At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Abdominal pain in early pregnancy may be a result of the uterus stretching, ectopic pregnancy, or possibly an impending miscarriage. In most cases, mild discomfort in the abdomen during the first few months of pregnancy is because of the uterus stretching. This is not considered serious, and it is a reported pregnancy side effect in most women. Constipation is another side effect in early pregnancy that could result in abdominal pain. If any abdominal pain is incredibly severe and accompanied by vaginal bleeding, it is likely that something more serious is wrong.
Women tend to get constipated early in pregnancy because the body begins to produce more progesterone. The production of this hormone often causes food to move much more slowly through the digestive system. Prenatal vitamins could also contribute to pregnancy constipation due to the high levels of iron in each pill. Constipation that is severe could easily result in abdominal pain during pregnancy, but this condition can usually be remedied with stool softeners and an increase in dietary fiber.
Ectopic pregnancy is a possible cause of severe abdominal pain in the first trimester. This happens when the egg implants inside the fallopian tubes or elsewhere outside the uterus. The first sign a woman may notice is vaginal bleeding followed by lower abdominal pain that intensifies with time. Vomiting, dizziness, and shoulder pain could also occur. It is very important for a woman experiencing these symptoms to get medical attention as soon as possible.
There is a slight chance that abdominal pain in early pregnancy may be related to miscarriage. The pain usually starts off mildly and intensifies over time. Bleeding almost always accompanies a miscarriage. The blood is usually bright red in color, but in some cases it may start off as a brownish color and change to bright red. Lower back pain is often felt in addition to abdominal pain.
Other causes of abdominal pain in early pregnancy may be appendicitis, an ovarian cyst rupture, or a urinary tract infection. These ailments tend to cause abdominal pain in a person whether she is pregnant or not. Most of the time, minor abdominal pain in early pregnancy that is not accompanied by bleeding is nothing to worry about. In many cases, a woman's instinct won't steer her wrong. It is probably a good idea for a pregnant woman to err on the side of caution and consult her doctor if she is concerned about any early pregnancy symptoms.