Pregnant Women and their Abdominal Pain

Occasional and mild abdominal pain is common during pregnancy but if the pain becomes severe and constant then talk to your doctor immediately.

Written by: Bushra Kafeel Updated at: 2013-12-30 00:00

During pregnancy a pregnant woman may face abdominal discomfort; it is a common happening and is considered to be quite harmless. It can however be a sign of a serious problem if the pain is persistent and prolonged.


During pregnancy your organs are constantly shifting, and the uterus is expanding and the ligaments are stretching, therefore, abdominal pain can only be expected. During your three stages of pregnancy, namely the first, the second and the third trimester this abdominal pain tends to change. You can say that the pain changes in accordance to the stage of pregnancy.


  • First Trimester: Uterine cramping, pelvic pressure, and generalized mild abdominal discomfort are common in early pregnancy. The cramps mainly arise due to two factors - increased level of hormone progesterone and uterus reaction to pregnancy.
  • Second Trimester: There is less frequent pain in the second trimester of pregnancy. Abdominal pain in second trimester is mainly due to nonspecific reason that may be due to gassiness and bloating. At this stage you may also experience round ligament pain.
  • Third Trimester: As women progress to the third trimester the uterine activities increase leading to Braxton-Hicks contractions. Such contractions are usually not painful, if you experience abdominal pain in third trimester then consult your doctor.


As mentioned before sometimes abdominal pain can be sign of serious trouble. The trick is to know whether the pain is indication of serious trouble or not. Here are some of the warning signs that women must be consciously monitored.

  • During first trimester if the abdominal pain is accompanied by vaginal bleeding, fever (more than 100.4°F) and burning sensation when you pass urine.
  • Other possible reason of abdominal pain during first trimester of pregnancy can be history of ectopic pregnancy or presence of IUD.
  • If abdominal pain during the second trimester is accompanied by spotting and bleeding then there is a reason to worry.
  • Besides this, increased vaginal discharge, vaginal pressure and abdominal pain are also serious combination. 


Serious problems that can cause severe stomacache during pregnancy

  • Ectopic pregnancy: Abdominal pain can occur as an indicative sign of ectopic pregnancy (when egg implants itself outside the uterus).
  • Miscarriage: Abdominal pain can also occur as an early sign of miscarriage. When pain is accompanied by vaginal spotting and bleeding.

  • Preterm labour: Preterm labour occurs if you start to have contractions that efface or dilate cervix before 37th week of pregnancy. If abdominal pain in the second or third trimester occurs with increased vaginal discharge, bleeding, pressure on pelvic area and more than four contractions in one hour then they are indications of preterm labour.
  • Placental abruption: It is a life threatening condition wherein, placenta partially or completely separates from the uterus. Besides abdominal pain, some other indication of placental abruption includes-internal bleeding , frequent contraction, uterine tenderness, back pain and bloody fluid when water breaks.
  • Abdominal pain during pregnancy can also be due to preeclampsia and urinary tract infections.

You are strongly recommended to consult a doctor when you see that the pain is not taking a break.

Read more articles on Problems during Pregnancy



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