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Stomach Pain During Pregnancy

Hormonal changes, growing uterus, bacterial, and viral infections are some of the conditions which very often lead to stomach pain during pregnancy. This article provides some information on the same.
Kalpana Kumari
Stomach pain during pregnancy is not unusual or uncommon. Here are some of the major reasons behind pain in the stomach during maternity.
Ectopic Pregnancy: This occurs when the fertilized ovum gets implanted somewhere outside the uterus. It mostly occurs in any of the fallopian tubes. The pain is felt within 6-7 weeks of fertilization. Timely treatment is a must; otherwise, the fertilized ovum can rupture and it will lead to other complications. This causes abdominal pain in early pregnancy.
Early Pregnancy Loss: Loss of pregnancy within 20 weeks is called miscarriage. The symptoms are vaginal bleeding or spotting during early pregnancy, followed by stomach pain. The bleeding can be either heavy or light. The intensity of pain is also variable and may be either mild or sharp, short or long-lasting.
Braxton-Hicks Contraction: One of the major causes of lower abdominal pain during pregnancy is Braxton-Hicks contraction. It starts mostly in the third trimester, when the expectant woman has started feeling tightening of the uterus. Such contractions are generally irregular, infrequent, and painless. It might be accompanied with lower back pain.
Premature Labor: The labor is said to be premature or preterm, if it starts before 37 weeks of pregnancy. In case of preterm labor, one would feel a burning pain in the stomach during pregnancy. Other symptoms will include increase in vaginal discharge, vaginal spotting or bleeding, five or more contractions in one hour, and low back pain. One can notice a change in vaginal discharge as well. The discharge becomes watery and mucus-like.
Placenta Abruption: Placenta abruption is a rare, but serious condition. Before the baby is born, the placenta separates from the uterus. The symptoms are sudden and include profuse bleeding, uterine tenderness and cramps, back pain, and frequent contractions. One would also notice a decrease in the activity of their baby.
Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia, a disorder during maternity, brings certain changes in the blood vessels of various organs such as liver, brain, kidneys, and placenta. The characteristic symptoms are swollen eyes, hands, feet, and ankles. This is mainly due to water retention in the body. As the preeclampsia progresses, the symptoms include upper and lower stomach pain, severe headache, nausea and vomiting, and visual disturbances.
Constipation: Mild pain can be due to constipation. Hormonal changes slows the movement of food through the digestive tract. The increasing size of the uterus applies pressure on the rectum, which further slows down the movement of feces through it.
Bladder Infection: During maternity, one is more susceptible to urinary tract infections. Various indications that point towards a bladder infection are cloudy and foul-smelling urine with blood in it, frequent but strong urge to urinate, and mild stomach pain. The infection can spread to the kidneys as well. The symptoms are high fever accompanied with shaking, chills, and sweats, presence of blood or pus in one's blood, nausea, vomiting, and severe or mild stomach pain.
Round Ligament Pain: When a pregnant woman goes through different stages of pregnancy development, the ligament which provides support to the uterus in the pelvis stretches and thickens, in order to accommodate the increasing size of the uterus. It produces lower stomach pain that can be brief, sharp, jabbing, or long-lasting. The pain increases on getting up from the bed or chair, coughing, and rolling over on bed. It mostly occurs in the second trimester.
Besides these, there can be some other causes as well. The most important among them are viral infections in the stomach, presence of stones in the kidneys or gallbladder, appendicitis, inflammation of the pancreas, and bowel blockages. Gallstones are quite common during pregnancy and can result in gallbladder disease and pancreatitis. The growing uterus applies pressure on the diseased intestinal tissues, which further complicates the condition.
Though, stomach pain during pregnancy is inevitable, harmless and common, one should always consult a gynecologist to rule out the possibility of any complication associated with it.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.