Cramping During Early Pregnancy

Cramping During Early Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Cramping during early pregnancy can increase anxiety and make you scared. Pregnancy is the most wonderful time in the lives of women. The feeling of growing a new life inside their body gives women confidence and happiness. But, it also comes with a fair share of discomforts and emotional issues. The changes in the body due to the growing child can make you feel tired and anxious. Pain is one of the main issues that pregnant women may suffer. Every pregnancy is different. But, some symptoms are common for each trimester. Pain or cramping can occur in the first or second trimester. Depending on the signs accompanying it, you need to take necessary action. It may vary from simple reasons that need medical help to a severe issue that needs your doctor’s assistance. Read ahead to know the reasons you may suffer cramping in the early stages of your pregnancy. With proper action, you can prevent serious complications.

What Do You Mean By Cramping During Early Pregnancy?

Pain or discomfort you experience in your lower abdomen is referred to as cramping. Experiencing cramping when you have just discovered your pregnancy can scare you. The negative thoughts of any harm to your baby can make you feel anxious. It also puts doubts in your mind regarding the severity of the issue. In many women, the cramps are normal. It is the way your body adjusts to the physical changes to accommodate the growing child. In some women, cramps with less spotting indicate the embryo attaching itself to the uterine wall. But, some women may experience cramping when they suffer miscarriage or have an ectopic pregnancy. Therefore, it is essential to seek the advice of the gynecologist to detect the actual problem. A thorough medical analysis can help diagnose the actual problem. So, it helps your doctor find a solution to keep you and your baby healthy.

Symptoms Of Cramping During Early Pregnancy

When you experience lower abdominal cramps, it may indicate non-serious issues like your uterus expanding. The development of the embryo can cause the muscles and ligaments in the uterine region to stretch. You need to understand that the uterus responds to the stretching with cramps. The uterus is a muscle that contracts. So, cramping due to the expansion is of less concern. But, when you observe other signs, you need to maintain caution. So, how do you know that you have cramps? The signs that indicate the issue are:

  • Pulling sensation you observe in one or both the sides of your abdomen
  • Sharp, dull or stabbing pain in the lower abdomen
  • Annoying pain that feels like period cramps
  • Heavy feeling in the pelvic region
  • Severe discomfort in one or both sides of the abdomen

Causes Of Cramping During Early Pregnancy

The abdominal pain or cramping is the common sign among the expectant mothers. But, you need to understand when it may pose a risk to you or your baby. The normal cramping during early pregnancy can fade away without any specific care. But, some causes of the cramps indicates something serious that needs immediate treatment. Failure to get proper medical attention may risk the life of you and your baby.

Non-Threatening Factors

The following causes can indicate the different non-threatening reasons for experience pain in your lower abdomen:

Implantation Cramping

Implantation Cramping

It is the most common cause of early pregnancy cramps. The embryo travels to the uterus and attaches itself to the walls. So, the implantation can cause cramps along with light spotting. The implantation cramping occurs during the first three weeks of your conception. So, it happens at the same time you expect your period. In most cases, women never know they are pregnant and consider the discomfort as PMS (premenstrual syndrome).

Enlarging Uterus

Enlarging Uterus

The cramping during early pregnancy can also occur due to your enlarging uterus. As your pregnancy proceeds, your body adjusts to the need of the baby’s development. Your uterus is a muscle that can stretch itself. So, muscle contraction occurs along with cramps or abdominal pain. You can also experience light bleeding with it. The color of the blood may vary from brown, pink to bright red. It is a common occurrence that needs no particular treatment. It may occur only a few numbers of times. Therefore, you never have to worry about the problem affecting your pregnancy.

Hormonal Changes

During the first trimester, the veins supplying blood to your uterus becomes enlarged. It is to support the pregnancy. Therefore, you can feel heaviness in your abdomen. Your body also produces hormones necessary to maintain the pregnancy. Progesterone is one such hormone produced during pregnancy to support a pregnancy. But, the increase in progesterone levels can loosen your ligaments. So, the loosening of the ligaments along with the stretching of the abdomen can cause cramping.

Gas And Bloating

The increased progesterone levels can trigger excess gas in your body. So, the elevated levels of the hormone can slow down your gastrointestinal tract. It results in the slow traveling of the food. Therefore, you can experience gas and bloat due to the issue. It can cause cramping during early pregnancy.


The excess levels of progesterone in your body can relax the muscles. The intestines also tend to work slower. It can lead to slow digestion. Therefore, you can face constipation due to the excess hormone. It can trigger pain in the abdomen region.

Sexual Intercourse

In some women, sexual intercourse during pregnancy can cause cramping. The changes in your vaginal region due to the pregnancy can cause discomfort. In some women, sex becomes unpleasant and cause pain in the lower abdomen. In such cases, you need to talk to your doctor about continuing sex during pregnancy.

Stretching Ligaments

Some pregnant ladies experience pain in the groin region. It mostly occurs on one or both sides of the groin region. It occurs due to the stretching the ligaments of your uterus. The ligaments support your womb, so you can expect pain while standing, twisting the body or stretching. It mostly occurs at the end of the first trimester.

Common Discomforts

Several other common problems can lead to cramping during early pregnancy. The non-threatening problem trigger discomfort. But, it does not cause any harm to you or your baby. So, the following issues can trigger pain in the lower abdomen region like:

Talk to your doctor about the pain experienced. It will detect the severity of the issue and associated remedies.

Serious/Threatening Factors

The cramping during early pregnancy is a common occurrence. But, in some cases, some serious issues can trigger the pain. Therefore, you need to monitor the signs and get appropriate medical help. Failure to get medical assistance at the right time can lead to complications. The following serious problems can cause cramping:

Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic Pregnancy

It is a rare but serious condition that when the fertilized egg implants in your fallopian tubes. The pregnancy continues to grow outside the uterus leading to the breaking of the tubes. Also known as tubal pregnancy, it can result in internal bleeding, infection or even death. Ectopic pregnancy can cause cramping. Contact your doctor immediately as the stretching of the tubes can result in fatal complications.



Miscarriage is the loss of a fetus during the first trimester. It can occur due to several reasons. But, the loss of the child can cause emotional problems. When you observe vaginal spotting accompanied by mild cramping during early pregnancy, it means you need to seek prompt medical treatment. Sometimes, medical intervention at the right time can save the baby. With proper care, you can continue to have a healthy pregnancy.

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infections

The bladder infection due to bacteria can trouble pregnant ladies from their 6th week of pregnancy till the 24th week. The changes caused due to the pregnancy can affect your urinary tract. Your uterus sits directly on top of your urinary bladder. So, with the child growing in your womb, it can increase the weight on your bladder. So, it can block the urine in your bladder leading to infection. The UTI is one of the major causes of cramping during early pregnancy. The infection can spread to your kidneys trigger early labor. It can also cause low birth weight in babies. So, if you experience painful urination or lower abdominal pain, then see your gynecologist. Treating with antibiotics at the precise time can avoid any complication.

Serious Signs Of Cramping During Early Pregnancy

When do you know you have serious issues with your pregnancy that needs immediate medical attention? The cramping during early pregnancy can occur with some severe problem as mentioned above. So, you need to monitor for other signs. It indicates something serious to the health of your baby or your own. Conditions like ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, placental abruption, etc. need prompt medical care. Failure to get proper treatment can put your baby’s or your life in danger. So, if you suffer from the following issues, then see your gynecologist immediately:

  • Bleeding with bright red or brown blood with/without cramps
  • Weight loss
  • Clots of tissue passing through your vagina
  • Severe pain in the side of your abdomen
  • White-pink mucus discharge
  • Back pain (mild to severe) that feels worse than menstrual cramps
  • A very painful contraction in every five to twenty minutes

If you experience one or more symptoms along with the cramping during early pregnancy, then seek medical help. The prompt medical attention can help you save your baby or even your own life.

Diagnosis Of Cramping During Early Pregnancy

If you feel anxious about your cramping during early pregnancy, see your doctor. Your gynecologist can perform some tests to determine the exact problem. The series of tests can help your doctor detect the serious problem troubling your pregnancy. Depending on the diagnosis, you need proper medical care to ensure you continue your pregnancy without any problem. Therefore, the following tests can help detect the issue leading to cramping in the early stages of your pregnancy:

Quantitative HCG Blood Test

HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin. It is the hormone produced in the body during pregnancy. The high levels of HCG occur only when the fertilized egg implants in your uterus. So, one week after the ovulation, when you conceive, the HCG levels increase. During the early stages of pregnancy, it doubles every two to three days. The appropriate increase of the HCG levels indicates your pregnancy is proceeding without any problem. But, the improper levels can indicate issues. In the case of ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage, the HCG levels can fall. So, your doctor can suggest HCG blood test see if the cramping you experience points to the serious issue. To make the right diagnosis, your doctor can take the two HCG levels at least two days apart for conclusive results.

Ultrasound Scans

Ultrasound Scans

The ultrasound scans can provide comprehensive information on the status of your fetus. The scan uses sound waves to get a detailed image of the gestational sac and the fetus. In the early stages of pregnancy, the transvaginal scan can detect the small fetus with precision. Your doctor uses an abdominal ultrasound only after eight weeks of pregnancy. The transvaginal ultrasound is inserted through your vagina. While the abdominal ultrasound detects the growth by scanning over your stomach and pelvic region. The scan can detect different issues, including ectopic pregnancy and abnormal fetus. So, your doctor can take necessary action to prevent complications.

Pelvic Examination

The doctor can perform a pelvic examination to check for other complications. It includes detection of cervix dilation. When pregnant women miscarry, they have dilated cervix. So, your doctor can check any signs of miscarriage with the examination. The cramping during early pregnancy with light bleeding and not cervix dilation indicates a threatened miscarriage. It indicates you need medical treatment for a healthy delivery. Taking the right action for the threatened miscarriage can make the pregnancy viable.

Urine Analysis

Your doctor suggests a urine analysis in the lab to detect the presence of UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). The urine sample is detected for the presence of red blood cells, white blood cells, or the presence of bacteria. At times, your urine culture is performed to detect the exact type of bacteria triggering the infection.

Treatment For Serious Cramping During Early Pregnancy

Treating Cramping During Early PregnancyThe serious issues that cause cramping during early pregnancy need immediate medical attention. The prompt treatment can help you avoid complications to your child or your health. Therefore, your doctor can adopt the following treatment option based on the cause to alleviate the problem.

Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy can cause serious damage to your health. Therefore, your doctor can eliminate pregnancy to avoid tubal rupture.


If you suffer from incomplete, complete or missed miscarriage, then your doctor takes steps to ensure your womb is cleared. The missed miscarriage or incomplete miscarriage required D&C to remove the contents of your womb. If your doctor detects threatened miscarriage, then your doctor takes adequate steps to sustain the pregnancy.

Urinary Infection

Your doctor can treat the UTI with antibiotics to prevent complications. Your doctor makes sure to provide medicine that causes no harm to your baby.

Treating Cramping During Early Pregnancy At Home

The first trimester is a nerve-wracking period in your pregnancy journey. The risk of miscarriage is high during the first trimester. Therefore, the cramping during early pregnancy can cause severe anxiety in you. You may think about the negative effects and feel frustrated. But, in most cases, the cramps signify the emotional, physical, and behavioral change you go through. Therefore, you can consult your doctor for professional advice. If your doctor no serious issues, then you can adopt some steps at home. It will relieve the cramps and the pain associated with it. Always talk to your doctor before implementing any changes during your pregnancy. Therefore, you can use home remedies to treat simple issues like gas, constipation, ligament stretching, etc. The following steps can help you to take care of your health with ease:

Change Positions

Never put pressure on the source of your pain. Therefore, change your positions to overcome the cramps. You can sit or lie down to get relief.

Warm Bath

At times, soaking yourself in a warm bath can provide you relief from the discomforts of the cramps. You can also use a warm compress to alleviate the pain and discomfort. Use a hot bottle wrapped in a towel on the source of your ache to get relief.

Relaxation Exercises

You can include some relaxation exercises to stretch and soothe the cramped muscles in your abdomen. Prenatal yoga or stretching can alleviate the cramps and prevent pain due to ligament stretching.

Drink Plenty Of Fluids

Ensure you drink enough water or fluids. It prevents infection, gas, and constipation. So, pregnant women must try to drink 8-12 cups of water every day.


When you get pregnant, you not only face changes in your body, but also an upheaval of your emotional state. You can become more emotional and anxious due to the tiny life growing inside you. So, the cramping during early pregnancy can make you scared and frustrated. Your instincts may tell you to protect your baby from any problems. Therefore, to ensure your baby remains healthy and safe, you need to consult your doctor. Most of the times, the cramps indicate your body is accommodating the growth of a new life. But, in some cases, it indicates some problem. Therefore, talk to your doctor to reassure the healthy progression of your pregnancy. The right medical solution at the precise time can save your baby and keep you safe too. Eliminate the stress by consulting your doctor with the queries and concerns regarding your pregnancy.

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