Cramping During 1st Week of Pregnancy

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule Mar 2, 2019
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Cramping during the first 2 weeks of pregnancy is pretty common. Often, it is among the first few signs of pregnancy. Read on to know more about this early pregnancy condition.
Pregnancy is characterized by a sea change in a woman's body. These changes start pretty small, but bring about drastic effects on a woman's physical and emotional well-being.
The changes start as early as the 1st week after conception. Many women are not even aware that they are pregnant at this time. Cramping during 1st week of pregnancy is one such symptom, which alarms some women, while goes unnoticed in others. If you are 1 week pregnant and experiencing cramps, be assured that there is nothing wrong with it.

What Happens in the 1st Week of Pregnancy

Conception is said to have occurred when the fertilized egg gets implanted in the uterine lining. This typically happens 6 to 9 days after ovulation. If you are regular with your periods, then this is sometime around the third week of your cycle or a week before your impending period.
The process of implantation is characterized by mild cramping and light spotting. Bleeding during 1st week of pregnancy is so light that it often goes unnoticed. The implanted embryo begins its development in the uterine lining. This indicates an onset of pregnancy. The signs of pregnancy after a week of conception greatly resemble premenstrual symptoms.

Is Cramping During Early Pregnancy Normal

Yes, it is perfectly normal and a common symptom of pregnancy too. Most of the pregnant women suffer from cramps at some point of time during their pregnancy. There are several causes of this condition. First is implantation, which is already explained earlier. After conception occurs, the body produces various pregnancy hormones.
Some of these hormones signal the uterus to expand to accommodate the growing fetus. This increases pressure on the adjoining organs, leading to cramps. Uterus is supported by circular ligaments. When it expands, the ligaments also expand, leading to cramps-like feeling. Cramping is more evident when your bladder is full or you have had a sexual activity.
Another reason is slowing down of digestive function. A pregnancy hormone called progesterone interferes with the digestive system and slows down its function to ensure that the nutrients get properly absorbed for nourishment of the fetus. As the food passes slowly through digestive system, you may experience bloating and cramps due to gas accumulation.
During the later stages of pregnancy, cramping is due to increased size of the fetus. The baby starts making room for itself inside the uterus, thereby causing other organs to squeeze. This causes sensation of cramps and pain. During the final days of pregnancy, cramping is mostly due to Braxton Hicks contractions.

When to Call a Doctor

As mentioned earlier, cramping at any stage of pregnancy is perfectly normal. However, there are some tell-tale signs of danger, which you must never overlook. Normal cramping is often mild in nature and goes off after some time. Even if it is painful, it is pretty much similar to menstrual cramps, especially during early weeks of pregnancy.
But, if you experience sharp pain in the abdomen at any point of time, see a doctor. Heavy bleeding following a bout of cramping is a sure sign of something amiss with your pregnancy. Often, it signals miscarriage. If sharp pain occurs in a particular area of the abdomen, this could also mean ectopic pregnancy which demands immediate medical intervention.
Generally, one must not get alarmed by cramping in the first week of pregnancy. However, any incidence of heavy bleeding that follows with abdominal cramps must be dealt with due care.
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