Cramps are generally associated with pregnancy. Normally all pregnant women report face cramps at one stage or the other during the tree trimesters of pregnancy. Though a common phenomenon, it is essential that when a pregnant lady gets cramps she should consult a doctor. The cramps could be mild or severe in nature.
These could be an early warning or signal of some problem developing due to pregnancy or these could be a stretching of uterus as a result of growth in size of the foetus. Cramps should be taken seriously if occurring during the first two months and last two months of pregnancy. This condition needs to be immediately discussed with your attending doctor. The attending doctor should also properly educate the lady about actual cramps and pain resembling cramps which is quite common.
Cramps in early pregnancy
- During the early stages of pregnancy i.e. at the stage of implantation which is about 10 days after ovulation, cramps occur. Once the pregnancy has been established after a test, caution should be exercised as these should not occur. Mild cramps may also occur due to stretching and expanding of uterus. The muscles and ligaments that support the uterus which has started to expand could cause mild cramps.
- During early pregnancy if cramps are associated with bleeding or spotting, they could be an indication of a possible miscarriage. In case of ectopic pregnancy which is a serious condition needing immediate medical attention, cramps associated with abdominal pain on one side and spotting could be a warning sign needing medical attention.
- Cramps during the first trimester or so could also be due to constipation which is quite common in pregnant women. Similarly pain because of existence of gas in the intestinal system could also cause cramps.
In late pregnancy
- In late pregnancy, in the second and third trimester, round ligament pain often strikes the pregnant woman. As the child grows the size of uterus continues to increase. This results in stretching of muscles that support the uterus, resulting in mild cramps. In case of premature or preterm labour pain, the woman may suffer from mild or severe cramps. When these are associated with back pain, vomiting and diarrhea it could be sure sign of preterm labour.
- During the second and third trimester of pregnancy irregular and intermittent contractions are noticed in many pregnant women. These are known as Braxton Hicks contractions. These are often associated with cramps. When a lady enters the stage of labour pain, backache and cramps are quite common symptoms. These cramps are not like labour pain and are not regular and continuous but are for a short duration.
- One of the most common causes of cramps during late pregnancy is due to urinary tract infection. It is a common knowledge that due to expansion of the uterus, the space available for the bladder that stores urine decreases. This results in repeated visits for urination. If the vaginal part is not properly cleaned, urinary tract infection occurs resulting in pelvic cramps. This condition needs to be properly and quickly attended to.