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.
Exposing the gut to chlamydia protects against subsequent infection in the genital tract and other tissues, researchers from UT Health San Antonio discovered. Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease and is associated with and can cause infertility, ectopic pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease if left untreated.
"This research emphasizes the pre-exposure of chlamydia to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract as a vaccine," said Guangming Zhong, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio.
The protection is very robust and is across tissues, which is called transmucosal immunity. Protected sites include the genital tract and the lungs, said Dr. Zhong, whose faculty appointment is in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics.
The discovery, reported Nov. 13, 2017, in Infection and Immunity, indicates that exposing the gut first to chlamydia is a novel avenue to explore in preventing the genital infection. However, when the genital tract is the site of initial chlamydia exposure, a different outcome may result. In this scenario, genital chlamydia spreads to the gut and induces responses that promote further disease in the genital tract. Dr. Zhong hypothesized this disease pattern in a review article published Dec. 27, 2017, in Trends in Microbiology.
Human exposure to chlamydia is unpredictable, perhaps coming through genital or non-genital sexual contact with an infected partner and perhaps via contact with contaminated materials. The UT Health San Antonio scientists are utilizing a mouse model that is a controlled way to study chlamydia transmission.
The team found that if the gut is the first site to be colonized by chlamydia bacteria, then the mice are immunized against further disease. The gut infection is benign. But if the genital tract is the first to be infected, the resulting disease is harmful. This results in a worse disease prognosis, including the possibility of infertility because the disease is advanced before symptoms are evident.
"If you are exposed to chlamydia in the GI tract first, it's a vaccine, but if you are exposed in the genital tract first, you may have enhanced disease," Dr. Zhong said.
A probiotic for the gut
Dr. Zhong is exploring the possibility that Chlamydia trachomatis, the bacterium that causes chlamydia, could be delivered orally as a vaccine.
"We take probiotics for our GI health," Dr. Zhong said. "In the future, we may add chlamydia as a probiotic for the gut. Once the bacteria are established in the GI tract, they don't spread."
About 1.6 million cases of chlamydia were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016. Because many individuals have no symptoms and don't get tested, the number of annual cases is estimated to be as high as 2.8 million.
Chlamydia is especially common among young people, and the CDC estimates 1 in 20 sexually active young women age 14-24 have the STD.
Source https://www.sciencedaily.com : Luying Wang, Cuiming Zhu, Tianyuan Zhang, Qi Tian, Nu Zhang, Sandra Morrison, Richard Morrison, Min Xue, Guangming Zhong. Nonpathogenic Colonization with Chlamydia in the Gastrointestinal Tract as Oral Vaccination for Inducing Transmucosal Protection. Infection and Immunity, 2018; 86 (2): e00630-17 DOI: 10.1128/IAI.00630-17
Take any two cells from your body and there's a good chance their genetic sequences will be a match. That is, unless you happen to have what's referred to in the medical literature as a 'tetragametic chimerism' – a condition that causes separate fertilised embryos to merge into a single body.
Once thought to be rare among humans, there's good reason to suspect we might be seeing a lot more of it in the future.
The truth is, nobody is really certain how many humans have cells in their body that once belonged to a sibling.
Unlike the transplantation of a fully developed organ into a grown body, the presence of genetically distinct cells early in life won't trigger alarm bells in the immune system.
That makes it possible for two (or more) fertilised eggs – siblings, for all purposes – to bump into one another in the uterus, and mistake their new neighbour for another cell in their own growing body. Far from rejecting each other, the cells team up and continue to build a single human.
The tides of hormones and other chemical signals directing the embryo's evolution tend to affect the two cells in pretty much the same way, making it hard to spot where one developing tissue ends and another begins.
On occasion, however, the different sets of genes do make themselves known.
Increased reliance on assisted reproductive technologies means we can expect more multiple conceptions.
Just how many of these embryonic siblings merge into a single person is far from clear. Given how little we know about either its prevalence or how it might be responsible for anything from allergies to auto-immune disorders, this could be concerning.
But no doubt it's a topic we'll be learning more about in coming years.
Petrina Duncan, Obstetrician, Gynaecologist, and mother. Writes about events, news issues and health issues.