What causes cramping in early pregnancy? Early Pregnancy

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When you find out that you're expecting, you could experience a variety of symptoms you never anticipated -- like cramping. Certain twinges and aches might remind you of your period, while others could seem like a red flag and reason to call your health-care provider. The fact of the matter is that cramping can be a normal symptom of early pregnancy for many women. Here, experts and other moms share their knowledge on the subject. 

Check in With Your Doctor

"Mild pelvic discomfort is not unusual in the first trimester of pregnancy. However, when cramping is persistent or there are other symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, it could be a sign of an impending pregnancy loss. It is best to check in with your obstetric provider when you feel this symptom." -- Juliet Mushi, MD, FACOG, obstetrician-gynecologist at Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, Valhalla, New York  

Uterine Stretching Can Cause Discomfort

"In my experience, cramp-like sensations can be attributed to many different factors, most of them harmless -- like when the uterus is expanding to accommodate for the baby's development. And it may be more noticeable when you sneeze, cough, or change positions. Always worth a call to your doctor though, especially if the cramping is accompanied by bleeding." 

Round Ligament Pain Can Feel Like Cramps

"I had cramping early on with all three of my pregnancies, particularly the first. They felt like intense period cramps, and I was terrified that something was wrong. But my doctor explained that it was the round ligaments -- muscles that support the uterus -- stretching, which is totally normal and can actually be super uncomfortable. Apparently, it's usually not as bad in subsequent pregnancies, because the muscles aren't as tight."

Call Your Health-Care Provider If You're Concerned

"I didn't experience this, but I've heard that it's totally normal. Best bet would be to give your doctor's office a call. And don't ever feel bad about calling them. Better to just ask the questions and get a professional than to worry (or Google!) about it!" 

It May Just Be Implantation & Stretching

"I had cramping during both of my pregnancies for the first 12 weeks. I was told it was because of implantation and stretching."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.