Reasons Why Abdominal Pain in Pregnancy Should Not be Ignored

Patient

Q: Hi Im 21 weeks pregnant and have had pain for the last 12 hours... If I lay down or stay still the pain is like 1 or 2 out of 10. if I get up and move around it can be as bas as 7 out of 10. its not in the one area, although mainly pain at the top of my stomach when I move, but to touch the lower of my stomach is more painful??? Just not sure if I should go to the hospital, I am covered but dont want to take up doctors time if its nothing... Kind Regards Angela

Doctor

A:   In my opinion, it is still best to have yourself checked by a doctor. Any abdominal pain in pregnant women is never ignored; my considerations are bladder infection, concealed bleeding, and appendicitis. Bladder infection in pregnant women is relatively common, as compared to non-pregnant women. One may have pain in the lower abdomen, others may have no symptoms. This should not be taken lightly because these infections can cause premature labor and some babies don’t survive it. Appendicitis is also the most common surgical complication in women. In men and non-pregnant individuals, the pain is usually in the right lower part of the abdomen. In pregnancy, since the uterus is enlarged and displaces the bowels together with the appendix upwards, the pain may be more prominent in the upper abdomen. Obviously, if untreated, this may have serious complications (rupture) therefore early detection in pregnancy is a must. Bleeding in pregnancy does not always result to vaginal bleeding. In some cases, the bleeding will be internal and gets concealed that is why it is hard to detect it clinically; ultrasound is more sensitive to detect this. It is best to have yourself checked promptly so interventions can be started. If the pain you are having is due to uterine contractions, you still need to be seen by a doctor to stop the contractions. if left untreated, you may go into preterm labor and subsequent delivery. It is always better to be safe than sorry. I hope this helps.

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