If you feel cramps in your abdomen (the area around your stomach), don't panic right away. Sometimes cramping is nothing more than a gentle reminder to take it easy, and at other times it might be a sign of digestive problems. Occasionally, however, cramping can be an emergency signal that says you need medical attention.
The muscles and ligaments that support your uterus are being pulled and stretched in all directions during pregnancy. This can cause occasional cramping. The pain might be mild or sharp. It might be particularly noticeable when you make a quick move, get up out of a chair, cough, or sneeze. This is nothing to worry about. Some women get cramps when they exercise and put additional stress on muscles and ligaments that are already strained. If you feel cramps while exercising, listen to your body. Stop and rest. This is not the time to work through pain.
Cramps can also remind you to watch what you eat. As in your prepregnancy days, poor digestion will cause cramps. If you overeat or eat the wrong foods, you might feel stomach cramps. If you are constipated, you will feel cramps that can be very painful.
Sometimes cramps are a danger signal that shouldn't be ignored. There are three specific medical conditions that are usually accompanied by cramping:
If your cramps are severe and/or persistent, call your doctor immediately.
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth © 2004 by Michele Isaac Gliksman, M.D. and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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