Those nine months of pregnancy is a time of change in your life. Not only are you nurturing a little one within you, your body too is going through some major changes.
As the months start to pass, you may notice the constant presence of a nagging pain. In fact, as your body starts stretching and growing, you may feel the pain in different parts of your body. If you are worried about the pains, rest assured these are pregnancy cramps that are a natural process of your pregnancy.
What Are Cramps In Pregnancy?
Cramp is an involuntary temporary strong muscle contraction that causes severe pain. These may last for a few seconds to minutes. Are cramps normal during pregnancy? Yes, getting cramps is a normal part of pregnancy. However, getting severe cramps could be a cause of some concern. In case the problem persists and you continue to be in pain, urgent medical assistance is advised.
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Causes Of Cramps:
Cramps can be caused due to a host of things during pregnancy. Here are some of the most common reasons:
- Dehydration in your body
- Weight gain
- Hormonal changes
- Urinary tract infection
- Round ligament pain
- Heart burn or indigestion
- Gall bladder stones
- Sexual intercourse
- Low potassium, magnesium and sodium
- Muscle fatigue
Most cramps will go away without any help, and sometimes, using a mild muscle relaxing spray can also do the trick (we strongly advise you check this with your doctor first though.)
Types Of Cramps During Pregnancy:
Pregnancy cramps may set in as early as the second month and will most likely be there till labor kicks in. Here are some cramps you may face through the trimesters:
- Cramps during pregnancy first trimester usually occur due to the changes in your uterus that lead to your baby’s development.
- During the second trimester, the uterus expands to its largest extent possible. This leads to more frequent abdominal cramps. Abdominal cramps may also happen as a sign of labor, especially in the third trimester.
- In your third trimester, leg cramps occur very often because of the extra weight that your body has gained by now. Your calf muscles are not used to handling so much weight. This is why the muscles contract, leading to painful cramps.
- The main thing to remember is that though cramps are a natural part of pregnancy, you should seek immediate medical assistance the moment you start feeling uncomfortable.
Here are the three main types of pains you may face during pregnancy:
1. Abdominal Pain:
If you experience abdominal pain, don’t panic right away. It is just a general reminder for you to watch what you eat. The pain might be mild or sharp and begins from the first trimester till the time of your labor.
- Abdominal pain can happen when there is a risk of premature birth. The pain increases suddenly and there are contractions, followed by back pain.
- Sometimes, back pain may bring symptoms like overall swelling on your face, puffiness in the eyes and edema caused due to preeclampsia (a disorder of changing blood vessels).
- Having existing gallstones (also called cholelithiasis; stones in gallbladder) during pregnancy can also give rise to abdominal pain.
- Abdominal pain can also get aggravated by eating foods that cause gas and a bloated feeling.
- However, severe abdominal pain may happen when there is a chance of miscarriage. This is symbolized by light or heavy bleeding.
2. Back Pain:
It’s good news if you experience back pain, because it means that your baby is growing! But this might give you bouts of pain as well. The symptoms of back pain are usually experienced in the second half of pregnancy. There are two common types of back pain that occur during pregnancy:
a. Lower Back Pain:
- This pain usually occurs above the waistline exactly at the centre of your back.
- It increases with prolonged postures like standing, sitting, etc.
b. Posterior or Pelvic Pain:
- This pain is four times more prevalent than lower back pain and is felt below the waistline.
- It may be experienced on both the sides of the waistline.
- This pain can extend down into the hips and at the back of the thighs.
- It is more likely to happen because of hormonal changes, muscle separation, weight gain and posture changes.
3. Leg Pain:
Leg pain, especially felt at night, starts to scourge you during your second trimester and gets worse as your pregnancy progresses.
- You may encounter leg pain because of your leg muscles that carry around all your extra weight.
- It may also happen due to compression of blood vessels in the legs, hormonal changes or lack of calcium and magnesium.
- Leg pain can interfere during night when you are planning for a good sleep. Hence, it is advisable to take a warm bath before you hit the bed to relax your muscles.
[ Read: Leg Pain During Pregnancy ]