If you’re experiencing cramping during pregnancy and wonder what it can mean, it may be helpful to broaden your understanding of possible causes before contacting a healthcare professional. The most likely explanation for lower abdominal cramping is round ligament pain which can occur as the muscles and ligaments supporting the uterus expand to accommodate your growing baby.  The stretching and expansion taking place may produce discomfort especially when you change positions, cough, or are physically active.  This type of cramping is considered to be mild and can persist throughout your pregnancy.  You can reduce the discomfort associated with round ligament pain by avoiding uncomfortable positions or cutting back on physical activity. Another possible cause for cramping during pregnancy could be constipation, or other digestive issues brought on by changing hormone levels. Typically there is no need to worry unless the pain is severe, constant, or accompanied by bleeding or other unusual symptoms.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away. You may also experience cramps during pregnancy when you have a full bladder, orgasm, or have a urinary tract infection.  Cramping during early pregnancy is often referred to as implantation cramping, and it can feel like your period is about to begin.  The rapid uterine growth can also lead to cramping as mentioned previously, especially during the first two trimesters of pregnancy. Often women worry about cramping being a sign of miscarriage during early pregnancy, but cramping alone is not indicative of miscarriage, nor does it cause a miscarriage.  The cramping associated with miscarriage is caused when blood and tissue cause irritation when leaving the uterus.  So if you experience cramping accompanied by unusual discharge it could be a sign of miscarriage, and you should seek immediate medical care. Generally in the second trimester you’ll experience less frequent cramping, unless you are carrying multiples, as the uterus is still undergoing rapid growth changes for multiples.  Another possible cause for cramping during pregnancy, albeit rare but serious, are uterine fibroids.  African American women are at greater risk of uterine fibroids, and the cramping associated with this condition can be very severe, and may require hospitalization.   If you experience six or more contractions in one hour, or have a pink discharge then you could be on the cusp of preterm labor, and should seek immediate care.  Other causes for concern in conjunction with cramping include dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea/vomiting, back or abdominal pain, or pain that is not improving. Braxton-Hicks contractions are another type of pregnancy cramping and are named after the doctor who identified these contractions.  Braxton-Hicks contractions are like practice contractions, and serve to prepare your uterus for birth.  These contractions can range from 30 seconds to two minutes long and increase in frequency as well as intensity as your approach your due date approaches.  Sometimes walking around can provide alleviation for this type of cramping. If you want more clarification on what to expect where cramping during pregnancy is concerned, speak to your healthcare professional as it is always a good idea to be prepared. In an effort to prepare yourself post-delivery you may be interested in obtaining a double electric breast pump through insurance.  It is never too early in your pregnancy to see if you qualify for a breast pump through insurance.  Simply submit your details here, and the professionals at Aeroflow Breastpumps will contact you in a few business days to let you know if your insurance policy covers breast pumps as part of your specific plan benefits. While you’re pregnant you have enough to worry about including cramps, so let the experts at Aeroflow Breastpumps take care of you, and submit your information today!