Reasons behind stomach cramps after eating when pregnant

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Sep 15, 2012

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Quick Bites

  • Stomach cramping is a common condition among pregnant women.
  • It is because your uterus expands continuously and ligaments stretch.
  • Cramping can be a warning of serious underlying condition.
  • Report severe and persistent abdominal pain after eating.

Stomach cramping is a common condition among pregnant women because your uterus expands continuously and ligaments stretch until delivery. However, you should not avoid them as cramping can be a warning of serious underlying condition.


stomach cramps pregnancy


Stomach cramps may also be induced by morning sickness experienced during pregnancy and even your meals. Here are the most prominent reasons for abdominal pain after eating meals during pregnancy.



Slow digestive process

Digestion of the food and excretion of waste from the body takes around 6 to 24 hours. However, this process slows down significantly during pregnancy as the body tries to extract all nutrients from the food to efficiently nurture the growing foetus. Moreover, increased level of progesterone hormone makes it difficult for the food to pass through the gastrointestinal tract. As a result of slow digestion, there could be stomach cramps.




Abdominal gas is another consequence of slow digestion. Gas can be prevented by consuming lighter foods (such as fibre foods) instead of heavy foods, such as fried foods and a few varieties of grains. Drinking lime soda is one effective remedy to ease stomach cramps. Furthermore, small but frequent meals can also aid in prevention of gas.



Decrease in abdominal size

Stomach cramps after meals when pregnant can be due to decreased space available in your stomach, especially in the second and third trimester of pregnancy. As the foetus develops, there is less space for your food to travel through the abdominal cavity, resulting in upset stomach and stomach cramps.



Lactose or fructose intolerance

If you are fructose intolerant, intake of even a small quantity of fruit, sugar or honey in your meal can cause stomach cramps. If you are lactose intolerant, dairy products, such as yoghurt or milk may be potential reasons behind stomach cramps. 



When to seek medical advice

If the stomach cramps are accompanied by severe headache or swelling of the hands and legs, consult your gynaecologist. Do not avoid the following.


  • Severe and persistent abdominal pain after eating.
  • Stomach cramps accompanied by painful urination or blood in the urine.



Image: Getty

Read more articles on Pregnancy.



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