Side Pains - Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms

Don't Worry - It's Common

Getting used to the idea of being pregnant can take a while, especially when there is "nothing to show for it" initially. Waiting for the baby bump to rise takes time, and it is often during this waiting period that certain pains and cramping take place, sometimes causing worry for a newly pregnant woman. The good news, if we can call it that, is that abdominal pain during pregnancy is not an uncommon occurrence. Considering all of the hormonal and physical changes a woman's body must go through to accommodate a pregnancy, it is understandable that she will be more prone than usual to conditions that lead to abdominal pain.

Side Pain In Early Pregnancy

Early pregnancy side pains are very common and usually make their debut when the embryo implants in the uterus. A menstrual-type cramping with a bit of blood loss often occurs during implantation, and depending upon the side the baby implants, the pain will be localized on that particular side. Ruling out an ectopic pregnancy is important and assuming all is well, then other reasons for early pregnancy side pains can be the position of the uterus or stretching of ligaments. Some uteri are tilted forward, others backward, and some are misshapen. Depending upon the position and state of the uterus, pain may be localized to one side or the other and the woman will experience pain as the uterus grows with the baby.

Pregnancy Right Side or Left Side Pain Can Be Serious

If the pain is primarily felt on the right side during pregnancy, it could indicate a serious problem, such as appendicitis or a tubal pregnancy in the right fallopian tube. Gall stones and kidney stones can project right side pain as can an ovarian cyst. Right side pain in pregnancy can be caused by bowel issues, constipation, a hernia, or even food poisoning. However, sometimes the pain is nothing more than trapped gas or a pulled muscle.

When the pain is felt primarily on the left side during pregnancy it could be an overlap from a right side issue, or it could be something more serious. Organ and structural diseases of organs found on the left side of the abdomen can generate a great deal of pain. The spleen, pancreas, stomach, part of the colon, one of the two kidneys, and the adrenal gland are found in the region. Also, if there is an ectopic pregnancy in the left fallopian tube, or a problem with the left ovary, then the pain will be pregnancy left side pain. Once again, ligaments, muscles, and constipation can all generate pain as well.

An ectopic pregnancy, or tubal pregnancy as it is sometimes referred to, is the nightmare of every woman who wants to bear children. In this type of pregnancy, the embryo imbeds outside of the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes, or sometimes in the ovary or on a supporting ligament. It can also embed in the abdominal cavity. As the fetus grows the danger of rupture increases because there is no room for expansion in a tube, ovary, or blood vessel. The result is massive bleeding internally. This type of pregnancy is usually discovered within the first few weeks after conception and presents with lower abdominal pain that is either sudden or has a gradually building onset. The pain could be on the right side or the left of the lower abdomen. It is continuous and nagging, causing cramping and pain. This is an obstetric emergency and requires immediate medical attention. There are some critical situations that can mimic an ectopic pregnancy-a ruptured ovarian cyst, appendicitis, and miscarriage all present with similar symptoms and pain.

IBS May Improve With Pregnancy

Women who suffer with irritable bowel syndrome (ibs) often find it changes during pregnancy.  The impact of pregnancy on the bowels isn't as well documented as it is on the gastrointestinal tract, but one theory states that the effect of pregnancy hormones could either positively or negatively affect the symptoms of ibs, and may even relieve abdominal pain. One survey reported that nearly half of the women respondents indicated an improvement in their ibs symptoms while pregnant, with a much smaller percentage stating their symptoms worsened.

The Good Old Back Ache

Backaches are closely linked to pregnancy and some causes of pregnancy back ache include such things are the shift in the center of gravity experienced as the baby grows, poor posture, lifting and bending incorrectly, and wearing footwear that looks good but takes a toll on the spine. The discomfort of a backache can radiate into the sides of the abdomen, making sitting and standing uncomfortable. Sometimes the pain is more of a dull ache and a cramping in the lower back.

Is Cramping Normal?

Many women wonder if cramping is common during pregnancy, and the answer is yes and no. Mild cramping often happens as the uterus grows and the belly swells. But, severe cramping or pain is not a good sign and the doctor should be advised if there are any signs of severe pain or cramping. There are common causes for cramping during pregnancy, beginning very early on with implantation which causes low, period-type cramps and mild discomfort. As time goes on and the muscles and ligaments stretch a dull ache and cramping often accompanies the procedure. Braxton-Hicks contractions can be the source of cramping as well. Then, in the last weeks of pregnancy, cramping is a good indication that labor is about ready to begin.

When pain and cramping become serious, call the doctor. Only proper examination and testing can reveal the real source of the problem. It is better to alleviate fear and concern than to tough it out.

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