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Pregnancy Cramps Cracked: Why Cramping Occurs During Pregnancy?

Dr. Humaira Zulfiqar

2 min read

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Cramps refer to the sensations of pain that occur due to stretching or contraction of muscles. The contraction and relaxation of muscles is a normal process but sometimes the pain associated with it can be quite sharp. Abdominal cramps are common during pregnancy and are mostly harmless. Almost every mother experiences some sort of cramping during pregnancy and it can sometimes make the mother quite uncomfortable.

New mothers may panic due to sudden cramping, putting themselves and the child under stress which can be harmful. It is thus important to understand why cramping occurs and how to manage it. In this article we explain the causes of cramping during pregnancy and some coping strategies.

Why cramps occur during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, cramping can feel like the abdomen is stretching from both sides. During the first three months, cramping is mostly because of the developmental changes that the fetus is going through. The sensation of pain during the first trimester is supposed to be not very sharp and cramping is held as an indication of healthy development.

Another reason which can be responsible for cramping is the stretching of the uterus. The uterus is supported by a muscle which is known as the round ligament. The round ligament stretches along with the uterus and the stretching is experienced in the form of a sharp pain by the mother. The cramping caused by the round ligament occurs in the second trimester and is relatively more painful than the first trimester. Cramping may also occur due to digestive issues such as bloating and constipation.


Cramping during pregnancy is natural but it can still be painful and following measures can be taken in order to get some relief

  • Heating pads can be placed at the site of pain to help relax the sore muscles
  • Cramping mostly occurs during night time, especially when the mother has been sleeping in the same position for quite some time. Changing sides and positions can help alleviate the painful sensation
  • Sometimes taking a bath with warm water can help relax the muscles, leading to an instant relief from pain
  • As mentioned earlier pregnancy cramps can also originate from digestive issues. Eating a moderate diet with lots of fluids can help avoid these digestive problems and ultimately cramps too.

When to visit a gynecologist 

Although it has been explained that cramping is natural during pregnancy, but sometimes it can be serious and seeing a gynecologist is absolutely necessary in such cases. Following are the conditions of cramping that require consultation with a doctor:

Prolonged cramps: If the cramps are prolonged and the pain is sharp enough to the point of unbearable, then the mother should urgently see a gynecologist especially if the cramping is in the lower abdomen.

Cramps with pressure: If sharp cramps are experienced with a feeling of increased pressure then urgent hospitalization is required. This could be an indication of preterm labor.

Cramps with vaginal bleeding: Severe cramping in the lower abdomen with some vaginal bleeding is a sign of potential abortion and thus requires urgent attention of a doctor.

If you are experiencing cramping which is unbearable, prolonged or accompanied by vaginal bleeding, see a gynecologist as soon as possible. You can also book an appointment with top gynecologists in Karachi, Faisalabad and Islamabad through oladoc.com or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 to get directed to the specialists according to your specific concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Humaira Zulfiqar - Author Dr. Humaira Zulfiqar Saifee is a Gynecologist and Obstetrician. She has an M.B.B.S. and F.C.P.S. (Gynecologist & Obstetrician) degree along with an experience of 18 years. She is also a member of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). Dr. Humaira Zulfiqar Saifee practices as a Gynecologist at Precious Days Hospital and Online Video Consultation and charges 1500 and 1500 respectively.
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