When should I worry about stomach pain in pregnancy?

When should I worry about stomach pain in pregnancy?

 Belly pain in pregnancy can be caused by the growth of the uterus, constipation or gas, and can be relieved through a balanced diet, exercise or teas.

 However, it can also indicate more serious situations, such as ectopic pregnancy, placental abruption, preeclampsia or even miscarriage.  In these cases, the pain is usually accompanied by vaginal bleeding, swelling or discharge.

 Regardless of the cause, when the pain is very intense, does not improve or is accompanied by other symptoms, it is advisable to go to the hospital or consult an obstetrician, in order to identify the correct cause and start the most appropriate treatment.

 1st trimester of pregnancy

 The main causes of abdominal pain in the first trimester of pregnancy, which corresponds to the period from 1 to 12 weeks of pregnancy, include:

 Urinary infection

 Urinary tract infection is a very common problem of pregnancy and it is more frequent to occur in early pregnancy, and can be perceived through the appearance of pain in the bottom of the abdomen, burning and difficulty urinating, urgent urge to urinate even with little urine , fever and nausea.

 What to do: It is recommended to go to the doctor for a urinalysis to confirm the urinary infection and to start treatment with antibiotics, rest and fluid intake.

 Ectopic pregnancy

 Ectopic pregnancy happens due to the growth of the fetus outside the uterus, being more common in the fallopian tubes and, therefore, it can appear up to 10 weeks of gestation.  Ectopic pregnancy is usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as severe abdominal pain on only one side of the belly that worsens with movement, vaginal bleeding, pain during intimate contact, dizziness, nausea or vomiting.

 What to do: In case of suspected ectopic pregnancy, you should go immediately to the emergency room to confirm the diagnosis and start the appropriate treatment, which is usually done from surgery to remove the embryo. 

 miscarriage

 Abortion is an emergency situation and it happens more often before 20 weeks and can be perceived through abdominal pain in the lower part of the belly, vaginal bleeding or loss of fluids through the vagina, exit of clots or tissues, and headache . 

 What to do: It is recommended to go to the hospital immediately to perform an ultrasound to check the baby's heartbeat and confirm the diagnosis.  When the baby is dead, a curettage or surgery must be performed to remove it, but when the baby is still alive, treatments can be performed to save the baby.

 2nd trimester of pregnancy

 Pain in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy, which corresponds to the period from 13 to 24 weeks, is usually caused by problems such as:

 Pre eclampsia

 Preeclampsia is a sudden increase in blood pressure during pregnancy, which is difficult to treat and which can pose a risk to both the woman and the baby.  The main signs and symptoms of preeclampsia are pain in the upper right part of the abdomen, nausea, headache, swelling of the hands, legs and face, in addition to blurred vision.

 What to do: It is recommended to go to the obstetrician as soon as possible to assess blood pressure and start inpatient treatment because this is a serious situation that puts the life of both mother and baby at risk. 

 placental abruption

 Placental detachment is a serious pregnancy problem that can develop after 20 weeks and that can cause premature birth or miscarriage depending on the weeks of pregnancy.  This situation generates symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, contractions and lower back pain.

 What to do: Go immediately to the hospital to assess the baby's heartbeat and undergo treatment, which can be done with drugs to prevent uterine contraction and rest.  In the most severe cases, delivery can be performed before the expected date, if necessary. 

 training contractions

 Braxton Hicks contractions are training contractions that usually appear after 20 weeks and last less than 60 seconds, although they can happen several times a day and cause little abdominal pain.  At that moment, the belly is momentarily hard, which does not always cause abdominal pain.  But in some cases there may be pain in the vagina or in the lower part of the belly, which lasts for a few seconds and then disappears.

 What to do: It is important at this point to try to stay calm, rest and change position, lying on your side and placing a pillow under your tummy or between your legs to feel more comfortable.

 3rd trimester of pregnancy

 The main causes of abdominal pain in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, which corresponds to the period from 25 to 41 weeks, are:

 Constipation and gas

 Constipation is more common at the end of pregnancy due to the effect of hormones and the pressure of the uterus on the intestine, which decreases its functioning, facilitating the development of constipation and gas.  Both constipation and gas lead to discomfort or abdominal pain on the left side and cramps, in addition to the tummy may be more hardened in this place of pain. 

 What to do: Ingest foods rich in fiber, such as wheat germ, vegetables, cereals, watermelon, papaya, lettuce and oatmeal, drink about 2 liters of water a day and practice light physical exercises, such as walking for at least 30 minutes 3 times a week.  It is recommended to consult the doctor if the pain does not improve on the same day, if you do not poop 2 days in a row or if other symptoms such as fever or increased pain appear.

 Round ligament pain

 Round ligament pain arises due to excessive stretching of the ligament that connects the uterus to the pelvic region, due to the growth of the belly, leading to the appearance of pain in the lower abdomen that extends to the groin and lasts only a few seconds.

 What to do: Sit, try to relax and, if it helps, change your position to relieve pressure on the round ligament.  Other options are tucking your knees under your abdomen or lying on your side with a pillow under your belly and another between your legs.

 labor

 Labor is the leading cause of abdominal pain in late pregnancy and is characterized by abdominal pain, cramping, increased vaginal discharge, jelly-like discharge, vaginal bleeding, and uterine contractions at regular intervals. 

 What to do: Go to the hospital to assess whether you are really in labor, as these pains can become regular for a few hours, but can disappear completely overnight, for example, and come back the next day, with the same characteristics.  If possible, it is recommended to call the doctor to confirm if it is labor and when to go to the hospital.

 When to go to the hospital

 Persistent abdominal pain on the right side, close to the hip and low-grade fever that can appear at any stage of pregnancy may indicate appendicitis, a situation that can be serious and therefore should be ruled out as soon as possible, and it is recommended to go to the hospital immediately.  In addition, you should also go to the hospital immediately or consult the obstetrician who follows the pregnancy when you present:

 Abdominal pain before 12 weeks of pregnancy, with or without vaginal bleeding;

 Vaginal bleeding and severe cramping;

 Splitting headache;

 More than 4 contractions in 1 hour for 2 hours;

 Marked swelling of the hands, legs and face;

 Painful urination, difficulty urinating, or bloody urine

 Fever and chills;

 Vaginal discharge.

 The presence of these symptoms can indicate a serious complication, such as preeclampsia or ectopic pregnancy, and therefore, it is important for the woman to consult the obstetrician or go immediately to the hospital to receive the appropriate treatment as soon as possible.

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