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Uterine tenderness when pregnant

Uterine tenderness is a feeling of soreness or discomfort in the womb during pregnancy.

What causes it?

There are a multitude of factors that may lead to uterine tenderness. These include:

  • Growing baby: Probably the most common, and certainly the most common sense cause for uterine tenderness is your growing baby. Babies tend to have plenty of room to splash around in the womb during the first and second trimesters, but they can really crowd your uterus by the time the third trimester rolls around.
  • Growing Womb: Even before a baby gets too big for their apartment (first trimester, early second), you may notice some uterine tenderness. If all else is well, this mild cramping feeling may simply be due to your expanding uterus. Some women are simply more sensitive to slight changes in their bodies.
  • Placental Abruption: A rare complication of pregnancy, a placental abruption describes the condition in which the placental lining separates from the uterus. Placental abruptions may result in uterine tenderness, and can be very dangerous if left untreated, so you should call your healthcare provider immediately if you notice any additional symptoms like vaginal bleeding, contractions, or decreased fetal movement.
  • Infection: Although most uterine tenderness is safe, there is a chance that it could be due to an infection.


Women who experience uterine tenderness may feel more comfortable on their left sides, which may help relieve some pressure. If your discomfort becomes more intense, constant, or comes at regular intervals, call your healthcare provider so that he or she can rule out any further problems.

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Read more
  • “Placental abruption.” March of Dimes. March of Dimes, 1/12/2015. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Stadd. “Placental abruption.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 12/13/2014. Web.
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