Main Causes Of Abdominal Pain In Pregnancy

Pregnant women often have episodes of abdominal pain or pelvic pain of small to moderate intensity throughout the pregnancy due to numerous physiological and anatomical changes by which the maternal organism passes.
Although most causes of abdominal pain in pregnancy are benign and expected, some of which might be a sign of a more serious problem. In addition to complications of pregnancy, such as ectopic pregnancy, abortion or problems in the uterus or placenta, pregnant women also may show abdominal diseases common to any individual, as appendicitis, cholecystitis, pancreatitis, urinary tract infection, gastroenteritis, etc.
Therefore, if you are a pregnant woman, it is important to educate yourself on the most common causes of abdominal pain in pregnancy, so that you become able to recognize the symptoms that may indicate potentially serious problems.
In this article we will explain what are the main causes of abdominal pain of pregnancy and what are the signs and symptoms of warning that pregnant women need to be aware.
The following conditions will be covered in this text:
Abdominal pain “normal” pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancy.
Braxton Hicks contractions.
Round ligament pain.
Premature separation of placenta.
Urinary tract infection in pregnancy.
If you want information on other possible signs of pregnancy problems in addition to abdominal pain, read: 10 SIGNS that CAN INDICATE PROBLEMS in PREGNANCY.
Abdominal Pain In Pregnancy Caused By Pregnancy
Episodes of abdominal pain or pelvic tend to arise in the first months of pregnancy and can last until the time of delivery. Abdominal pain “normal” pregnancy is usually not constant, but can appear with great frequency over the 9 months of pregnancy.
The causes and characteristics of abdominal pain change during the course of the pregnancy. Hormonal changes, changes in abdominal and pelvic Anatomy, growth of the uterus, uterine contractions, fetus, compression of abdominal organs and changes of the ligaments of the pelvis are some of the common causes of “normal” pregnancy pains.
There are also the pains of pregnancy that are not considered normal, i.e. they are pain caused by complications of pregnancy itself. These pains may indicate a more serious problem is that need to be identified early so that pregnant women can find obstetric care, minimizing the risk of complications.
We will then explain the causes of abdominal pain in pregnancy, whether normal or abnormal, according to the gestational quarter
Common Causes Of Abdominal Pain In The First Trimester Of Pregnancy
1-Normal Pains Of First Trimester Pregnancy
In the first months of pregnancy, abdominal pain is often caused by hormonal changes that interfere with the normal functioning of the intestines. Excess gas, feeling of swollen belly and constipation are some of the problems that can cause the pregnant woman complain of abdominal discomfort from first quarter earnings (read:20 EARLY SYMPTOMS of PREGNANCY).
In General, these headaches are mild and transitory. Any abdominal pain intensive and persistent or is accompanied by symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, purulent vaginal discharge, fever, voluminous diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, hypotension, prostration or vomiting should be evaluated by your obstetrician.
Nausea and vomiting are common in the first trimester of pregnancy, but they tend not to be associated with abdominal pain, fever or diarrhea (see: NAUSEA and VOMITING in PREGNANCY).
2-Abdominal Pain Related To Complications Of First Trimester Of Pregnancy
In the first trimester of pregnancy are the leading causes of abdominal pain caused by complications of pregnancy: ectopic pregnancy and abortion.
Ectopic Pregnancy
Call it the whole pregnancy ectopic pregnancy that develops outside the womb, as, for example, in the fallopian tube.
Obviously, any location of the woman’s body than the uterus is not prepared to develop a pregnancy, thus causing serious complications when the fetus begins to grow. Ectopic pregnancy is a medical emergency.
The symptoms of ectopic pregnancy usually arise from the 6th week of pregnancy. The most common are:
Moderate to severe abdominal pain unilateral (the side where the embryo if deployed), usually in the lower region of the abdomen.
Stiffening the abdominal muscles.
Vaginal bleeding.
Pain to evacuate.
Presence of a palpable mass in the groin area (in the case of ectopic pregnancy in one of the fallopian tubes).
Nausea to vomiting.
The diagnosis is usually made by ultrasound, which can demonstrate that the embryo is not located within the uterus.
To learn more about the ectopic pregnancy, read: ECTOPIC PREGNANCY – Symptoms, risk factors and treatment.
Spontaneous Abortion
Call abortion (or miscarriage) any interruption of pregnancy, spontaneous or intentional, which occur before 20 weeks of gestation. Interruptions of pregnancy after the 20th week are called premature labor.
Abortion is one of the causes of abdominal pain in the first trimester of pregnancy. Most miscarriages occur in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.
Signs and symptoms of abortion include:
Moderate pain type cramping on the midline of the abdomen.
Pelvic pain.
Mild to moderate vaginal bleeding.
Uterine contractions that come every 5 to 20 minutes. The cramps may resemble uterine contractions of menstruation.
The gynecological exam and ultrasound are generally used to confirm an abortion.
Common Causes Of Abdominal Pain From The Second Trimester Of Pregnancy
1-normal pregnancy Pains from the second quarter
Upon arriving at 12 weeks of pregnancy, the uterus has already grown enough to become an intra-abdominal organ (before, he located only in the pelvis). Therefore, in addition to all the causes of abdominal pain “normal” in the first quarter, the pregnant woman now goes to live with the pain and discomfort caused by compression of abdominal organs by the uterus, besides the increase in weight that the pelvis needs support.
Harmless causes of abdominal pain of pregnancy from the second trimester two: Braxton Hicks contractions and round ligament pain.
Braxton Hicks Contractions
The so called Braxton Hicks contractions are not expulsivas uterine contractions, which often arise from 2nd trimester of pregnancy (in some women they arise at the end of the first quarter) and serve as “training” to the uterus.
These contractions are innocent; they tend to be short, with irregular intervals and low frequency. Braxton Hicks contractions do not increase the risk of premature birth and cause more discomfort than pain.
In General, change position and stay at home are enough to make them disappear. Dehydration can trigger those contractions, which is why most doctors suggests that the patient drink more water if they are frequent.
To learn more about Braxton Hicks contractions, read: BRAXTON HICKS CONTRACTIONS-Contractions Pregnancy training
Round Ligament Pain
The round ligament is responsible for connecting the uterus to the pelvic region. As the uterus grows and becomes heavier, the round ligament gets increasingly overloaded.
The round ligament stretch usually arise in the second quarter and is becoming bigger and bigger as the pregnancy progresses. The pain that it causes a twinge that arises in the pelvis or lower abdomen every time the woman changes position. Get out of bed, coughing, lifting the Chair and out of a car are some situations that may trigger this kind of pain.
Round ligament pain could also arise continuously after a day particularly active, in which the expectant mother walked too much or made more effort than it should.
2-Abdominal Pain Related To Complications Of Second Trimester Of Pregnancy
As the pregnancy progresses, the number of possible gestational complications also grows, especially after the 20th week. Let’s talk briefly about some of the complications that usually attend with abdominal pain. The causes described below are also valid for the third trimester of pregnancy.
Any calving, which occurs after the 37th week of pregnancy is considered normal, being classified as full-term birth. On the other hand, we consider a premature birth when it occurs before the 37th week of gestation. The more premature for delivery, less development time will have had the baby, intrauterine increase the risk of complications for the neonate.
As well as the spontaneous abortion, labor also manifests with abdominal pain. The most common symptoms are:
Frequent and rhythmic uterine contractions, intensifying with the passage of time.
Light vaginal bleeding.
Disruption of water.
Feeling of pressure in the pelvic area.
The least sign of premature birth, the pregnant woman should contact your obstetrician immediately. The probe is able to identify if the uterus is even in the process of expulsion of the fetus.
Premature Separation Of Placenta
The premature separation of the placenta (DPP) arises when the placenta comes unglued in whole or in part of the wall of the uterus. This is a serious complication of pregnancy, because the DT prevents the placenta continue receiving blood from the uterus, putting the life of the fetus at risk.
The premature separation of the placenta is most common in the third trimester of pregnancy, but it can occur from 20 weeks gestation.
The most common symptoms of detachment of the placenta are:
Vaginal bleeding, which can be bulky.
Intense abdominal pain and lower back.
Uterine contractions.
The DPP also is a medical emergency and the induction of labor is usually the way to treat the problem.
Preeclampsia is a syndrome characterized by the appearance of hypertension and proteinuria (protein loss in the urine) after 20 weeks of gestation. In more severe cases, the liver may also be involved.
Abdominal pain, swelling in the face, hands and legs, headache, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting are the most common symptoms. When a patient with preeclampsia develops seizures, called eclampsia frame.
We have a specific article on preeclampsia that can be accessed through the following link: PRE-eclampsia and ECLAMPSIA-Symptoms, causes and treatment.
Less Common Causes
Other less common complications of pregnancy, occurring from the second trimester and can cause abdominal pain, include:
Uterine vourself.
Infection of the amniotic fluid.
Uterus incarcerated.
Fatty liver of pregnancy.
Spontaneous hemoperitoneum.
Causes Of Abdominal Pain Not Related To Pregnancy
As well as any individual, pregnant women may also have abdominal diseases that are not specific to pregnancy, such as appendicitis, cholecystitis, gastroenteritis or kidney stone. The diagnosis of these problems is often more difficult in pregnant women due to the numerous changes that your abdominal region on. To the location of the pain may be atypical. We talked about the different causes of abdominal pain in the article: LEADING CAUSES of ABDOMINAL PAIN.
Among the dozens of abdominal complications that can arise in pregnancy, but that are not directly related to pregnancy, one stands out: the urinary tract infection.
Urinary Tract Infection In Pregnancy
Cystitis, which is the name we give to the bladder infection, is a common problem during pregnancy, which can arise in any period of pregnancy. Their most common symptoms include:
Pain or burning sensation urinating (read: PAINFUL URINATION – main causes).
Urge to urinate frequently.
Difficulty in handling the urine.
Urge to urinate even with empty bladder.
Pain or feeling of heaviness in the bladder.
Blood in the urine (read: CAUSES of BLOOD in URINE – HEMATURIA).
We speak specifically of urinary tract infection in pregnancy in the following article: URINARY TRACT INFECTION in pregnancy – Symptoms, causes and treatment.