Are cramps in pregnancy normal?
It’s completely understandable to worry about stomach pain in pregnancy and be anxious about this being a sign of miscarriage. But stomach pains or cramps are common in pregnancy and usually nothing to worry about.
Mild stomach pain in early pregnancy (during the first 12 weeks) is usually caused by your womb expanding, the ligaments stretching as your bump grows, hormones constipation or trapped wind. It may sometimes feel like a ‘stitch’ or mild period pain. It’s is probably nothing to worry about if the pain is mild and goes away when you change position, have a rest, do a poo or pass wind.
You may also feel light period-like discomfort or cramps at the end of your pregnancy. This is nothing to worry about, but call your midwife if you have any concerns.
When should I report stomach pain in pregnancy?
Stomach pain can be very worrying for pregnant women. Pain can make you fear the worst, such as a miscarriage. It’s important to listen to your own instincts. If you are worried about any pains you’re having, or you just feel like something is wrong, contact your midwife. Don’t be concerned about wasting anyone’s time. It’s always best to get things checked out.
What stomach pain and cramps should I look out for in pregnancy?
Most stomach pain and cramps in pregnancy are nothing to worry about. But there are some symptoms you should know about as they could be a sign of something more serious.
If you feel any of the following pains, even if you're not experiencing any of the other symptoms listed, call your midwife, doctor or hospital immediately.
Severe pain on one side of the lower stomach in early pregnancy
This pain could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. Other symptoms may include:
- pain in the tip of your shoulder
- brown discharge
- feeling faint or dizzy
- discomfort when pooing or weeing.
Severe cramps in your stomach with or without bleeding that lasts for several hours
This could be a sign of a miscarriage or placental abruption.
Regular painful contractions/cramps before 37 weeks
This could be a sign of premature labour, especially if you also have:
- either a slow trickle or a gush of clear or pinkish fluid from the vagina or any increase in vaginal discharge
- backache that’s unusual for you
- cramps like strong period pains
- a feeling of pressure in the lowest part of your stomach (pelvis).
Severe pain in your stomach that doesn’t go away
This pain could be a sign of placental abruption. Other symptoms may include:
- tenderness when you press your stomach
- back pain with or without bleeding.
Pain in the upper stomach
Pain just under the ribs is common in later pregnancy because your baby is growing and the uterus is pushing up under the ribs. But if this pain is bad or persistent, particularly on the right side, it can be a sign of pre-eclampsia. Other symptoms may include:
- a sudden increase in swelling in your face, hands or feet
- a very bad headache or a dull headache that won’t go away
- problems with your vision, such as blurring or flashing lights
- vomiting or just generally feeling unwell.
Pre-eclampsia usually develops in the second half of pregnancy (from around 20 weeks).
Lower stomach pain or dull back pain
Call your midwife if you have this pain and one or more of the following:
These are symptoms of an urinary tract infection. It's not an emergency but should be treated as soon as possible.
What other kind of stomach pain should I expect?
Braxton Hicks contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions are a sign that the muscles of your womb are tightening. This can happen from as early as 16 weeks, but are more common in later pregnancy.
Braxton Hicks’ contractions are:
- irregular (more than 10 minutes apart)
- uncomfortable more than painful.
Contractions/cramps after 37-40 weeks could be a sign of the early stages of labour. This is called latent phase of labour.
Read about our pregnancy insider's experience of aches and pains during pregnancy.
Having more vaginal discharge during pregnancy is common, but speak to your midwife or doctor if you are unsure about any increase or change in your vaginal discharge.
Swelling or puffiness of your hands and feet is common in late pregnancy.
Some itching around the stomach is normal as your skin is stretching around your growing baby.
A growing bump is the sign of a growing baby. Your midwife should start measuring your baby from 24 weeks to make sure they are growing well.
If you feel your midwife isn’t listening to you, you can ask to see another member of the team.
If you feel that something is wrong, or if you are worried about the baby, call your midwife or doctor to talk about it.
If you have a painful or burning sensation when you wee (urinate), you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI)
Vision problems can be caused by different issues in pregnancy. If you have vision problems always tell your midwife or hospital straight away.
Mild headaches can be caused by hormones and are common in pregnancy.
If your temperature is above 37.5 degrees Celsius, even with no other flu or cold symptoms, call your doctor or hospital maternity unit.
Stomach bugs are common in pregnancy. It is very unlikely that your baby will be harmed from a bug lasting less than 48 hours.
Fetal movements can be anything from a flutter, kick, swish or roll. Feeling your baby move is a sign that they are well.
NHS Choices. Stomach pain in pregnancy https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/stomach-pain-abdominal-cramp-pregnant/ (Page last reviewed: 01/05/2018. Next review due: 01/05/2021)
NHS Choices. Premature labour and birth https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/premature-early-labour/ (Page last reviewed: 29/11/2017. Next review due: 29/11/2020)
NHS Choices Pre-eclampsia https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pre-eclampsia/ (Page last reviewed: 07/06/2018 Next review due: 07/06/2021)
NHS (2017) Urinary tract infections www.nhs.uk/conditions/urinary-tract-infections-utis/ (Page last reviewed: 12/12/2017 Next review due:12/12/2020)
NHS (2017) You and your baby at 33-36 weeks pregnant www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pregnancy-weeks-33-34-35-36/ (Page last reviewed: 17/07/2018 Next review due:17/07/2021)Hide details
ℹLast reviewed on September 28th, 2018. Next review date September 28th, 2021.
By Blessing (not verified) on 15 Nov 2019 - 14:56
Please I am 6 weeks 4 days pregnant I have a very bad abdominal pain, the pain is too much un my right side and back pain and light yellow discharge what do you think.
By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Nov 2019 - 12:32
Severe pain and unusual discharge in pregnancy, at any gestation is abnormal and you should seek urgent medical review if you have not already done so. You can go to a&e minors if the pain is severe. If it is not too severe, please go to your GP who can then refer you to your local early pregnancy unit for review. Please take good care of yourself. Tommy's Midwife
By Simnikiwe (not verified) on 15 Nov 2019 - 07:32
I was having pain than last week sunday I went to buy pregnancy test than its shows positive..but yesterday at night I went to the toilet I saw blood wich was red and put pads than today when I wake up went to the toilet again it was dark brown.. should I be worried
By Kris (not verified) on 12 Nov 2019 - 23:35
Hi i am 3 weeks pregnant, im a stage four adenomyosis patient with marina iud and im consuming danazol at the same time... i have this lower adominal and Servier lower back pain and work me up every morning around 3am and i cannot go back to sleep. I hv mild headach any dizziness but no vomiting... is this normal for the first born?
By Moipone Agnes (not verified) on 12 Nov 2019 - 19:53
I'm 3 weeks pregnant I have stomach cramps and I feel uncomfortable to sleep on my left side it's like my tummy it's full of wind. Is there something wrong?
By Lizzy (not verified) on 12 Nov 2019 - 12:57
Hi,am 10weeks gone, have been having this abdominal pain for about three days and blood stain but I called my midwife she told me that it's just stretching during pregnancy,she told me to have bed rest but am still having the pain, what might be wrong?
By Ayomide (not verified) on 7 Nov 2019 - 17:56
Am 2 weeks pregnant am having abdominal pain ,I saw little blood due to too much of stress , immediately I inform my nurse she gave me injections and the blood stop immediately,but the abdominal is paining w
By Rose (not verified) on 25 Oct 2019 - 15:10
Each time I do a blood test it shows positive in the hospital, but when o get back home and do a urine home test it shows negative
By mirable (not verified) on 23 Oct 2019 - 07:13
my last menstration was 28th of august 2019 I was suppose to see the next one by 25th of September but it didt co.me, I felt the signs of pregnancy, and I deed a pregnancy test which came out positive,now pls I want to know how many weeks is my pregnancy am confused .
By Swati (not verified) on 14 Nov 2019 - 03:47
Your last menstruation date is 28th August. That is what midwife will count. U r 2months and few days pregnant.
By Bliss (not verified) on 20 Oct 2019 - 13:43
I am 2months pregnant but feeling weird pains at d lower part of my abdomen making me feel week, dizzy and eye turn don’t know what to do, I have bought drugs as prescribed by the doctor and yet no changes what should I do?
By Rebecca (not verified) on 1 Nov 2019 - 15:50
Hi dear, am also experiencing the same issue and am 3 months pregnant, the pain feels like that one when you are about to have your periods. They also come with the headache and that dizzy /weak like feeling. At times I just cry cause I don't know what is actually wrong with me, it's been a couple of days and I have not been to the doctor yet.
By Rebecca (not verified) on 19 Oct 2019 - 09:14
I'm 11 weeks pregnant and I've been experiencing sharp pains in my right abdominal side for hours now. Should I go to the hospital?
By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Oct 2019 - 10:37
Sorry, we are not here at the weekend to respond to these comments. Yes it is important to check out this pain. I hope you have already done so or that the pain has gone away. Best wishes
By Katy (not verified) on 31 Oct 2019 - 14:23
If it’s on the top of the groin right hand side under tummy I was getting that too the whole way through the 12 weeks it’s stopped now tho but think it’s just stretching as midwife wasn’t worried
By veneshia (not verified) on 7 Nov 2019 - 08:29
i need help please
By zeenat (not verified) on 14 Oct 2019 - 13:17
I'm 3 months pregnant and know 1 to 3 weeks I feel something similar to heartbeat in my upper abdomen and sometime back pain and I have ulcer but if I eat food and take omeprazole the thing stop,what do you think is happening to me
By Tracy (not verified) on 17 Oct 2019 - 04:47
If I was you I would get checked out to be safe.
By Zandile (not verified) on 5 Oct 2019 - 19:58
Hi,should I go to the hospital if i am feeling pains on my womb and on my waist and stomach is very tense in such a way I feel like going to the toilet but nothing
By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Oct 2019 - 12:36
If you are pregnant and having abdominal pains at any gestation, then yes, please visit your maternity unit- Tommy's Midwife
By Stacy (not verified) on 27 Sep 2019 - 04:36
I have had unprotected sex an took morning after pills after. My last period was on the 31 of June so I was waiting for my periods by July 30th or 31 but I didn't get them.. So I found out that I'm pregnant. Now my question is does this mean that the pills I took were not effective why did they fail to work? Please make me understand.
By mabel (not verified) on 14 Oct 2019 - 19:47
I think one way or the other we ovulat
e twice in a month but don't av any idea what so ever. it could be you ovulated after taken the pill ones again.
By LaHoma (not verified) on 20 Oct 2019 - 03:38
Also, if you take the morning after pill everytime or even a lot, they don’t work. It states that online idk about in the packet that comes with it as I’ve never taken them.
By Pj (not verified) on 31 Oct 2019 - 06:50
Sams thing happen to me but that's cause i used it 4 times within afew months so my body was immune 1 it may be thats what happend or took it to late
By yenye (not verified) on 23 Sep 2019 - 21:03
hi i had a ultrasound by 8 weeks now i am 16 weeks and haven't had one since and not having one till next week is that ok? i haven't been to any genealogist only for an ultra sound.
By chizzy (not verified) on 21 Sep 2019 - 09:03
I missed my period for 2months+ & i did a test negative & was having a pain in my lower abdomen & breastedness & tirednss pls could dis be pregnant help
By Nisita (not verified) on 2 Sep 2019 - 16:57
My 1st day of the last period was on 31st July 2019. . My menstrual cycle is within 28-30 days.. We had unprotected sex on 12,13 and 14th July. After 28 days, i started suffering from lower abdominal pain and feel like vomiting and weak.. The lower abdominal pain hasn't said lower it's 34th today..Is this a sign of pregnancy? Please suggest something
By Laura (not verified) on 18 Aug 2019 - 23:35
I am 9+3 weeks pregnant and I have been getting a stitch like feeling when standing in my left side, this is not in my lower abdomen it's more in my side above my hips is this normal? We had a miscarriage in march so v v nervous
By Sarah (not verified) on 12 Sep 2019 - 19:58
I am the same and very worried hope your okay x
By Anonymous (not verified) on 15 Oct 2019 - 12:30
I have experienced this a lot it is normal
By Con (not verified) on 15 Aug 2019 - 21:57
My partner is 24.5 weeks pregnant and having consistent pain in upper abdominal area any advice what it could be or what I could do would be greatful pain that bad she can't move or stand
By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Aug 2019 - 16:01
Your partner should contact her maternity unit as soon as possible for urgent assessment of this pain as it is constant and she cannot move or stand
By Rach (not verified) on 17 Aug 2019 - 09:28
I had nasty pains from gall stones in my last pregnancy. The pain was sort of upper abdomen between my ribs and also shooting through to my back. I ended up going to the hospital where the stone passed on it’s own (it felt like I was tearing in half!) then I was perfectly fine again. It took several doctors to figure out what it was though. Any pain is worth looking into, keep getting second opinions until you find an answer, particularly if your partner can’t focus on anything else.
By Marie (not verified) on 13 Aug 2019 - 21:46
10 weeks pregnant pains in my right side of my tummy and back is the normal or should I get it check out
By Dee (not verified) on 9 Aug 2019 - 20:10
I'm 17 weeks pregnant with my second child, I've been having abdominal pains since the beginning of this pregnancy, consulted, done sonar , they just can't find anything wrong. I struggle to sleep @ night, can't sit for long, can't stand for long, it's getting worse by day. That's my 1st experience to this pains, was ok with my 1st pregnancy...
By Happpiness (not verified) on 6 Aug 2019 - 22:51
Am just 6 weeks pregnant and am having abdominal pains and cramps like menstural pains is it normal please I need an answer??
By Jennifer (not verified) on 13 Aug 2019 - 22:18
Am just 5weeks pregnant and I’m feeling pain/cramps as if my period is coming
Is it normal And when will i stop feeling such way??
By Sana (not verified) on 16 Aug 2019 - 22:38
I am 5weeks pregnant same I got pain cramps I been t doc cause I was worried they checked they go it’s normal in pregnancy so don’t worry
By Ruth (not verified) on 26 Aug 2019 - 17:29
Hi did you ever have it sorted out?
By Becky (not verified) on 29 Aug 2019 - 03:58
It is normal as I had it with all my pregnancy even the one I'm carrying now it's common in early pregnancy your uterus is stretching in preparation for birth if you are worried go to your nearest epu center contact the doctor or midwife if you have been assigned one yet
By Edna (not verified) on 24 Jul 2019 - 21:26
I'm 7 to 8 weeks pregnant I started bleeding yesterday I was scared I went to see my doctor he gave some injections after some minutes the bleeding was heavy,I went to another midwife she gave me vitamin k injection so the bleeding stop but now I don't bleed heavily again,I want ask if I and my baby is okay?
By Anthonia (not verified) on 17 Jul 2019 - 11:52
I had an unprotected sex two days before my ovulation, and now I feel hot in my chest and my stomach, could this be pregnancy symptoms?
By Hannah (not verified) on 2 Aug 2019 - 16:47
Since you had sex 2 days before your ovulation... It's sign that you may be pregnant, but the best option is for you to for pregnancy test.
By Phumzile (not verified) on 15 Jul 2019 - 17:58
I miss my period date on the 10th of July bt now I hv cramps I feel tired always nd I hv lose of appetite
By Tracy (not verified) on 18 Jul 2019 - 20:50
Most likely it may be that you are pregnant. But to be sure , take home pregnant test.
By Linniey (not verified) on 27 Jul 2019 - 12:28
Just found out m pregnant was feeling how you are feeling after missing my period
By Britania (not verified) on 5 Aug 2019 - 15:25
You are most likely to be pregnant
By Sinead (not verified) on 11 Jul 2019 - 18:18
Hello on Wednesday i took a test and was positive i took on today and was negative i been having really bad pains in my stomach since yesterday what should i do?
By Hosea (not verified) on 9 Jul 2019 - 06:45
am just 3 weeks pregnant and have pain is it ok..
By Youseline (not verified) on 8 Jul 2019 - 07:46
I'm pregnant 6 weeks l have pain on lower stomach and back it normal guy's