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Why does my belly ache now that I am pregnant?

If you’re pregnant, your belly can ache. Where does this ache come from? And when do I have to call a doctor?

Yeah, it's one of those things on the ailments list, belly ache when you’re pregnant. Did you think you wouldn’t have a belly ache, if you don’t have your period for nine months? Are you still sitting on the couch, with a hot-water bottle? Nobody is happy with a belly ache, but fortunately it’s often nothing to worry about. Well what’s this all about then?

Harmless belly ache when you are pregnant

Pain during implantation The first days or weeks of your pregnancy, you can already feel your belly ache. Immediately a lot happens in your belly. The fertilized egg cell lodges in the wall of the uterus, and the placenta begins its development. The implantation can cause belly ache or cramps in your lower part of the belly, and after a while they disappear on their own. Sometimes you can have some vaginal bleeding or brown discharge. This is normally just a little, and shouldn't take more than one or two days to disappear. Blood loss usually occurs, before you should’ve started your period. However, it can still happen around your non-period day.

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Constipation and flatulence Consider the Lion King's hot tub scene. Yep, that's the new state of your gastrointestinal system. The hormone progesterone slows down your intestines, causing more gases to accumulate in your belly. It can also cause blockage, you can go to the toilet less often, and if you have to, then possibly with a little extra effort (ouch)! When you’re pregnant all that extra gas, can cause you quite a bit of belly ache. You usually feel the intestinal complaints in the lower part of your belly button.

Organs make way for your baby Your baby grows for nine months, and your uterus grows with him. Your belly keeps expanding on the outside, to make room for your baby. Yet your organs also have to make way, they shift a little, and that causes some pressure. Because of this movement your intestines can get stuck for example. When you’re pregnant, you feel this ache in the top of your belly, and possibly in your flank. The further you’re in your pregnancy, the more your organs shift. Growing ache or pelvic girdle ache During your pregnancy, your uterus grows very quickly. In the beginning, it’s more or less the size of a pear. By your due date, it will be about the size of a watermelon! Your uterus is held in place in your belly by bands (ligaments). These straps, must therefore be able to withstand a lot of load. Fortunately, they’re made for that, but that doesn’t mean that holding a watermelon in place is acheless. It can cause pulling or stabbing ache in the lower belly, just above your groin. Rather more on the left side and/or right side of your belly, then in the middle. Ache complaints in your back It could be that your back is stuck, because your muscles are tense or because they’re not strong enough, to properly support your new body. These back problems, can cause you to feel belly ache. This is called referred ache. Referred ache: Is an ache you feel in a different place in your body, than where the cause is. Practice contractions These "labor warm-ups", are also called Braxton-Hicks contractions or just hard bellies. You can notice this quite early or only very late. Your uterus is a muscle and with these practice contractions, your uterus trains itself as it were. You notice your belly getting hard when this happens. It may feel a little uncomfortable, but it will not cause ache. However, if you often have a hard belly, you may need to drink more water. Magnesium also helps to reduce hard bellies, and also has many other benefits during your pregnancy. Do you feel stitches or cramps, and are they getting worse, is there a pattern? Then call the midwife immediately. It may be that your delivery has started (too early).

Serious causes of belly ache when you’re pregnant

When you’re pregnant, you have about the same risk of belly ache, unrelated to your pregnancy, as non-pregnant women. Examples include: Appendicitis or stomach flu, but you probably, don't read this blog for that. We therefore only give you, those conditions that are associated with being pregnant. Bladder infection You can suffer from this more often, when you’re pregnant. When you give your urine during the supervision, this is checked for bladder infections. You’ve belly ache (in your bladder) just above your pubic bone. The symptoms for this may be: Increased urination and cloudy urine or blood in the urine. It’s also possible that your urine suddenly smells different, and that it hurts when you urinate. Bladder infection can travel to your kidneys, and even lead to septic shock, if you don't receive treatment. You can consult with your doctor, if you can try the use of CYS-CONTROL, instead of an antibiotics course (also for vegans). In addition to the harmful bacteria, antibiotics also kill the good bacteria in your body, and you really need them. Especially if you’re pregnant. If you take antibiotics more often, the bacteria may become more resistant. They will no longer die from the antibiotics. Ectopic Pregnancy Sometimes, a fertilized egg ends up outside of your uterus, and settles in somewhere else, usually in your fallopian tube. You’re pregnant, but the egg cannot continue to grow. For you this is a dangerous and sad situation. You often, only feel this belly ache on one side of your lower belly or in your pelvis. As the embryo grows, the pain increases. You can also suddenly get severe belly ache in your lower belly, nausea, vomiting and light-headedness can also occur. This could mean your fallopian tube has ruptured. Blood then ends up in the cavity of your belly. Pregnancy poisoning Pregnancy poisoning is a collective term, for pre-eclampsia, eclampsia and HELLP syndrome. One of the symptoms of this, is upper belly ache. It can occur acutely, but it can also progress more slowly. You can also retain a lot of water, have a headache, urinate little and see asterisks. Pre-poisoning causes an increased breakdown of red blood cells, a shortage of platelets and your liver no longer works properly. This can be very dangerous, for the mommy to be and the baby. If you recognize these symptoms, call your midwife immediately. You will remain under close surveillance, often with hospitalization. Miscarriage The risk of miscarriage is the greatest, during the first twelve weeks of your pregnancy. You sometimes, lose brown discharge for a few days, but in most cases, you lose bright red blood, and you can also lose tissue. Usually you get belly ache and cramps or a stabbing ache, often this ache resembles period ache. In this case too, you call the midwife. If, in combination with these complaints, you also have a loss of pregnancy symptoms, such as: Nausea and tense breasts. Then it’s more likely, that it’s indeed a miscarriage. The placenta is coming off Bleeding, can partially or completely detach your placenta. Your baby, will then receive too little or no oxygen at all. The release of the placenta, is accompanied by severe constant belly ache, in your lower belly (where the placenta is), that keeps getting worse. You can have a hard belly or, a hard belly that no longer relaxes at all. You can also lose blood, in this case always call the midwife. When to call We advise you, to always contact your midwife, in case of doubt or serious complaints. That's what they’re for. If you think something is wrong, that's reason enough to call. Better safe than sorry, even if you've already called three times this week Always call your midwife, if you suffer from the following complaints:
  • Fever and chills
  • Severe and/or long-lasting belly ache
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Light-headedness
  • Painful urination
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Loss of blood

What to do against harmless belly ache

  • Heat helps your body to relax. So, take a relaxing bath or take a hot-water bottle with you.
  • You can do gentle breathing exercises, so that you can’t cramp up, when you’re in pain, because that causes even more pain. Breathing exercises, allow you to focus on something other than the pain, and it allows your body to let go.
  • In case of constipation, you can rub slow circles clockwise over your belly, with warm oil.
  • If you have a bloated belly, try this: Sit in the crawling position, instead of leaning on your hands, lean on your elbows. With your buttocks in the air, this allows gas to escape from your intestines more quickly. Also pay attention to what you eat, beans and onions, for example, cause more gas formation. So, you can better reduce it, if you have a lot of trouble.
  • You can talk to your midwife, about any natural remedies, that are safe for you and your baby.

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