During early pregnancy, you may experience mild twinges or cramping in the uterus. You may also feel aching in your vagina, lower abdomen, pelvic region, or back. It may feel similar to menstrual period cramps.
These minor pains may be caused by different factors like implantation, constipation or gas, or the womb expanding and your ligaments stretching to make room for your baby.
If the pain is mild and goes away on its own, it’s likely nothing to worry about. But any pain along with spotting or heavy bleeding should be reported to your doctor.
Seek emergency care if you experience sharp or chronic pain along with faintness, nausea, high fever or chills, or dizziness.
Read on to learn more about the causes for uterus pain in early pregnancy and when to seek help.
During the first weeks of pregnancy, you likely won’t notice your uterus growing or expanding. But by the 12th week, your uterus stretches and grows to about the size of a grapefruit. If you’re pregnant with twins or multiples, you may feel your uterus stretching sooner.
Symptoms of your uterus stretching may include twinges, aches, or mild discomfort in your uterine or lower abdominal region. This is a normal part of pregnancy and a sign that everything is progressing normally.
Watch for spotting or painful cramping. Report these symptoms to your doctor.
Gas and constipation are common during the first trimester of pregnancy. Levels of hormones in the body increase during pregnancy, which can slow down digestion and relax muscles in the bowels. You may feel additional pressure in the uterus as a result.
Symptoms also include hard, dry stools, or fewer bowel movements than usual.
Some women also experience bloating or gas in the first trimester. This is considered a normal part of pregnancy.
Drink at least 10 cups of water per day to help relieve gas pain and bloating.
For constipation, eat plenty of fiber-rich foods. You can also talk to your doctor about taking a pregnancy-safe stool softener.
Miscarriage is the loss of pregnancy before 20 weeks.
Possible symptoms include:
- vaginal spotting or bleeding
- uterine or pelvic pain
- low back pain
- abdominal pain
- passing tissue or discharge through the vagina
Let your doctor know if you’re experiencing miscarriage symptoms. Once a miscarriage has started, there is no treatment for saving the pregnancy, but in some cases medication or surgery is needed.
Ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg attaches itself in a place other than the inside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes. You may feel sharp, stabbing, or chronic pain on one or both sides of the uterus or abdomen.
Other symptoms include:
- vaginal bleeding that’s heavier or lighter than your normal period
- weakness, dizziness, or fainting
- gastrointestinal or stomach discomfort
Ectopic pregnancy is a medical emergency. Seek immediate emergency medical help if you think you’re experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.
Round ligament pain usually starts in the second trimester, so it’s unlikely to be the cause of pain in early pregnancy. The round ligaments are located in the pelvis and hold the uterus in place. As your belly grows, they stretch.
With round ligament pain, you may experience what feels like a spasm on the right side of your abdomen or right hip. Some pregnant women do feel round ligament pain on both sides, though.
The pain should only last a few seconds or minutes, though it may return when you laugh or do certain movements like standing or bending down.
If you continue to experience round ligament pain, it may be helpful to try light stretching, prenatal yoga, or prenatal massage. Always check with your doctor before trying these treatments, though.
Treatment for uterine pains depends on your symptoms. Mild uterine pain that goes away after a few minutes or hours is likely nothing to worry about.
You can treat mild uterine discomfort at home by taking a warm (not hot) shower or bath, resting, and drinking plenty of water and other fluids. Tell your doctor about your symptoms, as they may recommend another form of treatment that’s safe for your pregnancy.
Sharp, stabbing, or chronic pain along with symptoms like bleeding, shortness of breath, or fever or chills likely requires emergency medical care.
Let medical staff know you’re pregnant and report any symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, or faintness right away. The medical staff will assess your symptoms and may perform an ultrasound.
Seek help if you’re experiencing sharp or chronic uterine pain along with other symptoms like:
- vaginal bleeding
- high fever
If the pain goes away on its own, it likely isn’t a reason for concern, but you should still let your doctor know.
You should also let your doctor know about any mild uterine pain during pregnancy. They can decide if you need to be seen right away or if you can wait until your next scheduled prenatal appointment.
Also, tell your doctor if you’re experiencing uterine pain along with spotting or bleeding. These may be symptoms of a miscarriage. Your doctor can assess your symptoms and determine next steps.
Mild uterine pain during early pregnancy doesn’t always mean something is wrong with the pregnancy. However, pain accompanied by spotting or bleeding should be reported to your doctor. These may be signs that a miscarriage is starting.
Your doctor can assess your symptoms at any point during your pregnancy to determine if you need medical care.