Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment


If you experiencing any sort of pain in your abdomen during the time of your pregnancy, then it is a common occurrence as your body changes its condition to house a growing baby. While this is something very normal to many, it may turn out to be serious for some. Moreover, an expecting mother must educate herself on the different symptoms that she may go through during her 9 months of carrying.

Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy

Abdominal pain during pregnancy can be categorised into two types i.e. normal pain and abnormal pain that cause harm to your delivery. Before we understand the basic causes of abdominal pain during pregnancy, let us take a peek into what is abdominal pain during pregnancy and is considered normal.

What is Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy?

Abdominal pain, simply called stomach pain usually occurs in the the chest and pelvic regions of the human body. This pain can be very painful, sharp and crampy, especially for expecting mothers. One major cause of abdominal pain is inflammation that affects various organs in the abdomen such as small and large intestines, spleen, gallbladder, pancreas, liver, kidneys and stomach.

Similarly, abdomen pain that occurs during pregnancy can be both normal and abnormal. These pains can vary in nature and this can be either good or result in something fatal.

  • Normal Pain: Normal pain is understood as a phase when your organs are constantly shifting, uterus expanding and your ligaments stretching.
  • Abnormal Pain: On the contrary, abnormal pain can be understood as a state of aches and pains that are usually very untimely and hurting. In case you experience any abnormality in pain which you may be facing, it is advised that you consult a doctor at the earliest.

Note: In case you experience an abnormal pain, you need to consult with your doctor immediately and he/she will help you go about your problem.

Symptoms of Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy:

Abdominal pain can be either normal or abnormal. Abnormal pain is considered to be very serious as this may involve aborting your baby. However, this can be treated, provided you take prior medical treatment. Moreover, here are some symptoms and signs that you will have to seek immediate medical assistance.

  • Severe bleeding
  • Fever and chills
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Uneasy feeling especially while urinating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Never ending pain

Note: If you experience any of the above -listed symptoms of abdominal pain, then you need to consult a doctor at the earliest.

Causes of Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy:

Abdominal pain during pregnancy can be both normal and abnormal and the causes of each have their own symptoms. However, normal pain that occurs during pregnancy is considered a good sign for an expecting mother and this may symbolise that you may have a healthy baby and that the process of carrying the child is moving the right way. Causes of abdominal pain during pregnancy can be categorised into two namely.

1. Normal Pain:

Normal pain can mean that the process carrying a baby is going the right way. Here is what an expecting mother can feel when she faces a normal kind of pain.

Gas & Constipation:

When more progesterone hormones are released, the mothers’ gastrointestinal tract slows down thus making food travel slowly. However, by consuming fibre-rich foods, daily exercising, and drinking plenty of water can solve the problem of gas and constipation.

Braxton Hicks Contractions:

Braxton Hicks refer to the tightening of stomach muscles that make your stomach feel hard and firm. This is usually caused due to dehydration, so the solution to this problem is by drinking plenty of water. Braxton Hicks Contractions can last for longer periods of time and can be very painful. It may reduce your breath, but you may be able to perform your daily activities. The trick is that you consume a lot of water and you will begin to feel better in no time.

Sharp Pricking Pain:

This type of pain is also called as round ligament pain and a person experiencing it can feel a sharp stabbing pain, especially when you change positions. This pain is usually caused when two ligaments running from the uterus to groin begin to grow as the baby develops. This type of pain is considered normal and is reported during the second trimester.

Other Discomforts:

There are other types of discomforts that an expecting mother can face during her pregnancy. However, these are not life-threatening. Instances like a growing uterus, stomach viruses, food sensitivity and kidney stones are normal occurrences concerning the abdomen and are harmless.

Also Read:  What Causes Constipation During Pregnancy and How to Get Relief

2. Abnormal Pain:

Any pain that hurts you in a manner that can cause organ dysfunction is said to be harmful. In terms of abdominal pain during pregnancy, mother affected with this pain can go through trauma during delivery. Abnormal abdominal pain can pose a serious risk to the baby as well as the mother. Here are some different causes of abnormal pain during pregnancy.


The most common form of pregnancy loss is miscarriages. Also referred to as spontaneous abortion, this type of abortion usually takes place in the first thirteen weeks of pregnancy. Some signs that you may have a miscarriage include severe back pain, brownish red bleeding with cramps or sometimes without and decreasing signs of pregnancy.

In worse cases, an expecting mother may experience a cloth-like material passing out from her vagina and this may seem very disturbing. If you experience any of the above-listed symptoms of a miscarriage, make it a point to consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Urinary Tract Infection:

Urinary tract infection can be easily treated during pregnancy, but if avoided, it can cause birth and life complications. How do you know if you have urinary tract infection? Well, if you have a burning sensation when urinating, severe pain and abdominal discomfort, then it may mean that you are suffering from a urinary tract infection.

Some of the other commonly sighted symptoms of urinary tract infection includes pain under your rib cage, severe fever, nausea, sweating and chills. However, this may also symbolise that the infection has spread to your kidneys. In order to treat this infection, you need immediate medical assistance.

Ectopic Pregnancy:

This is a rare occurrence during pregnancy and this type of pregnancy, the egg is implanted anywhere other than the uterus. The egg will be implanted usually in the fallopian tube and this is a dangerous type of pregnancy because the mother may experience severe pain and bleeding from the 6th to the 10th week of pregnancy.

Placental Abruption:

This condition is a life-threatening one wherein the placenta gets separated from your uterus before the baby is born. One major symptom of placenta abruption is that your stomach will remain to stay hard for a longer period of time without any sign of improvement. Some of the other common symptoms of placental abruption include severe back pain, tenderness in the abdomen and fluid discharge with blood.


Preeclampsia is a condition caused due to high blood pressure and protein found when a pregnant mother passes urine. This takes place after 20 weeks of gestation. Some of the most common symptoms of preeclampsia include nausea and vomiting, feeling of high pressure on your abdomen. If you are facing any of the above-listed symptoms, then you need to make it point to seek immediate medical assistance.

Note: If you are facing any of the above-listed symptoms, then you need to visit a doctor as soon as possible as this can pose a major risk to your life. During pregnancy, a mother’s life, as well as the baby’s health, matter the most and these sensitive health issues that you need to take into consideration as soon as you identify something very abnormal.

Treatment for Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy:

There are different types of ways of treating abnormal pain during pregnancy. However, one must keep in mind that pregnancy is a sensitive matter and can be life-threatening if left untreated. Some treatments concerning abdominal pain during pregnancy can be a major risk for the mother as well as the fetus. You can take some home remedies to treat abnormal pain during pregnancy. Here are the following ways.

  • Rest for long
  • Have a warm shower
  • Regularly exercise (walking & jogging) at least for 15 minutes

Note: The above-listed home remedies will buy you time by making you feel better. But, you need to consult a doctor and explain your condition.

Also Read:  10 Exercises for Pregnant Women

Prevention of Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy:

The most common symptoms of abdominal pain during pregnancy are backaches, breast discomfort, shortness in breath, constipation, dizziness, and severe headaches. There is no escaping from this, and so the question is how do you fight it? Well, follow these simple tips and you will get rid of abdominal pain symptoms during pregnancy.

Shortness in Breath:

Shortness in breath is common for women during pregnancy. In order to get rid of this, you need a good posture especially when you are sleeping or sitting. While sleeping, it is recommended that you preferably sleep on the left side and not on your back.

Breast Discomfort:

If you face any sort of discomfort in your breasts, it is advised that you wear a bra that supports enlarged breasts. In case your breasts leak, pad your bra with nursing pads.


In order to avoid constipation and keep stools soft, drink plenty of water, consume a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains cereals, bread and dried fruits. Also, make it a point to exercise regularly at least for fifteen minutes daily.


Make it a point to get enough rest and drink a minimum of 6 to 10 glasses of water daily. Avoid taking Aspirin and other medication for simple problems like this. Instead, it is advised that you do yoga or meditation. Instead, have a hot shower and you may feel better.


If you have dizziness when you immediately stand up, then you may have a problem called postural hypotension. There is one major way that you can solve this problem. All you need to do is to get some fresh air or gently sit down and relax. You can also lie down for sometime on your left side or sit down with your head placed in between your knees.

Other Ways to Prevent Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy:

There are other ways in which you can avoid abdominal pain during pregnancy and all you need to do is to follow these simple tips and you’ll have a happy pregnancy.

  • Eat less healthy food
  • Exercise regularly at least for 15 minutes daily
  • Eat fibre-rich foods including fruits and vegetables
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Practice clean sleeping. This will help you and your baby feel fresh and healthy.

Note: If you have any signs of abnormal pain during pregnancy, then you need to consult your doctor and seek immediate medical assistance. Do not avoid any pain during pregnancy. Make it a point to tell your doctor about what you are facing. Based on this your doctor will be able to diagnose your condition and if identified earlier, it may be treatable.


Abdominal pain during pregnancy is a common occurrence, but sometimes this pain may be serious. So, make it a point to tell your doctor about it and he/she will devise an appropriate medication or treatment. Here are some frequently asked questions that will help you understand abdominal pain in detail.

1. How to get rid of stomach during pregnancy?

Stomach pain is a common problem for most pregnant women, but this can also mean different under certain conditions. However, if the stomach pain is very regular, then you need to talk with your doctor. Here are some tips as to how you can get rid of stomach pain at home.

  • Firstly, sit down, and rest your feet. Relaxing in a comfortable manner will help have an immediate relief
  • Place a hot water bag on your stomach
  • Drink a lot of water and fruit juices

Note: If the stomach pain does not reduce, you need to get to a nearby hospital as soon as possible. Do not avoid this as you never know what comes your way.

2. What kind of pain is common during pregnancy?

Cramping is considered the most common pain that usually begins as the uterus expands. Gas and bloating also is a common problem that all pregnant women face. Sharp pain is one most complained pain by most pregnant women and this is a pricking pain in the abdomen. However, all of this is a good sign that you and your baby are going through the process of pregnancy and birth. Sharp pain happens usually during the second trimester and the pain can be devastating for the one going through it.

3. Can you hurt your baby by sleeping backwards?

Even accidentally sleeping on your back while your pregnant can affect your baby. You need to avoid sleeping in this position if not this would become highly difficult for you during the first trimester. Break the habit f sleeping on your back as it may become very uncomfortable for you as your baby grows.

Abdominal pain during pregnancy is a very common and know fact by most pregnant women. But this can also result in life-threatening circumstances for the mother and her baby. So, all you need to do is to inform your doctor about any pain that you are facing and he/she will help you go about your problem. Also, the earlier that the pain is detected, the safe this would mean for you and your child.

Also Read:  Antibiotics During Pregnancy: Side effects, Risks and Uses

News on Abdominal Pain

Eating Metals and Sharp Objects: The Curious Case of Abdomen Pain in a Woman in Ahmedabad

– 23rd Nov 2018

Doctors from the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital witnessed a very curious case recently when a woman came into the hospital complaining of severe stomach ache. The doctors observed that the woman’s stomach had bloated and felt extremely heard on touch. Tests and scans revealed that the woman’s abdomen was full of sharp metallic objects. An emergency operation led to the extraction of several sharp metallic objects like thumb pins, safety pins, hair clips, even mangalsutra. Doctors also observed that one of the safety pins had perforated and damaged her lungs while another had damaged her stomach lining. Doctors believe that the woman was suffering from Acuphagia, a type of Pica Disease.

Pica Disease is a psychological disease where an individual is compelled to eat objects which are not considered as eatable. Pica disease is an umbrella term which is further subdivided into types, based on the type of inedible thing a person is addicted to or feels compelled to eat. Acuphagia is the term used to describe the psychological compulsion to eat sharp metallic objects. There are no formal statistics on the percentage of incidences of pica disease in the world, however, experts believe that there is a higher chance of pica disease patients being more in developing countries.


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