By Dr. Deepa Gupta, Gynaecology
Women experiencing abdominal pain during pregnancy are often worried about its causes. Abdominal pain is a part of the pregnancy where several changes occur in your body for the accommodation of the baby growing inside you. Usually, abdominal pain during pregnancy may occur due to harmless causes, but in some cases, the causes may be severe and harmful. Therefore, it is very important for the moms-to-be to know all the possible causes of abdominal pain during pregnancy:
- Round ligament pain - You may experience a sharp pain when you change positions. The pain may be dull and lingering. This type of abdominal pain is caused by the ligaments connecting your uterus to your groin. The growing of uterus stretches the ligaments thereby causing pain.
- Gas and constipation - In pregnant women, gas and constipation is caused due to the rise in progesterone levels. The increased production of progesterone slows down the gastrointestinal tract, slowing down the speed at which the food travels.
- Braxton hicks contraction - Practice contraction or Braxton hicks may cause abdominal pain in pregnant women. The stomach muscles feel tightened, and the stomach feels hard and firm. Dehydration might lead to Braxton hicks.
- General discomfort - Several common abdominal discomforts are experienced by a pregnant woman because of the growing uterus, food sensitivity, stomach viruses, etc.
- Serious causes - Sometimes, abdominal pain during pregnancy may be very serious and pose a severe risk. These include the following:
- Ectopic pregnancy - Serious abdominal pain may indicate ectopic pregnancy. This is a condition where the egg does not get implanted in the uterus. Medical treatment is required.
- Placental abruption - Placental abruption can be another reason behind severe abdominal pain. This is a condition in which the placenta separates from the uterus before the birth of the baby. There is a constant pain, and the stomach feels hard.
- Miscarriage - Severe abdominal pain, back pain and vaginal cramps indicate a miscarriage. It is a form of pregnancy loss, also known as spontaneous abortion.
- Urinary tract infection - Urinary tract infection may be another reason behind lower abdominal pain. This infection can cause severe complications if not treated quickly. A burning sensation during urination is also experienced.
- Preeclampsia - A condition known as preeclampsia may cause upper abdominal pain, especially under the ribs on the right side. This condition is characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. The abdomen receives pressure.
Several other causes may also lead to abdominal pain during pregnancy in women. These include food poisoning, appendicitis, hepatitis, fibroids, bowel obstruction and kidney stones. You should consult a doctor to know about the exact cause of abdominal pain during pregnancy.