Menstrual-Type Cramps During Pregnancy – Are They Normal?

Abdominal pain in general is not entirely uncommon during pregnancy. During the early stages of pregnancy, it is possible that a woman will have an episode or two of light spotting or bleeding, and this may be accompanied by mild menstrual-type cramping pain. Beyond this, however, menstrual-type cramps during pregnancy are not generally considered normal and can be a sign of a problem.

It is important to remember that sever or persistent pain in the abdomen is never normal, whether or not you are pregnant. On the other hand, pain that is mild and infrequent is very common. Many pregnant women, for example, will experience some degree or another of cramping after an orgasm.

Stomach pain during pregnancy can have a variety of causes. Sometimes, this pain will resemble menstrual-type cramps. Gas and bloating, for example, are very common during pregnancy. Constipation is another common cause of abdominal pain for a pregnant woman. A brief, stabbing pain on one side of the abdomen or the other that occurs during the second trimester can be caused by round ligament pain. This is pain caused when the ligaments that support your uterus begin to become thicker and stretchier to help support your growing uterus.

Menstrual-type cramps during pregnancy can be indicative of a variety of problems. If your cramping is preceded by bleeding, either light or heavy, and if the cramping is rhythmic, you may be having or may have had a miscarriage. This type of spotting followed by cramping can also be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. In either case, you should contact your health care provider, as an untreated miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy can be very dangerous.

Later on in pregnancy, these types of cramps can be a sign of preterm or premature labor. This type of cramping will also generally be preceded by a vaginal discharge that is bloody, pink, watery, or mucus-like. If you have strong or persistent menstrual-type cramping during pregnancy, you should talk to your health care provider right away to determine if there is a problem of some sort.