Is a little bit of cramping normal?
Pregnancy is a time of tremendous change and growth of the body. To put things into perspective, the uterus (or womb) in a non-pregnant woman is approximately the size of a small pear. By the end of the pregnancy, the uterus can reach the size of a watermelon! That means the uterus is expanding to accommodate the growth of the baby, the growth of the placenta (the organ that provides blood flow and nutrition to the baby), and the fluid that surrounds the baby. With all the stretching and expansion, a woman is likely to feel cramping during the pregnancy.
The uterus is a muscular organ that is surrounded by ligaments, which help provide support to the uterus within the pelvis. As the muscles and ligaments stretch, it is common to feel some mild cramping. Some women describe them as mild menstrual-like cramps. Occasionally, these cramps may feel stronger when you change certain positions or even when you cough or sneeze. The round ligaments connect the uterus to the abdominal wall. When these stretch, you can sometimes feel a sharp or stabbing pain in the lower abdomen. This pain can sometimes radiate into the groin. This pain can be relieved with rest, position change, warm heat, stretching etc. It will typically go away on its own, but it can recur during the pregnancy.
However, not all cramping is considered normal. If you start to experience intense cramping or pain, you might want to monitor things a little closely. If the severe cramping does not resolve, or if you notice vaginal bleeding or leakage of fluid, then you should consult with your physician to make sure everything is ok.
Dr. Ester Min is an Ob-Gyn at Platte Valley Medical Group-Reunion OB-Gyn. Board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, she was awarded both the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Resident Award and the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons Resident Achievement Award. To learn more about Dr. Min, click HERE.