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During the first trimester, cramping during pregnancy frequently results from physiological changes that occur during your baby’s development. Cramps can generally be described as pulling sensations on one or both sides of your abdomen. Although not considered a symptom for detection of early pregnancy, it is a symptom that accompanies many pregnancies. Cramping typically occurs when the uterus expands, causing the ligaments and muscles which support it to stretch. It may be more noticeable when you sneeze, cough, or change positions. Some women get cramps with a little bleeding when the embryo implants itself into the wall of the womb. This happens at roughly the same time your period would normally start. You may also feel some cramping as your womb starts to change shape and grow ready to accommodate your baby. Some women experience cramps when they have an orgasm during sex – this can be a little scary, but there’s no reason to stop having sex unless your doctor tells you to.
For most cases, cramping will be a normal part of pregnancy. However, there are some instances when cramping can be a concern.
-Ectopic pregnancy – this type of pregnancy happens when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies can cause painful cramping and is a serious medical condition which must be treated by your doctor.
-Urinary tract infections – lower abdominal pain, along with painful urination may be a symptom of a urinary tract infection.
-Miscarriage – vaginal spotting accompanied by mild or sharp cramping can be a sign of a miscarriage (although some pregnancies which have spotting and cramping can also result in healthy pregnancies). If you have severe cramping and or heavy bleeding, you should contact your doctor immediately.
If you are still concerned or the cramps just do not go away, please consult your doctor.
These Q&A’s are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.