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Cramps During Early Pregnancy

Dr. Michael C. Bartfield, M.D., F.A.C.OG.

One of the more frequent calls and panic-filled moments for many women involves pelvic discomfort during the first weeks of pregnancy. For most, early cramping is a normal process that takes place as the blastocyst establishes itself within the uterine lining, along with the growth and stretching of the uterine muscle and supportive structures (ligaments) that hold the uterus and cervix in place. For others, it could be a sign of an early miscarriage or an abnormally implanted pregnancy.

 

Cramps during pregnancy

 

An obstetric provider will ask a series of questions to determine the level of concern for an intrauterine versus an ectopic (outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube) pregnancy. These questions may include:

  • How far along is the pregnancy?
  • How long has the cramping been going on – is it intermittent, rhythmic, or constant?
  • Are there any gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea or constipation?
  • Is there any pain with urination?
  • Is there a history of a pelvic infection?
  • Is there a history of fallopian tube surgery?
  • Is there a history of early pregnancy losses or ectopic pregnancy?
  • Is there a medical condition present that may predispose a woman to an early miscarriage?
  • Is there any bleeding along with the cramping?
  • What is the patient’s blood type and Rh (positive or negative) factor?

After gathering this information, patients may anticipate having a physical exam to evaluate cervical bleeding and possible dilatation (opening) of the cervix. An ultrasound may be ordered to determine whether the early pregnancy is correctly dated, if it is a pregnancy within the uterus, and if it is viable (having a normal heart rate). A woman’s blood pregnancy hormone may need to be serially drawn. This is to evaluate whether an early pregnancy is progressing normally, when it is too early to identify anything on ultrasound. Depending on any early bleeding, a provider may recommend that a woman who is Rh negative receive medication that blocks the reaction against any possible fetal Rh positive blood cells. The answers often require more than one visit.

 

The views expressed herein are solely the views of Dr. Michael C. Bartfield, M.D., F.A.C.OG. and do not necessarily reflect the views of TherapeuticsMD, Inc. or any of its affiliates. This information is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.  Always consult a qualified healthcare provider for medical advice.

Cramps During Early Pregnancy

11/23/2015 - Contributed by: Dr. Michael C. Bartfield, M.D., F.A.C.OG.

One of the more frequent calls and panic-filled moments for many women involves pelvic discomfort during the first weeks of pregnancy. For most, early cramping is a normal process that takes place as the blastocyst establishes itself within the uterine lining, along with the growth and stretching of the uterine muscle and supportive structures (ligaments) that hold the uterus and cervix in place. For others, it could be a sign of an early miscarriage or an abnormally implanted pregnancy.

 

Cramps during pregnancy

 

An obstetric provider will ask a series of questions to determine the level of concern for an intrauterine versus an ectopic (outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube) pregnancy. These questions may include:

  • How far along is the pregnancy?
  • How long has the cramping been going on – is it intermittent, rhythmic, or constant?
  • Are there any gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea or constipation?
  • Is there any pain with urination?
  • Is there a history of a pelvic infection?
  • Is there a history of fallopian tube surgery?
  • Is there a history of early pregnancy losses or ectopic pregnancy?
  • Is there a medical condition present that may predispose a woman to an early miscarriage?
  • Is there any bleeding along with the cramping?
  • What is the patient’s blood type and Rh (positive or negative) factor?

After gathering this information, patients may anticipate having a physical exam to evaluate cervical bleeding and possible dilatation (opening) of the cervix. An ultrasound may be ordered to determine whether the early pregnancy is correctly dated, if it is a pregnancy within the uterus, and if it is viable (having a normal heart rate). A woman’s blood pregnancy hormone may need to be serially drawn. This is to evaluate whether an early pregnancy is progressing normally, when it is too early to identify anything on ultrasound. Depending on any early bleeding, a provider may recommend that a woman who is Rh negative receive medication that blocks the reaction against any possible fetal Rh positive blood cells. The answers often require more than one visit.

 

The views expressed herein are solely the views of Dr. Michael C. Bartfield, M.D., F.A.C.OG. and do not necessarily reflect the views of TherapeuticsMD, Inc. or any of its affiliates. This information is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.  Always consult a qualified healthcare provider for medical advice.