Causes of stomach tightening during each trimester
Stomach-tightening is one such symptom that many women experience during pregnancy.There are many reasons for the stomach or abdomen to tighten during pregnancy, and these may vary, depending on the trimester. Of course speaking to your chosen health care provider is always recommended if any concern is experienced.
The first trimester has many factors that can cause stomach tightening and pains including:
During the first trimester, the uterus is growing and stretching rapidly to accommodate the growing fetus. This can cause abdominal cramping or sharp, stabbing, or shooting pains along the side of the abdomen, as the ligaments and other tissues stretch.
Wind Pain or constipation
Gas pain is a very common problem throughout pregnancy. It can cause cramping or shooting pain in the abdomen, and it can be very painful. Constipation is also a common complaint in early pregnancy. The changing pregnancy hormones can slow down the gastrointestinal tract.
Also, the iron in some prenatal vitamins can harden stool and make it difficult to go to the bathroom. Both gas and constipation can sometimes make it feel as if the stomach is tightening. Should you have any concerns about being able to have your bowels open you should share your concerns with your chosen health professional.
This of course is the major concern for anyone experiencing abdominal discomfort. As you can see there are many reasons for abdomen pain, most are irritations that can be aided away or will naturally resolve however, tightening of the abdomen can signal a miscarriage, which is the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks.
A miscarriage is most common before the 12th week of pregnancy. Other signs of a miscarriage include:
Stretching, cramping, and stabbing pain along the sides of the uterus often continues into the second trimester, and is known as round ligament pain. The round ligaments are located on either side of the uterus and connect the uterus to the groin.
During pregnancy, the ligaments stretch as the uterus grows, which can cause the sharp pain. This pain commonly occurs with changes in position, such as sitting to standing or bending down.
Most women start to feel their uterus contract and periodically tighten some time during the second trimester, the point in their pregnancy between 14 to 28 weeks. These are known as Braxton-Hicks contractions, false labor, or practice contractions.
The purpose of Braxton-Hicks contractions is for the uterus to prepare for the hard work of labor and delivery. It is thought that they help to tone the muscle in the uterus and promote blood flow to the placenta.
Braxton-Hicks contractions are normal and very common. They typically last for around 30 to 60 seconds but can be as long as 2 minutes. They are not as painful as regular contractions, but can still cause considerable pain and discomfort.
Braxton-Hicks contractions can be exacerbated by sex (particularly orgasm), dehydration, retaining urine and poor urination habits as well as baby activity.
Braxton-Hicks contractions are common during pregnancy, mention them to your chosen health professional at your antenatal visits. This can help in reassuring that they are braxton hicks and not signs of pre-term labour. To assist in ensuring they are B-Hicks and not worrying signs of early labour it is essential that you inform your chosen health care provider of
Braxton-Hicks contractions may increase in strength.Stomach-tightening associated with Braxton-Hicks contractions increases in strength and frequency during the third trimester. These contractions are especially common during the last few weeks of pregnancy as the uterus prepares for birth.
However, it is still important to notice and keep track of them. If a woman has more than a few in an hour, she should inform her chosen health provider.
In the third trimester things that can assist with pains and contractions include:
Maintaining hydration, drinking water and resting. Ensuring full bladder emptying and not holding on to a full bladder. Positional changes and considerations. Using immersion in a warm bath or warm shower to relieve muscle stresses.
Again, you should have a relationship with your chosen health professional to be able to discuss any concerns or changes that are occuring in your pregnancy.
Labor vs. Braxton-Hicks contractions.Often Braxton Hicks contractions are not regular in strength or frequency but will eventually develop into contractions of labour that are. Labour contractions are not relieved so readily by positional change and rudimentary observations of hydration and position. It is of benefit to discuss any concerns with your chosen health professional.
Petrina Duncan, Obstetrician, Gynaecologist, and mother. Writes about events, news issues and health issues.