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Abdominal pain during pregnancy: Should you be worried?

Abdominal pain during pregnancy is worrisome when it occurs constantly and can signal complications. Here are some warning signs to look out for.

stomach ache pregnancy Don’t ignore abdominal pain during pregnancy. (Source: Getty Images)

By Dr Amar Singh Chundawat

Some abdominal pain during pregnancy is considered normal, but can be bothersome when it occurs constantly. Abdominal pain is considered obvious in pregnancy and why not, since the mother’s organs are shifting and ligaments stretching simultaneously as the uterus expands. However, abdominal pain can be serious too and here are some of the warning signs to look out for:

  • When abdominal pain is accompanied by vomiting, fever, chills and abnormal vaginal bleeding.
  • If the abdominal pain is continual, considering round ligament pain only stays for a few minutes at the most.
  • If the abdominal pain makes it difficult to walk, speak or even breathe.

Such abdominal pains can lead to major consequences, include the following:


According to Health Management Information System (HMIS) across India, 5.55 lakh miscarriages have been recorded from April 2017 until March 2018, of which 4.7 lakh occurred in government hospitals. Abdominal pain plays a vital role in miscarriages.

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The signal includes every 5-20 minutes of recurring contractions, back pain, bleeding with or without cramps, mild or sharp cramping, unexpected depletion in other symptoms of pregnancy.

Premature birth

Premature birth occurs between the 24th and 37th weeks of pregnancy. The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth by World Health Organisation in collaboration with others reports peg preterm births in India at 3,519,100, almost 24 percent of the total number. As data indicates, India tops the list of 10 nations contributing 60 percent of the world’s premature deliveries. Doctors and gynaecologists suggest that pregnant women to go for regular medical checkups during pregnancy.


After 20 weeks of pregnancy, women witness high blood pressure, and women’s urine can also contain protein. It can slow down the growth of the baby, as high blood pressure can cause constriction of blood vessels in the uterus. There are multiple symptoms like headaches, nausea, swelling, stomach pain and visual disturbances.


Urinary Tract Infections

Bacterial infections can cause Urinary Tract Infections, which can affect the urinary tract. UTI leads to infection in the urethra, bladder and even kidneys. Symptoms that accompany this condition can include irritation in the genital area, urge to urinate, burning sensations during urination and back pain. According to studies, UTI can be prevented by regular consumption of cranberries.


During pregnancy, infection of the appendix leads to surgery in pregnancy. It occurs due to the physical changes in the body. According to doctors, it is easy to diagnose in the first and second trimesters. There are associated symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, vomiting and lack of appetite.


Gallstones are a common problem during pregnancy due to extra oestrogen. Symptoms that can lead to gallstones are being overweight, having crossed the age of 35, and a medical history of stones.


Ectopic pregnancy

Women experience major complication of severe abdominal pain when the egg is implanted at a place other than uterus. Ectopic pregnancy brings pain and bleeding between the 6th and 10th weeks of pregnancy. Women are at greater risk if they have undergone endometriosis, tubal ligation and intrauterine device at the time of conception.

Precautions to be taken during Pregnancy:

  • Rest after immediate pain.
  • Take warm water bath for lower stomach pain.
  • Use a hot water bottle for reducing pain sensation.
  • Take special precautions for stomach viruses and food poisoning.
  • Make sensible food choices.

While most abdominal pain is not considered worrisome, women should keep an eye on warning signs associated with abdominal pains and contact the doctor without delay.

(The writer is Senior Surgeon, Narayan Seva Sansthan.)

First published on: 08-02-2019 at 09:00:26 am
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