Feeling aches and pains when you're pregnant can be a normal occurrence as your body adjusts to your growing baby. While most of the abdominal pain isn't something to be alarmed over, this can end up being a serious concern for many moms to be. If you are having abdominal pain during pregnancy, you will want to know what the cause could be and when you should talk to your doctor about it. This article will help you do just that.

Four Harmless Causes


The uterus is growing

Abdominal pain is a common side effect of your uterus growing. As it grows, it causes the bowel to be displaced which can cause discomfort, nausea and a constant feeling of being full.


Pain of the round ligaments

The round ligaments extend from the front of the uterus down to the groin, When the uterus grows, these ligaments can stretch, causing pain to the abdomen as well as groin area, The pain can range from a dull achy pain to a sharp stabbing pain. These pains are most noticeable during the second trimester especially when you change your position.


Gas and constipation

During pregnancy, the progesterone hormone will slow down the gastrointestinal tract. This cause the foods to pass more slowly through the body which can cause constipation and excess gas.


Braxton Hicks

Braxton Hicks may feel like real contractions, but they have nothing to do with going into labor. These contractions will feel like a tightening to the lower abdominal region, but unlike contractions, they are not consistent or last for long. Braxton Hicks contraction is often caused by dehydration and while they can be uncomfortable, it is nothing to be concerned about.

Seven Serious Causes


Tubal pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancies occur when the fertilized eggs implant itself outside the uterus. Often this implantation will happen on the fallopian tubes and will cause abdominal pain during pregnancy. You will feel sharp pain and notice bleeding early in the pregnancy, usually around the 6th week. Unfortunately, ectopic pregnancy cannot be left to go full term and will require immediate medical treatment.



Feeling abdominal pain during the first trimester can always be a concern. Miscarriages are common during the first trimester and you will often have bleeding or cramping.


Preterm labor

Around the 37th week, you may experience contractions and backaches that can be an indication of preterm labor. Anytime you feel contraction late in the pregnancy, you want to let your doctor know right away. While these can also feel like Braxton Hicks contraction, you may also notice vaginal leakage, blood or a decrease in movement from your baby.


Placenta abruption

The placenta is what supplies your baby with nutrients and oxygen and usually stays attached to the uterine wall until the baby is born. Sometimes, though, the placenta will detach before the baby is born, usually during the third trimester which can cause serious complications. Women will experience a severe pain in the abdomen, bleeding, hardening of the uterus and can cause women to go into labor.



Preeclampsia is common after the 20th week of pregnancy and will usually be indicated by high blood pressure or protein in the urine. Women who have preeclampsia are at a higher risk of placental abruption. You will often feel abdominal pain during pregnancy to the right upper abdominal region, as well as experience nausea, headaches, swelling, and problems with your vision.


Urinary Tract Infection

UTI may not seem like a cause for concern but this infection can spread to the kidneys which will increase the chances of preterm labor. You may feel abdominal pain, burning when urinating, or blood in the urine.


​HELLP syndrome

HELLP or Hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets syndrome can cause serious complication during pregnancy. There is no identifiable cause for this condition but it will present a range of symptoms from headache, fatigue, and vomiting to high blood pressure, swelling, and bleeding. Most noticeably, you will feel pain to the upper part of the abdomen.

Can You Do Anything to Relieve the Pain?

If you are only experiencing minor pain in the abdomen with no other symptoms, there are a few things you can do to try to relieve the discomfort.

  • To help release any gas that can be causing you pain, move around a little or do some light exercises.

  • Soak in a warm tub or take a warm shower.

  • Bend towards the direction of the pain.

  • Drink a tall glass of water.

  • Lay down for a few minutes.

When Should You See a Doctor?

If you are experiencing severe pain or cramping, you should call your doctor immediately. If you have additional symptoms that accompany the pain, then you should also consider calling your doctor. If you are having abdominal pain during pregnancy as well as any of these symptoms, you will want to talk to your doctor right away.

  • Chills or fever.

  • Bleeding or spotting.

  • Headaches that are severe.

  • Blurred vision, sensitivity to light or any other changes to your vision.

  • Difficulty urinating or pain while urinating.

  • Dizziness.

  • Having more than four contractions in an hour.


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