Pain in the abdominal region during pregnancy is a common complaint, as the uterus grows it can cause some discomfort. There are situations in which abdominal pain can be a serious situation. If the pain is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, spotting or bleeding, nausea, vomiting or any discomfort during urination, calling your obstetrician is the best call of action. It is important to be aware of all unusual occurrences during your pregnancy. Pain on the left side of your abdomen during pregnancy can be caused by many conditions. Reading to learn when you should worry.
Common Causes of Pain on Left Side During Pregnancy
1. Implantation Cramping
Implantation cramping can be a common cause of pain on the left side shortly after ovulation. This type of pain should last just one or two days and you may notice some light spotting or bleeding. When your expected period date comes and goes with no appearance of blood, all you have to do is wait just a few days and go get a pregnancy test, good luck there is a good chance you are pregnant.
2. Gas or Bloating
A common cause of pain on the left side during pregnancy is gas and bloating. During pregnancy there are certain hormones that slow down the process of digestion, which can therefore cause gas and bloating to occur. Throughout pregnancy the uterus grows, which in turn allows for increased pressure on your stomach and your intestines, which also results in gas and bloating during this period of time.
Throughout pregnancy, another cause of pain on the left side can be due to constipation. Vitamins and iron supplements can cause constipation during pregnancy. Pressure on the rectum from the growing uterus as well as hormones that are secreted during pregnancy can also result in constipation during this time. The hormones that are secreted during pregnancy slow the digestive system, which in turn can cause constipation to occur.
4. Round Ligament Pain
During the second trimester of pregnancy, one of the most common complaints is round ligament pain, which can affect the left side. The round ligament is one of the several ligaments that surround and support the uterus during pregnancy; it connects the front of the womb to the groin area. This ligament usually tightens and relaxes slowly, but because the uterus grows during pregnancy it allows for this ligament to stretch and any quick movements, sneezing, coughing etc. can therefore cause a sharp, quick pain or in some cases a longer lasting dull ache in the lower abdomen, which can occur on the left side.
5. Braxton Hicks Contractions
Braxton hick’s contractions are a common cause of pain on the left side during the period from mid-pregnancy to thirty-seven weeks. These types of contractions, which are also known as ‘false labor’, are caused from the tightening that occurs in the uterus during this period of pregnancy. They are somewhat painless, but can cause some discomfort and in some cases pain in that lower left region of the abdomen.
Unlike normal contractions, Braxton hick’s come infrequently and irregularly, whereas normal contractions that are signs of labor or premature labor will often be accompanied by lower back pain and they increase with time and come in more regular intervals. In these cases it is necessary to contact your obstetrician and follow their instructions.
Relieve for Pain on Left Side During Pregnancy
There are some easy at home remedies that you can use to help relieve and ease any pain you might experience during pregnancy.
Consume Plenty of Fluids
Lack of fluids or dehydration can cause Braxton Hick’s to occur. It is so very important that pregnant women drink lots and lots throughout their pregnancy.
It is sometimes helpful to simply change the position you are in, the baby may have moved so changing your position can often times make you both more comfortable.
Adding fiber to your diet and exercising on a regular basis can also work. You can discuss trying an over the counter stool softener with your obstetrician, as this can often help to relieve the constipation.
Some women find a massage helpful, in that it not only helps to relieve pain, but it also helps to calm and soothe the body as well.
Warmth can also help, a warm bath heating pad or hot water bottle can often help you. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is ok in moderation.
Video for more: How to Ease Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy
More Serious Causes of Pain on the Left Side During Pregnancy
During your pregnancy, if there is ever a time that you experience severe cramping that lasts more than a day or two, call your obstetrician, it’s probably just gas or the growing uterus, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Below are possible causes of pain on the left side that may pose danger to your pregnancy.
1. Ectopic Pregnancy
Early in pregnancy, a cause for pain on the left side can be due to an ectopic pregnancy, which is when a fertilized egg doesn’t implant inside the uterus. It actually will implant outside of the uterus, in most cases in the fallopian tubes. It is necessary to see a physician if an ectopic pregnancy is suspected, and it is not properly treated it will be life threatening.
Signs and symptoms of ectopic pregnancy include abdominal or pelvic pain or tenderness, pain that increases during rigorous activities, bowel movements or even coughing, pain in the shoulder or vaginal bleeding that is red or brown and can be spotty or continuous. It is however necessary to contact emergency medical services if signs of shock are present or if there is heavy bleeding present. Some signs that indicate shock are pale clammy skin, fainting, dizziness or a racing pulse.
2. Ovarian Cysts
During pregnancy, ovarian cysts are not dangerous, they actually are quite common and usually do not cause any harm to the baby or the pregnant woman. It is important, as with all other side effects, to let your obstetrician know about any cysts, so they can monitor the size of the cyst and to ensure that it does not pose a threat to the woman or her unborn child.
There are some cases in which cysts; generally the larger ones can cause problems. These larger cysts can cause pressure on the woman’s lower abdominal region and if the cyst is large or twisted the obstetrician may decide that it is a good idea to remove it.
Signs and symptoms of ovarian cysts mimic those of pregnancy, such as vomiting, nausea, pain and bloating, therefore obstetrician are specifically careful to monitor women who present with these symptoms and they take extra care to make sure that they do not have ovarian cysts.
If during the first twenty weeks of pregnancy, the pregnancy is lost it is known as a miscarriage. It is extremely important, that with any sign of miscarriage, you call your obstetrician immediately.
Signs and symptoms: There are warning signs of miscarriage, such as bleeding, which can be anywhere from light spotting to heavy bleeding, and cramping, which usually begins shortly after the bleeding and can be anywhere from light cramping to sharp pains that can even feel like lower back pain or pressure in the pelvic region.
4. Pre-Term Labor
Pre-term labor is labor that begins prior to thirty-seven weeks of pregnancy. It is vital that you notify your obstetrician or midwife if any symptoms of pre-term labor occur. In most cases, especially if caught early, pre-term labor can be controlled.
Signs and symptoms of pre-term labor include an onset of new pain in your lower back, cramping or abdominal pain, contractions that occur four or more times in over the period of one hour, spotting or bleeding and vaginal discharge that is different than normal, such as watery, mucus like or bloody.
Another serious cause of pain on the left side during pregnancy is preeclampsia. This complex disorder is due to a combination of symptoms that occur after twenty weeks of pregnancy. Any woman, who experiences any symptoms of preeclampsia, as with any other negative symptoms, should contact their obstetrician immediately.
These symptoms are high blood pressure and protein present in the urine of the client. Signs and symptoms: In mild preeclampsia the woman may present with swelling and puffiness due to water retention, which also may cause the woman to experience an increase in weight that comes on very quickly.
A woman who has a severe case of preeclampsia will experience more severe symptoms, such as headaches, blurred vision, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and severe pain in their abdomen.
6. Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections tend to occur more frequently in pregnant woman. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of these types of infections. If you experience any pain, discomfort or burning while urinating this can indicate the presence of a urinary tract infection.
Signs and symptoms: Other possible symptoms include pain in the pelvic area, in most cases it will be just above the pubic bone, urination that has a foul smell to it, bloody urine and frequently feeling the urge to urinate, even when you have just gone and you know there is barely any urine left in you. If any of these symptoms or a combination of them occurs, you need to call your doctor for a check-up as soon as possible. The sooner you are treated for this the better, because if a urinary tract infection is not treated it can lead to kidney infections or pre-term labor in some cases.
If the urinary tract infection spreads to the kidneys, there are some more severe symptoms that may occur. You may feel pain in your lower back or in your side, pain can also be present in your abdomen, you may have a fever accompanied by chills or sweats, nausea and vomiting can occur and you may experience pus or blood present in your urine.
7. Placental Abruption
An extremely serious life-threatening condition that can occur during pregnancy is placenta abruption. A placenta abruption occurs if your placenta separates, either partially or completely, from your uterus before birth. This is serious and the symptoms can vary greatly.
Signs and symptoms: You may experience bleeding from either sudden spotting to a heavier flow, and in some cases the bleeding may not show until the water breaks. In such a case the amniotic fluid that comes out, when the water breaks, will have a blood mixed in with it, which may just look like pink fluid.
These symptoms can be accompanied by tenderness of the uterus, a decrease in mobility of the fetus, back pain or contraction that comes on frequently. Medical attention is necessary immediately. Don’t wait to call your doctor, go straight to the emergency department as time is of the essence.
8. Other Causes
Other conditions that are common causes of the pain in your left abdomen are as follows:
- Stomach virus
- Food poisoning
- Bowel obstruction
- Kidney stones
- Gall bladder disease or gallstones