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What are the Causes of Stomach Aches During Pregnancy?

Alicia Sparks
Alicia Sparks

There are numerous causes of stomach aches during pregnancy, and not all of them are serious or even directly related to the pregnancy. A woman might experience abdominal pain during pregnancy for normal reasons such as embryo implantation or a growing uterus. Serious pregnancy complications such as a miscarriage, placental abruption, and preeclampsia can cause stomach pain. A pregnant woman might also develop common but serious conditions such as a stomach virus, appendicitis, or gallbladder disease, all of which can cause stomach pain. It’s important for a pregnant woman to contact her health care provider whenever she’s not sure about the cause of the stomach aches or when the pain is accompanied by other symptoms.

It’s normal to experience certain kinds of stomach aches during pregnancy, and for a variety of reasons. For example, during the early pregnancy stages, a woman might experience mild stomach cramps as the embryo implants itself in the uterus. Later on, during the second trimester, abdominal pain during pregnancy is typical as muscles stretch to make room for the growing uterus. False labor, also known as Braxton-Hicks contractions, is a common reason for stomach pain during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. During the last weeks of pregnancy, many women experience abdominal pain that signals the real labor is on its way.

An illustration of a human stomach.
An illustration of a human stomach.

Some stomach aches during pregnancy are symptoms of pregnancy complications. Two of the most obvious reasons for stomach cramping in pregnancy are miscarriage, which is usually accompanied by bleeding or faintness, and preterm labor, which usually occurs during the second or third trimester. Other less obvious reasons for stomach aches during pregnancy include a placental abruption, ectopic pregnancy, and preeclampsia. Similar to miscarriage and preterm labor, most serious pregnancy complications are accompanied by other symptoms. If a pregnant woman experiences symptoms such as dizziness, a fever, chills, bleeding, or an increase in vaginal discharge in addition to the abdominal pain, there might be a complication.

Not all stomach aches felt by a pregnant woman are caused by the pregnancy.
Not all stomach aches felt by a pregnant woman are caused by the pregnancy.

Keep in mind that not all stomach aches during pregnancy are related to the pregnancy. For example, cramps or other kinds of abdominal pain could be symptoms of anything from a common stomach virus or case of food poisoning to the much more serious appendicitis or gallbladder problems. A pregnant woman who develops a kidney infection, kidney stones, or a urinary tract infection will also experience abdominal pain. Just because the pain and condition isn’t directly related to the pregnancy, however, doesn’t mean it won’t affect the pregnancy. In order for the pregnant woman to keep herself and her baby healthy, she should see her health care provider whenever she experiences abdominal pain she can’t explain or pain that’s accompanied by other symptoms.

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Discussion Comments

bluedolphin

I used to get stomach aches often during my early pregnancy. I had nausea and vomiting all throughout my first trimester, so that was the main reason. My stomach also became very sensitive during pregnancy and foods that don't normally bother me, did. I couldn't have any acidic foods, for example. I was always eating bland, comforting foods.

donasmrs

@fify-- Everyone experiences some stomach pain during pregnancy. It's only worrisome if the pain is constant, sharp and severe, and if it's accompanied by bleeding. These could be signs of miscarriage or premature birth. So it's a good idea to see a doctor.

But rare, mild stomach pain is nothing to worry about. These sort of pain happens during pregnancy for various reasons. It could be the baby moving, an upset stomach or excess gas. It should go away soon, if it doesn't ring up your doctor for advice.

fify

I've been experiencing a mild stomach ache yesterday and today. I'm in my second trimester. Should I be worried?

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    • An illustration of a human stomach.
      By: pixologic
      An illustration of a human stomach.
    • Not all stomach aches felt by a pregnant woman are caused by the pregnancy.
      By: photo 5000
      Not all stomach aches felt by a pregnant woman are caused by the pregnancy.
    • There are various reasons why stomach aches occur.
      By: Piotr Marcinski
      There are various reasons why stomach aches occur.
    • Some stomach aches during pregnancy are symptoms of pregnancy complications.
      By: 9nong
      Some stomach aches during pregnancy are symptoms of pregnancy complications.
    • A pregnant woman who develops kidney stones will experience abdominal pain.
      By: airborne77
      A pregnant woman who develops kidney stones will experience abdominal pain.
    • Appendicitis can cause stomach pain during pregnancy and should to be brought to the attention of a medical professional as soon as possible.
      By: joshya
      Appendicitis can cause stomach pain during pregnancy and should to be brought to the attention of a medical professional as soon as possible.
    • Stomach ache during pregnancy may be caused by a stomach virus.
      By: michaeljung
      Stomach ache during pregnancy may be caused by a stomach virus.