Your pregnancy journey means some unforgettable memories along with certain uncomfortable outcomes, like sore breasts, achy back, or dealing with mood swings. On top of these, some expecting mothers even have to deal with cramps making them feel worried at the same time. However, it is pretty common during pregnancy.

You might feel these cramps before even knowing that you're pregnant – it is often one of the first signs of pregnancy. These cramps can happen now and then or stick around during all three pregnancy phases.

In the early stages of your pregnancy, it is normal to feel mild cramps in your lower abdomen. Along with your belly, your uterus also turns bigger. It is not a matter of concern until the cramp occurs occasionally and goes away on its own.

Wondering why you get them? Keep reading to find out why, how to tackle it, and if there's anything you need to be careful about.

First Trimester Cramping Causes

Most pregnant women get mild cramps during the first 16 weeks of their pregnancy. However, the causes might differ from trimester to trimester. Here are a few causes of pregnancy cramps during the first trimester.

Growth of the Uterus

The uterus grows quickly in the first two trimesters, causing a pulling sensation in the abdomen as it stretches itself to help accommodate the growing baby.

Implantation Cramping

Some people may experience cramps early in their pregnancy this is because at this time the fertilized egg attaches to the uterus wall. It can feel like the start of a period.

Ectopic Pregnancy

This is a rare condition where cramps can be a sign of ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo sticks to the fallopian tube instead of the uterus, often causing one-sided cramps, bleeding, or shoulder pain.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Hormonal changes during the first trimester can lead to increased gas, bloating, and constipation, causing pregnancy cramps.


Miscarriages often result from abnormal development of the fetus leading to pregnancy cramps. Heavy and continuous bleeding is the first sign of miscarriage.

Also Read:
Pregnancy Complications to Look Out For!

Second Trimester Cramping Causes

Round Ligament Pain

One of the common causes of cramping is Round Ligament Pain, starting around the 13th week. It occurs when ligaments of the uterus stretch, causing a sensation of pain.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

UTIs can also cause pregnancy cramps, along with painful urination and lower abdominal discomfort.

Uterine Fibroids

This is a rare but serious issue leading to pregnancy cramps. It is when the overgrowing tissues start to break down in the second trimester (usually between 15 and 18 weeks), resulting in severe pain.

leading Causes of Leg Cramps During Pregnancy

Third Trimester Cramping Causes

Practice Contractions (Braxton Hicks)

Many pregnant women, in their third-trimester experience cramping, known as Braxton Hicks contractions. These are like "fake" contractions that don't lead to real labor but help your body get ready for delivery.

They last for a shorter period of time and you can always get rid of the pain by changing positions during sleep, drinking water, and taking appropriate rest. Pregnancy pillows work best in such cases.

Possibility of Preterm Labor

If cramping is continuous and doesn't go away within some time, it might be a sign of preterm labor, starting before 37 weeks of pregnancy. If you notice changes in regular contractions, vaginal discharge, or water breaking, contact your healthcare provider right away.

Measures to Get Relief from Pregnancy Cramps

  • Change positions during sleep.
  • Take a break between work and lie down for some time. Also, try using a pregnancy pillow for some extra support. This can help with cramps and aches.
  • Have a warm bath. It helps in regulating the blood flow to the uterus henceforth reducing cramps.
  • Drink lots of water. This can ease cramps caused by dehydration, bloating, or constipation.
  • Use a belly band. This can be useful for cramps caused by round ligament pain in the later stages of pregnancy.


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When Should I Seek for Medical Help?

  • Unbearable pain that doesn't get worse with time
  • Cramps along with stomach problems, vaginal discharge, and bleeding.
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Pain in your lower abdomen along with contractions
  • Cramping in your shoulder or neck

The Bottom Line

measures to Get Relief from Pregnancy Cramps

Feeling cramps during pregnancy is normal, especially during your first trimester. But remember, everyone's body is different, therefore stages and intensity of cramping might also differ. If you are unsure of anything that feels odd or different, talk to your doctor right away. This is extremely important for a healthy and safe pregnancy, especially if you are expecting for the first time.


American Pregnancy Association: Pregnancy Cramps

Healthline: When to be Concerned by Pregnancy Cramps

The Bump: Want to Know About Cramps During Pregnancy