Cramping during pregnancy is a common complaint of many pregnant women. Some of the underlying causes are harmless and occur due to regular physiological process of pregnancy while others can be quite serious and cause many complications among which loss of baby can be the most hard to deal with.
What Are Causes of Cramping during Early Pregnancy?
The first thing that leads to cramping during pregnancy is implantation. Namely, some women feel cramping and they do not even realize that this symptom is actually related to implantation of the fertilized egg into their uterus. Implantation in majority of cases occurs eight to ten days after ovulation. Cramping associated with implantation should not last long and it does not repeat.
Cramping during early pregnancy may also occur due to stretching of the uterus. This organ will hold the baby for 9 months and must prepare itself for this process. Stretching of the uterus is also accompanied by stretching of the ligaments attached to the uterus. Since these ligaments are not so elastic their stretching may sometimes cause cramping.
Another cause of cramping during early pregnancy is miscarriage. In this case there is also bleeding of different intensity. Apart from miscarriage ectopic pregnancy also leads to cramping and if there is a rupture of the affected fallopian tube the woman additionally complains about intensive abdominal pain. Similarly to a miscarriage ectopic pregnancy is accompanied by bleeding.
And finally, constipation and excess of gas in the intestine may be responsible for cramping during early pregnancy. This is not a serious issue. Still, it can be uncomfortable and bothersome.
What Are Causes of Cramping during Late Pregnancy?
Round ligament pain is one of the most common causes of cramping during late pregnancy. The pain and discomfort may develop in a form of cramping and are typical for the second and third trimester. The round ligament of the uterus starts from the uterine horns and spreads through the inguinal canal and goes to the labia majora. During pregnancy the uterus expands, increases in size and this way puts too much stress onto the nearby structures. The round ligament is one of them. Over-stretching of the ligament is what causes pain or cramping.
Braxton Hicks contractions are uterus contractions that affect pregnant women and are considered normal. They are not a reason to worry and cause no harm to the woman or her baby.
Cramping in late pregnancy may also be a warning sign of preterm birth. Additional symptoms and signs of preterm birth also include low and dull back pain, change in vagina discharge (leaking fluid or bleeding) and abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea.
And finally, cramping during late pregnancy may be an introduction to labor. In such case cramping is accompanied by another typical symptom of labor - back pain.
Due to all previously mentioned, any kind of cramping during pregnancy must be reported as soon as possible. This way the underlying causes can be identified in time and potential complications of pregnancy prevented.