Cramps during your first trimester

Since you found out you were pregnant you’ve been floating on cloud 9. But these little persistent cramps make you worry and are throwing a shadow on your happiness!

Lower abdominal pain or cramps are actually very common during pregnancy and most women will at one time or another feel some discomfort without there being a reason to worry about something being wrong.

Your uterus is growing!

The pain you are feeling in the lower abdomen is most often associated with your uterus expanding, a phenomenon known as the pelvic ligament syndrome which you can recognize with these typical symptoms:

  • Cramps in the lower abdomen
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain is intensified by movements
Gas and constipation

It might be a little embarrassing, but many moms have wrongly believed they had cramps or even contractions when in fact the pain they were feeling was some gas or discomfort caused by constipation. If you think this may be your case, try to take smaller meals rich in fiber at regular intervals during the day and drink plenty of fluids. To prevent this from happening, avoid foods that are too spicy, acidic, carbonated or fried.


If your cramps persist, intensify or are accompanied by bleeding or a gradual loss of your pregnancy symptoms, it might be that the pain you are feeling is caused by a miscarriage. The loss of a pregnancy usually occurs before the twentieth week of gestation and affects about 20% to 30% of recognized pregnancies.

It’s always advisable to contact your doctor if your cramps are continuous, if they are accompanied by other symptoms such as bleeding or if your belly is contracting at regular intervals.

Ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancies are rare, occurring in about 2% of all pregnancies in North America. In an ectopic pregnancy, the egg attaches itself outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. The symptoms tend to vary from one person to another but may include:

  • Strong and constant pain
  • Bleeding
  • Dizziness or loss of consciousness

Sources: Santé-mé,, Agence de la santé publique du Canada, L’avortement spontané de l’Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Canoé-Santé : Dossier Grossesse

Image de Mariem Melainine

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