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Stomach pain or Cramps in Pregnancy

July 1, 2024

Every menstruating woman experiences stomach pain and cramps from time to time, especially during her period. What about stomach pain or cramps in pregnancy? Is it normal, or should one be worried? Read on to find out!

Book an online appointment with Dr. Poornima M. Gowda for Pregnancy & Gynecology related issues.

Stomach Pain During Pregnancy

First, let's understand the relationship between stomach pains and pregnancy.

Many women experience stomach pain, cramps and discomforts in the initial few weeks of pregnancy. They can be very similar to period cramps, and some women can even experience spotting. This is very common during implantation.

As the fertilised egg implants in the uterus, just around the time menstruation should start, stomach pain, cramps, and spotting can occur. This is nothing to worry about, and it will settle down in a few days. Changes in hormonal balance can also cause such reactions in the body.

Sometimes, cramps and stomach pain during pregnancy can be an indication of something serious. If any pain or discomfort persists during pregnancy, it is advisable to consult a gynaecologist immediately to rule out any complications.

Reasons for Stomach Pain During Pregnancy

Here are 10 of the most common reasons for stomach pain or cramps in pregnancy. Some are nothing to worry about, and some require immediate medical attention.

1. Digestive Issues

Digestive problems are very common during pregnancy. For expecting mothers suffering from constipation or bloating, stomach pain during the third trimester is very common. Start noticing the pattern to understand when your stomach aches, like the food you eat that leads to stomach aches, how long the pain lasts, etc. Understanding the trigger can help avoid or reduce the consumption of such foods.

2. Muscle Strain

Pregnancy hormones cause the muscles to lax, and the strain on the muscles increases as the pregnancy progresses. The increase in the baby's weight and decrease in muscle strength can strain the muscles around the stomach and back, resulting in aches. Wearing a supporting belt can help relieve such pains.

3. Braxton Hicks Contractions

Also known as false labour, Braxton Hicks contractions are a common cause of stomach pain during the third trimester. These contractions can be intense, frequent and very uncomfortable. Changing your position can help relieve the muscle strain and stop or ease the contractions.

4. Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is a rare complication in pregnancy where the fertilised egg attaches outside the uterine wall instead of inside the uterus. This is a dangerous situation, and the pregnancy has to be terminated. If the implantation has occurred in the fallopian tube, the expanding egg can cause the tube to burst, which can become life-threatening.

5. Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is high blood pressure during pregnancy. Very high blood pressure can damage the mother's kidneys or liver. This is a serious complication in pregnancy and requires immediate medical attention. Doctors will try to control the blood pressure using medications. In case of emergency, they may choose to deliver the baby early.

6. Premature Labour

A fetus is fully mature once it is 37 weeks old. Regular contractions that may feel more intense every time before you enter your 38th week could indicate the baby is arriving early – preterm labour. Many hospitals will want to keep both mother and baby under observation until the baby is healthy enough to leave.

7. Miscarriage

Severe abdominal cramps or stomach pain in the lower or right side of your stomach can indicate a miscarriage. Miscarriages are common during the first trimester. One cannot anticipate or prevent a miscarriage. In case of high-risk pregnancies, doctors will set certain limitations and restrictions to reduce the chances of a miscarriage.

8. Urinary Tract Infection

UTIs are pretty common in pregnancy. They are easy to treat and will generally not cause any complications. Identifying the infection and treating it in time is essential. Stomach pain is usually accompanied by irritation or pain during urination.

9. Placental Abruption

Placental abruption occurs when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall—partially or fully. It usually detaches when it is time for delivery. However, if it detaches before the baby is fully developed, it can lead to serious consequences.

10. Labour

Stomach cramps can indicate labour after 37 weeks of pregnancy. Paying attention to the cramps, their intensity, and frequency can help determine whether they are just cramps or contractions. If the cramps get stronger and more frequent, they can indicate the onset of labour. It is advisable to get to the hospital as soon as possible.

Also Read: Navigating the Journey: Travel During Pregnancy-Essential Points to Consider

Stomach Pain During Pregnancy – When to Worry?

Sometimes, stomach pain in pregnancy can indicate a serious issue. Experiencing any of the following, along with stomach pain during pregnancy, requires immediate medical attention.

  • Severe headaches
  • Problems with vision
  • Feet, hands and face seem swollen
  • Pain does not come and go; it is constant and may even get worse
  • Pain when urinating
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Discoloured or smelly vaginal discharge
  • Cloudy or smelly urine
  • Fever
  • Blood in stools
  • Decrease in baby's movements
  • Leaking vaginal fluid
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Sitting or lying down in certain positions intensifies the pain


Stomach pain or cramps in pregnancy is common. However, if it gets unbearable, you should consult your gynaecologist immediately. It may be nothing, but in pregnancy, it is always safer to rule out complications.


1. What part of your stomach hurts in early pregnancy?

The lower part or one side of the tummy can hurt during early pregnancy. Some women experience this during implantation, but it is nothing to worry about.

2. How to stop pregnancy stomach cramps?

Try changing the position you are sitting or lying down in. Avoid foods that cause bloating or constipation. Deep breathing exercises and light walking can also ease pregnancy stomach cramps.

3. Why does lower stomach pain during pregnancy?

For some women, the lower stomach can cause pain or cramps during implantation, which is the process of the egg attaching to the uterine wall. If the implantation occurs outside the uterine wall, it can cause severe pain or discomfort.

4. Can abdominal pain cause miscarriage?

Abdominal pain does not “cause” miscarriage, but it can indicate a miscarriage. When a miscarriage happens in early pregnancy, the uterus will squeeze to push the contents out as it does during labour. This can cause severe stomach pain or cramps.

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