Common Health Issues / Pregnancy Health + Wellness

Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy: What Causes and Treatment

What is Abdominal Pain in Pregnancy?

Abdominal pain during pregnancy is a common complaint in most females as hormones are continuously changing at this time. Usually cramping are signs of digestive disorder or a notice to take ease from work. In some rare cases, they may also suggest a warning for conditions like-

  • Miscarriage – According to a medical survey, chances of miscarriages are highest in first three months. Abdominal pains and cramping during this time is very severe and is often accompanied by bleeding in vagina
  • Ectopic Pregnancy – In some cases the impregnated eggs implants itself outside the walls of uterus. Although the pregnancy results for such cases is positive but this pregnancy does not survive. As the egg starts growing larger, it loses its place. Sharp pain in abdomen and vaginal bleeding are signs for an ectopic pregnancy
  • Preterm Labor – In many cases, babies are born before their due date. Their arrival is announced by severe abdominal pain during pregnancy.
  • Placental Abruption – Usually placenta implants itself on higher walls of uterus and detaches only after birth of baby. Placenta provides necessary nutrients to baby and without its support it is impossible for fetus to survive. In some rare cases, placenta separates from uterus walls causing constant, severe and sharp abdominal pain during pregnancy. Sometimes when the birth time is near, doctors deliver baby through C-section.
  • Preeclampsia– This medical condition is usually after twenty weeks of pregnancy and includes high pressure in bloodstream and higher protein contents in urine.If preeclampsia is very severe, it is accompanied by upper abdominal pain during pregnancy as well as swelling, nausea and headache.

Causes of Abdominal Pain in Pregnancy

Causes of Pain in Abdomen During Pregnancy

Some harmless causes of pain in abdominal area are as follows:-

  • Growing uterus – As uterus continues to enlarge and grow at a normal speed, it starts displacing the bowel. This often causes abdominal distention and feelings of nausea and therefore results in cramping and pain
  • Round ligament pain – Round ligaments travel from uterus to groin and holds the uterus. When uterus starts enlarging it results in added weight on ligaments that start stretching and become thinner and longer. Lower abdominal pain during pregnancy is due to this added pressure on ligaments
  • Gas and Constipation – During pregnancy a pregnant body starts releasing progesterone hormones. An increased amount of these hormones slows down functioning of gastrointestinal tract and results in slow traveling of food. Gas and constipation are common and leads to abdominal pain
  • Braxton-Hicks Contraction – Dehydration can cause such contractions because of lack of proper fluids in body

[Muse See: Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy : Causes and Treatment]

How to Ease Pain in Abdominal Area

The following steps provide ease in abdominal pain:-

  • Gently rubbing lower portion of back
  • Relaxing with a comfortable pillow which provides ample support to abdomen and back
  • Taking gentle exercises like swimming and walking in moderation
  • Eating little but frequent meals eases stomach muscles and avoids pain
  • Drinking at least ten glasses of water avoids gas, constipation and give relief to abdominal pains
  • Eating fresh fruits, green vegetables and whole grain products is beneficial in keeping stomach muscles in smooth working condition
  • Emptying bladder at frequent intervals
  • A pregnant woman gets easily tired therefore, it is necessary to rest at regular intervals


This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Stephanie McClane About Author

Stephanie McClane is a mother of three and enjoys sharing the knowledge she gathered throughout her pregnancies. After approaching her last two pregnancies from a more holistic prespective and having two natural births, she was inspired to share her experiences with other moms-to-be.