Understanding Pregnancy Cramps and Why they Occur

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pregnancy cramps

Cramping is easily the most common complaint I hear from my patients during their pregnancies.

Pregnancy CrampsThe uterus is a muscle, and when there is increased pressure, you will feel cramps as that uterine muscle is tightening in response to pressure. The pressure happens most frequently on the lower side of your abdomen when the baby is around 30 weeks or older, or when baby is moving a lot.

Keep in mind that cramping is something most moms will feel in the first trimester, especially if you are not drinking enough water, which can be difficult if you have nausea and/or vomiting.  As mentioned, it is normal to feel this cramping around 30 weeks, because the baby is usually at least three-to-four pounds and putting a lot of pressure on your lower abdomen.

Often, just drinking water and resting will help ease pregnancy cramps.

The best way to tell if your cramping is “normal” is to pay attention to your entire body. If you have first trimester cramping that is painful and accompanied by bleeding, you need to see your doctor. If you are feeling cramping associated with contractions, bleeding or gushes of fluid as if your water broke, it’s also best to call your doctor.

Tamsen Carson, PA


Tamsen Carson is an OB/GYN physician assistant with Renown Health. She provides essential prenatal, pregnancy and post-pregnancy care to women, including delivering babies. Tamsen completed her OB/GYN Physician Assistant residency at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, CA and has been a part of the Renown Health team for more than five years.

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