Moderate cramping can be a sign of gas, bloating, constipation, or simply an expanding uterus. Round ligament pain is also common in the second trimester due to the strain of the ligament supporting your uterus. These symptoms will cause discomfort and some pain, but if you’re experiencing a pain that’s sharp or intense, it’s possible that it’s a sign of something more serious.
What causes it?
If your pain makes it difficult to breathe or walk, doesn’t go away after a few minutes or after readjusting your body, presents with other symptoms like vaginal bleeding or discharge, fever, vomiting, chills, or just feels overwhelming, it can be classified as intense. Intense cramping that causes sharp pain isn’t normal and can be a sign of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or preterm labor.
Ectopic pregnancy can come with sharp and sudden aches that either come and go or remain constant. It’s common for this pain to occur only on one side of your abdomen. Ectopic pregnancy will sometime present with bleeding, shoulder pain, and weakness or dizziness along with abdominal pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical care immediately.
Preterm labor might present with changes in vaginal discharge, backaches, or diarrhea in addition to abdominal cramping. If you have a history of preterm birth, a short cervix, a short amount of time between pregnancies, or other pregnancy complications, you could be at increased risk of preterm birth. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical care immediately.
There isn’t a way to prevent intense pain or cramping like this because it’s usually a sign of a serious complication. If you’re experiencing intense pain in your abdomen or pelvis, you should seek medical attention.
Learn more about pain management
- “Ectopic Pregnancy.” ACOG. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. August 2011. Web.
- “Preterm (Premature) Labor and Birth. ACOG. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. November 2016. Web.