Stomach cramps in early pregnancy

We explain why it's common to feel tummy pains in the first trimester


What causes cramps?


Abdominal pains in the first trimester are extremely common and often the result of your ligaments stretching to accommodate your growing uterus. But there are plenty of other reasons why you could be experiencing a tummy niggle in the early stages. 

Wind, constipation and the added pressure that having a baby puts on your muscles, veins and joints, can also leave you with that uncomfortable feeling.

How do I cope with it?

A hot water bottle or a warm bath should help to soothe the pain. You’ll also find that your cramps are stronger on your right hand side – as your baby gets bigger, your womb has a tendency to tilt to the right.

When experiencing these tummy twinges, lying down on the opposite side to where you’re feeling the pain will ease the symptoms. Increasing your fluid intake and eating little and often to minimise ingestion can also make a significant difference.

When should I be concerned?

Although most cramps are nothing to worry about, there are times when they can signal something more serious. If you’re feeling unwell and experiencing pain in your abdomen, you may have an illness unrelated to pregnancy, such as kidney stones, appendicitis or a urinary tract infection.

But if you’re bleeding and the cramps are sharp, it might be the first sign of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, where a fertilised egg implants outside the uterus. If you’re worried about pains, get checked by your GP or midwife as soon as possible.

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