Is it normal to have abdominal pain in the first month of pregnancy?
During pregnancy, there are many changes that occur in the mother’s body, this prepares for the different functions that will fulfill. If you are very attentive, you will be able to perceive them from the first moment. Of course, the most obvious but not the only one will be the increase in the size of the belly. Thus, while the baby is gaining space in the womb, stretch the skin, ligaments and abdominal muscles, at the same time that the space of other organs is reduced. All this has its consequences. The breasts are also prepared to fulfill their role of feeding the baby, the hormonal system is at the same time inducing changes and adjusting. Many women report feeling more discomfort during the first and third trimesters. Some of the changes can be very intense for the mother to even cause discomfort or pain.
Abdominal pain in the first weeks of pregnancy
The first changes that pregnant women feel are, perhaps, tension in the breasts and belly, which can even be confused with premenstrual symptoms if pregnancy is not suspected. It is, on the one hand, the uterus in full revolution because it will fulfill its function of housing the baby and, on the other hand, the breasts are prepared for their nutritional function. So it could be said that uterine pain and tension in the breasts are the first symptoms of fertilization of the ovule. The pregnant women describe it as similar to the pain they feel prior to or with menstruation.
During the first month, estrogen and progesterone will increase considerably and it is the action of these hormones that will determine the increase in the size of the uterus. This is a very specialized organ whose only mission is to house the fetus and the placenta. It is an extraordinary organ that will be transformed throughout pregnancy, changes that the mother will sometimes perceive in the form of pain. The uterus, which is usually 8 cm long and 5 cm wide, will see its volume multiplied by a thousand at the end of pregnancy; no other organ has this possibility.
In addition to growing, during the first weeks, the uterus will suffer a dextrorotation or twist with a right tilt in the abdominal cavity, which also generates discomfort. Similarly, there is some tension in the tendons and muscles of the abdomen. As the pregnancy progresses, the uterus will continue to grow in line with the growth of the fetus and these changes in dimensions will also be felt. Then having abdominal pain during the first month of pregnancy is normal and even frequent. It is during the first month that everything starts and this does not go unnoticed by the mother. Visit Abdominal Pain After Bowel Movement
Causes of abdominal pain and belly pain during pregnancy
The gestation period is a time of changes as we have mentioned, some of which generate discomfort that is considered totally normal. Among the most frequent causes of abdominal pain in pregnancy, are:
- Growth of the round ligaments: on both sides of the pelvis, there are round ligaments that stretch and thicken during pregnancy to help support the uterus. This variation can produce an intense pain that is felt in the lower part of the belly on one or both sides of it. It usually appears when making a sudden movement, such as getting up from a chair or turning suddenly, and also after a day of great turmoil. Normally, it disappears quickly after taking a time off. Usually, it occurs from the second quarter and is not a reason to worry.
- Stretching of the abdominal muscles: the muscles that line the abdomen stretch to allow the growth of the uterus, which can generate discomfort or mild pain on the sides of the belly. It usually occurs in the second trimester and, in general, becomes stronger during the third trimester. Rest can also help to lessen this pain.
- Intestinal discomfort: during pregnancy, the presence of certain hormones can contribute to a slow intestinal transit, gas retention and constipation, which can produce annoying pains in any part of the abdomen. In addition, the growing uterus leaves little room for the stomach and intestines, exerting pressure especially on the digestive system, whose effectiveness is diminished. It is recommended to avoid very large meals, eat foods that contain fiber and drink plenty of fluids.
- Contractions of Braxton-Hicks: from the beginning of pregnancy, you can feel small contractions or pressure in the belly as if it were a colic. The first months will be mild, very sporadic and will not be painful, but from the second half of pregnancy, Braxton-Hicks contractions appear that are usually irregular but stronger. These contractions prepare the uterus for the time of delivery and should not be cause for concern, even if they produce a little pain.
- Contractions during orgasm: may occur during or immediately after orgasm a slight contraction, which if not prolonged should not be a warning sign.
- Other less frequent causes: the bones of the pelvis also, in some rare cases, can produce pelvic pain that is reflected in the abdomen. On the other hand, conditions such as stones in the gallbladder, which are frequent during pregnancy, can cause abdominal pain. Likewise, fibroids tend to grow under the effects of pregnancy hormones and thus generate discomfort. Likewise, if the woman has undergone surgery in the intestine, the pressure of the uterus on these scars can cause an obstruction and this can cause pain. In these last cases, we must be careful, because they can be an indication of more complicated situations
How to relieve abdominal pain in pregnancy
So far we have mentioned normal abdominal pain of pregnancy. These are related to the body’s adjustments to its new situation, so to alleviate them, it is also required that women adjust their pace of life to pregnancy. The most important and most effective recommendation in most cases is rest. Maybe the mother can include in the daily routine some pauses to catch her breath, simply take a few minutes to relax throughout the day and if it was not enough, maybe go to bed and take a little nap. It may also help to take a shower with warm water to relieve muscle tensions or simply apply heat on the belly (a warm compress is ideal).
Moving and changing position to help the intestine release gas is another strategy that can help reduce abdominal discomfort. Maintaining a healthy diet and hydrating well are some of the care that must be taken throughout the pregnancy and that, in addition, can help the mother to have less abdominal pain. It is also recommended to gently massage the painful area with the fingertips or even touch it with the palm of the hand doing a little pressure.
In cases where the pains are more intense, it may be recommended to use a special girdle for pregnant women or maternity girdle, which helps to support the belly without putting pressure on the uterus, giving strength to the spine. The doctor could prescribe the use of analgesics if the pain was very annoying.
In any case, new mothers must be attentive and begin to recognize what happens in their bodies, trying to live pregnancy as a normal physiological process, recognizing the changes they are living. In the case of women who reach their second pregnancy, it is important to know that this time they will feel the changes with greater intensity, so that the discomfort could increase, especially if it has not been long between one pregnancy and another.
Abnormal abdominal pain in pregnancy: warning sign
Although it can be considered normal to have abdominal pain during the first month of pregnancy and even throughout it, some abdominal pain warrants consulting the doctor, especially if they are very strong or prolonged, do not give up with rest or go accompanied by other symptoms. It is a warning sign if abdominal pain is accompanied by these symptoms:
- More than six contractions in an hour or regular contractions over a prolonged period.
- Fever, chills, dizziness, fainting, nausea or vomiting.
- Pressure in the pelvis, as if the baby wanted to leave.
- Burning when urinating.
- Vaginal bleeding or blood flow.
- Strong pain in the upper part of the abdomen.
- Swelling of hands, feet, ankles and around the eyes.
In these cases, it is important to consult with the gynecologist immediately, as it may be an ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage, a threat of premature birth, a placental abruption, a urinary tract infection, an appendicitis or even an increase in pressure blood or preeclampsia, a very dangerous condition for both the fetus and the mother. Although pregnancy is a normal physiological state, it is a time of many changes, that each one lives in a particular way, so it is always good to be attentive to the body’s own bodies and talk with the doctor about them.