With pregnancy comes exhaustion, cravings for random food, mood swings, and a bulky belly. One thing you may not be expecting, however, are cramps. Cramping around 19 weeks is very common and nothing to be concerned about. It can get quite uncomfortable, though. Because of this, here are some explanations as to why you’re cramping, and what you can do to relieve some of the pain or discomfort.
Why are you cramping?
As your baby develops, your body goes through a number of gradual changes, causing you to feel pain, swelling, and cramps as your child gets bigger. The main cause of cramping around the 19-week mark is the stretching of muscles and ligaments in the uterus. Your uterus begins to expand more and more around this time since your baby is growing. While that feeling of tugging on both sides of your lower abdomen can be uncomfortable, it also means that your child is developing and growing. The main ligament of the uterus is the round ligament, and it is typically the main cause of any painful cramping. As this round ligament stretches, it can create either an aching pain or a sharp, tight pain on your sides. The pain should only happen every once in a while but not consistently. If it is, you should consult with your doctor.
Beyond the discomfort caused by the stretching of your uterus, there can be other common causes of your cramping such as:
- Being bloated
- Excess gas
- Extra blood flow to the uterus
- Braxton Hicks contractions, which happen around 20 weeks and are very short, contraction-like pains.
What are some ways to reduce or get rid of cramping?
Depending on the cause of your cramps, there can be a number of ways to reduce the discomfort or completely get rid of it for the time being. Whether you have some severe gas pain, post-sex cramping, or a stretching ligament in your uterus, you can be on your way to a more enjoyable and more comfortable pregnancy with these tips. Some of the most recommended ways to reduce or remove cramping include:
- Gas medicine can quickly and easily resolve any cramping caused from being bloated, being constipated, or having excess gas. Ensure you get any medications approved by your doctor before taking.
- Changing up the position that you’re sitting or lying in can be an effective way to reduce or stop cramping. It will take the pressure off of the painful area and hopefully relieve it.
- A warm bath can help you relieve cramping and relax while you’re at it.
- Drinking more water may help get rid of those annoying pains since dehydration can often be the cause of them. Ensure you are drinking enough water each day.
- Don’t move too suddenly or abruptly. This can cause cramping as the ligaments in your uterus stretch. By changing positions slowly, you’ll give ligaments more time to catch up, which will reduce the chances of cramping.
- Put a warm rag or hot water bottle on the places that hurt. Warm temperatures commonly help reduce cramping.
When are cramps concerning?
While most pregnancy cramps should not be a cause for concern, it is important to see your doctor whenever you feel certain symptoms. There can be a variety of symptoms that come with regular cramping that may mean something more serious is going on. If you experience these symptoms, see your doctor right away. Some of these serious symptoms include:
- Intense pain in the lower abdominal region that lasts for an extended period of time.
- Spotting that comes with painful cramping
- Fever or chills
- Sudden severe headache, swelling, and vision changes
- Painful urination and cramping
- Intense cramping that does not go away
- Heavy bleeding accompanied by intense cramps
These symptoms belong to a variety of conditions and issues that may arise during pregnancy. They are oftentimes accompanied by cramping, so it is important to never dismiss a cramp as nothing serious. Although most cramps are not harmful or life-threatening, it is important to be aware of your body at all times to understand when something is wrong. Some causes of cramping that require immediate medical attention include:
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Placental abruption
- Ectopic pregnancy
While cramps during pregnancy are just another uncomfortable change that an expectant mother endures, it is an important and healthy part of your baby’s development. If you experience any sudden or gradual changes during pregnancy, your best bet is to see your doctor for an expert opinion. They’ll get you set up with the right answers and right solutions to help relieve any issues or pain.
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