Some short-term achiness in the belly is normal during pregnancy. But, severe cramping or pain never is. Call your health care provider when you show signs of severe pain.
Causes of normal abdominal pain during pregnancy
There are different causes for mild achiness or pain in the abdomen during the different stages of pregnancy.
Stretching of ligaments
What you can do
When you feel abdominal achiness, sit down, put your feet up and relax. Resting comfortably should quickly relieve your symptoms. Other tips include:
When to talk to your health care provider
While some pain or achiness is normal, severe abdominal pain or cramps could be a sign of a serious problem. Many conditions can cause this type of pain, whether you're pregnant or not. Severe pain may be a sign of stomach virus, food poisoning, appendicitis, urinary tract infection, kidney infection, kidney stones, gallbladder disease or complications of pregnancy (such as preeclampsia).
Contact your provider if you have severe and continuous pain, or if you also have:
During the first 3 months of pregnancy, abdominal pain can be a sign of ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg is implanted outside of the uterus. This serious condition requires immediate medical attention. Call your health care provider right away if you notice slight, irregular vaginal bleeding a week or more after you miss your period. The bleeding is often followed by pain in the lower abdomen, usually on one side. Without treatment, the pain will get worse and may be accompanied by shoulder pain, faintness or dizziness, nausea or vomiting.
Before the 37th week of pregnancy, abdominal cramping can be a sign of preterm labor. Call your health care provider or go to the hospital right away if you have any of the following:
You'll know you're in labor when you feel frequent and regular contractions—the only true sign that labor has begun. Call your health care provider when:
Knowing the signs of pregnancy can help you tell if you’re pregnant. Here are some signs that you might be pregnant:
If you have any of these pregnancy signs and think you may be pregnant, go to your health care provider. The sooner you know you're pregnant, the sooner you can begin prenatal checkups and start taking good care of yourself and your growing baby.
You'll start feeling your baby's kicks at around the 28th week of pregnancy. By this time, your baby's movements are usually well established and some health care providers recommend keeping track of these movements.
Keep counting until you've felt 10 movements from baby. If baby doesn't move 10 times within 1 hour, try again later that day. Call your health provider if your baby's movement seems unusual or you've tried more than once that day and can't feel baby move 10 times or more during 1 hour.
Popcorn popping. A little fish swimming. Bubbles. Butterflies. Tickles. These are common words used by women to describe their baby's first movements. Also known as "quickening," it's a reassuring sign that your baby is OK and growing. This milestone typically starts sometime between 18 to 25 weeks into pregnancy. For first-time moms, it may occur closer to 25 weeks, and for second- or third-time moms, it may happen much sooner.
At first it may be difficult to tell the difference between gas and your baby moving. You might not feel movement as early as you are expecting to feel it, but you'll notice a pattern soon. You'll start to learn when the baby is most active and what seems to get her moving.