What You Should Know about Upper Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy

It is normal for a woman's body to go through changes during pregnancy. She will experience upper abdominal pain during pregnancy because her body must accommodate the growing baby. Most causes of abdominal pain are harmless; however, some of them are very serious. If you are an expectant mother, you should educate yourself about the causes of upper abdominal pain pregnancy. This will help you know which symptoms of abdominal pain are of serious concern.

Abdominal Pain Causes

First, we will highlight some types of abdominal pain that are common during pregnancy, and which will neither harm you nor your baby. 

Common Discomforts: It very common for an expectant mother to feel typical abdominal discomforts. They pose no threat to you or your baby. They might be as a result of food sensitivities, fibroids, kidney stones, stomach viruses, and your growing uterus.

Braxton Hicks Contractions: These are mild pains and will not harm your baby. Your stomach will feel a little bit hard due to tightening of the muscles. However, you should know the difference between true contractions and Braxton Hicks. True contractions are more painful and can last for a longer period of time. They also take away your breath, making it very difficult for you to carry out normal daily activities. Dehydration is the most common cause of Braxton Hicks contractions; therefore, doctors advise expectant mothers to drink more water than usual.

Gas and Constipation: A high level of progesterone causes gas during pregnancy. It is a hormone whose increased release slows down your gastrointestinal tract. Thus, the pace at which food is digested in normal circumstances is compromised. The best way to deal with constipation and gas is to use stool softeners, exercise, eat fiber-rich food, and drink lots of water.

Round Ligament Pain: When you experience a sharp stabbing pain upon changing your sitting or sleeping position, this is usually round ligament pain. The pain occurs in the two large ligaments located between the groin and uterus. The ligaments get stretched when the uterus grows, causing discomfort. However, it is yet another harmless upper abdominal pain during pregnancy.

Serious Pains

Now, we will highlight five types of serious abdominal pain that may occur during pregnancy. They are also included in the list of  36 weeks pregnant symptoms not to ignore. You should consult your doctor urgently in case you experience the following types of pain.

Preeclampsia: This is a condition that occurs due to high amounts of protein in urine and also as a result of high blood pressure. It occurs after twenty weeks of gestation. It is an upper abdominal pain during pregnancy that occurs on the right side of your body, just under the ribs. You may experience increased pressure on your abdomen, vomiting, and nausea.

Urinary Tract Infection: It is easy for your doctor to treat a urinary infection if reported early enough; however, it can cause complications if ignored. The typical symptoms of UTIs are a burning sensation during urination, discomfort, and pain. It can cause pain in the lower back, under the rib cage, and above the pelvic bone. You may also experience chills, sweat, nausea, or fever.

Miscarriage: Miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss. Unfortunately, one in every five pregnancies ends in miscarriage. It is also known as "spontaneous abortion", and it mostly occurs during the first thirteen weeks. There are different signs of miscarriage; for example, a sudden decrease in signs of pregnancy, tissues passing from the vagina, bright red or brown bleeding, true contractions after intervals of five to twenty minutes, and severe or mild back pain.  

Placental Abruption: Placental Abruption is a life-threatening condition caused by separation of the placenta from the uterus before the baby's birth. The most common symptom is constant pain that keeps the stomach hard, and with no relief. Premature breakage of water or bloody fluid are others signs of placental abruption. Other symptoms include discharge of fluid containing blood, back pain, and tenderness in the abdomen.

Ectopic Pregnancy: Ectopic Pregnancy is experienced in one out of around fifty pregnancy loss cases. It takes place when the egg is implanted in the fallopian tube rather than the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy requires urgent medical attention. Bleeding and intense pain between the sixth and tenth week,  are the key symptoms of ectopic pregnancy.