reasons for the cramps, such as a urinary tract infection or constipation.

If an early pregnancy cramp is alongside spotting or bleeding, call your healthcare provider right away. Spotting and bleeding can be normal, but it can also be a sign of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. Your healthcare provider may wish to perform a vaginal ultrasound to make sure everything is going well in your pregnancy.

A Mom Says…

“I experienced a cramp in early pregnancy so I called my doctor for help. She fit me in for a quick ultrasound, where she found a little bleeding right next to my uterus. Although I was really nervous, she assured me that it was normal and that it would probably disappear in a few weeks. A few weeks later I went in for another ultrasound and the bleeding was gone -- along with my cramps.”

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