I have a pain in my stomach area

Some stomach pain or discomfort in the abdomen/stomach area is normal in pregnancy.

It is usually caused by your expanding womb and hormones. It can sometimes feel like a ‘stitch’. You may also feel light period-like discomfort at the beginning and end of pregnancy. These are nothing to worry about.

However, if you are having persistent abdominal/stomach pain, it should be checked by a doctor or midwife immediately.

Look out for the following:

  • severe lower one-sided abdominal pain in early pregnancy (between week 5 and 10) with bleeding or a brown discharge could be the sign of an ectopic pregnancy. The pain is sometimes felt in the shoulder. Contact your midwife, doctor or hospital A&E immediately.
  • severe cramps in your lower stomach/abdomen with bleeding that lasts for several hours could be a sign of a miscarriage. Contact your midwife, doctor or hospital.
  • regular painful contractions/cramps before 37 weeks could be a sign of premature labour, particularly if accompanied by backache, pelvic pressure and vaginal discharge. Contact your midwife, doctor or hospital.
  • severe constant pain in your lower abdomen/stomach, tenderness when you press your stomach and back pain with or without bleeding could be a sign of placental abruption. Contact your midwife, doctor or hospital immediately.
  • from 20 weeks, pain in the upper abdomen/stomach with other symptoms such as a very bad headache, nausea, vomiting, flashing lights or seeing spots in front of your eyes could be signs of pre-eclampsia. Contact your midwife, doctor or hospital.
  • lower abdominal pain or dull back painthat comes with one or more of the following:
    • pain or discomfort when urinating
    • pelvic discomfort
    • need to urinate frequently (although this on its own is common in a normal pregnancy)
    • a raised temperature
    • cloudy, foul-smelling or bloody urine
    • nausea and vomiting.

These are symptoms of an infection of the urinary tract. It is not an emergency but should be treated as soon as possible, so contact your doctor or midwife.

Towards the end of pregnancy, the following are common:

  • ‘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. They are infrequent (more than 10 minutes apart) and short-lasting, and uncomfortable more than painful. You do not need to contact your maternity unit or midwife unless contractions become painful and regular (less than 10 minutes apart).
  • Contractions/cramps after 37-40 weeks could be the sign of the early stages of labour. This is called latent phase of labour.

Read more

  • Discharge in pregnancy

    Discharge in pregnancy

    A slight increase in discharge/fluid during pregnancy is normal, especially when the weather is hot. You may find that it is a mild-smelling, milky fluid, which is fine.

  • Swollen feet in pregnancy.

    My hands and feet are swollen

    Swelling or puffiness of your hands and feet is common in late pregnancy.

  • Itchy hands in pregnancy

    I itch all over

    Some itching around the stomach is normal as your skin is stretching around your growing baby.

  • My baby does not seem to be getting any bigger

    My baby does not seem to be getting bigger

    A growing bump is the sign of a growing baby. Your midwife should start measuring your growing baby at antenatal appointments from 24 weeks to make sure they are growing at the right rate for your stage of pregnancy.

  • My midwife isn't listening

    My midwife isn't listening

    If you have concerns or worries and your midwife is not listening to you or taking your concerns seriously, you can ask to see another member of the team, or go further if necessary.

  • I just think something is wrong

    I just think something is wrong

    If you feel that something is wrong, or if you are worried about the baby, call your midwife or doctor to talk about it.

Sources

  1. Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J, Mayes midwifery, thirteenth edition, Edinburgh Balliere Tindall, 2012

  2. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Ectopic pregnancy – information for you, London RCOG, 2010

  3. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, clinical guideline 154, London NICE, 2012

  4. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Hypertension in pregnancy, clinical guideline 107, London NICE, 2011

     

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Last reviewed on April 1st, 2014. Next review date April 1st, 2017.

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Comments

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 20 Feb 2017 - 20:08

    Now, when doing the worst thing, which is googling why you have something, I came upon this promising article... and i have been getting a stitch like pain/sensation in either side of my tum... however i have been on the pill for a year... can light be shed on this, i welcome it...

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Feb 2017 - 13:29

    Dear Beth,

    If you have been having this stitch like sensation on either side of your tum but are currently on the pill and not pregnant I would suggest making an appointment with your GP as this information is related to pregnancy.

    Best wishes
    Tommy's Midwives

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 11 Feb 2017 - 13:32

    Hi I'm 23 weeks + 3 pregnant I'm still experiencing vomting I have lower abdominal pain with server back pain . I feel dizzy n extremely tired iv not gained much weight n u can hardly tell I'm pregnant. The pain is pushing down in your my abdominal n right on my pelvic bone .. what should I do ?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Feb 2017 - 09:20

    Hi Mav. Any abdominal pain, at any gestation of pregnancy needs urgent review. In addition, feeling dizzy, and very tired could suggest that your iron levels are very low and could require some kind of treatment. It would be best, if you haven't already done so, to take yourself to your local labour ward as a matter of urgency with your pregnancy notes to be reviewed by a midwife and obstetric doctor. Please take good care of yourself!

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 8 Feb 2017 - 18:24

    This is my third pregnancy after a first late miscarriage at 18 weeks and a second at 8 weeks. I'm currently 15 weeks pregnant and quite anxious due to the sudden drop in symptoms since the second trimester began. I need constant reassurance frm my doc via ultrasounds that baby is ok since i dont feel any flutters or movements. In my last check i noticed the placenta was quite huge and right infront of the baby. I researched and found out abt anterior placentas. Would you be so kind to write a blog or article on anterior placentas and how a bereaved mother like myself needs to cope with the knowledge that that the kicks might be felt much later on. As if the patience requirement and sudden onset of comfort wasn't difficult enough. I want to be uncomfortable. It's my only reassurance that pregnancy is still on.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Feb 2017 - 11:07

    Hi. I am sorry to hear that you have had 2 miscarriages and understand that you must be anxious. An anterior placenta means that your placenta is positioned on the front wall of your uterus. This is entirely normal and should not cause problems for you or your baby.
    However an anterior placenta can make the baby’s movements harder to feel in the second trimester as they are “cushioned”. It is therefore possible that someone with a placenta in this position will feel first movements later than most and a first time mother may not feel movements until after 22 weeks. I understand that this can be an anxious time but hopefully you will be reassured when you have your anomaly scan at 20-22 weeks. Anybody who has not felt their first movements by 24 weeks should contact their midwife, regardless of where their placenta is positioned. Although feeling movement can be more difficult for anterior placenta mums, the same advice for establishing what is normal for your baby individually applies; your baby should still develop regularity with their movement.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 6 Feb 2017 - 03:22

    Hi. Sometimes if I walk at pace (my normal pace is about 3-4 mph) for more than 5 minutes, I experience pain like a pulled muscle in the right side of my lower abdomen. It stops when I stop or slow down. What is this?
    (Walking is about the only exercise I get at the moment - I was a gym bunny pre-pregnancy). Thanks.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Feb 2017 - 09:59

    Hi there.
    Any abdominal pain, at any gestation of pregnancy should ideally be investigated at your local triage/day assessment unit. It is likely that it could be ligaments stretching as they pregnancy grows, but it is always best to get abdo pain reviewed by a midwife and obstetric doctor to rule out anything else more serious.
    Take care of yourself.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 4 Feb 2017 - 08:05

    Gud morning I'm 14 weeks pregnant and I just can't sleep.I feel very uncomfortable with every way I try to sleep and constant urge to poo.. Because of my frequent need to poo I stopped taking my drugs and it reduced ,but I started again and I always want to poo. I need advice especially on the sleeping part ,I just can't sleep ,so uncomfortable ..

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Feb 2017 - 09:55

    Hi Tee.
    Sadly it is not uncommon for pregnant women to struggle with sleep. You could consider buying or making a pregnancy pillow to see if this helps you to adopt some more comfortable sleeping positions.
    What i would suggest though, is that you never stop taking medication suddenly without consulting your doctor - depending what it is, sometimes it can be dangerous to stop something suddenly rather than weaning yourself off them. Please visit your GP to discuss this.
    Constipation can also be related both to pregnancy and medication. Visit your local pharmacy where they can sell you some stool softener to help ease your symptoms. There are also many foods that can help with constipation like eg figs, prunes, dates, apricots and drinking plenty of water so that you are well hydrated will help to!.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 23 Jan 2017 - 18:08

    I was admitted to hospital with bleeding and lower tummy pain bleeding stopped all toghter and cervix looked fine I was keep in and put on co codamol and sent home to deal with the pain as they couldn't find what was wrong I suffering badly sat here most the day crying and in lots of pain but it is the same pain as I was in while up the hospital should I go back or just carrying on trying my best I also suffer Hyperemesis so the sickness really isn't helping

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Jan 2017 - 10:16

    I'm sorry to hear you are experiancing pain. If the pain is severe I would advise you need to see your GP or attend the hospital for help and support. If you require advice and support on your pregnancy once you are feeling better or if you wish to discuss in furhter detail please email us on midwife@tommys.org

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 8 Jan 2017 - 18:12

    I've been experiencing abdominal and tummy pain for about 5 hours now, along with nausea. It is especially noticeable on left hand side. I have tried resting and having a warm bath. My symptoms haven't improved. I understand that it is likely that this pain is related to ligament movement etc. But I'm still quite worried as most advice appears to suggest that if resting doesn't help to seek medical advice. The only option I would have at moment would be to go to walk in centre or A&E and don't want to waste people's time if it's nothing to worry about. I would be grateful for any advice you could give me. I have not yet been sick today and have no bleeding.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Jan 2017 - 09:41

    Hi Frances
    I would certainly recommend that you take yourself in to be seen if you are still experiencing this abdominal pain and nausea. It is possible that it is in fact ligament pain, but if the pain is severe, then i would recommend either going into your GP and being referred to the local early pregnancy assessment unit or yes, a&e minors. Your health is important and if you do not feel well and believe that something is not right, then it is certainly worth being checked over.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 3 Jan 2017 - 02:39

    hi for the last 3 days ive had lower tummy pain on and of pain/ disconfort of my lady area n back pain also wanting to use the loo more but when i do i dont always go

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Jan 2017 - 15:51

    Hi, You don't say how many weeks pregnant you are but your symptoms suggest that you may have a urinary tract infection. Please see your GP as soon as possible for assessment and treatment. Best wishes

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 12 Dec 2016 - 06:54

    im always having pains around ma stormach i feel as if am in labour its painful plz help

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Dec 2016 - 09:46

    Hi Happiness.
    Abdominal pains at any gestation of pregnancy needs to be investigated as soon as possible. Please take yourself in to your GP and you may be referred into the hospital depending on what the GP finds. If the pain is very severe, then please don't delay and take yourself into a&e. Please look after yourself.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 19 Jan 2017 - 13:53

    same as to me

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 10 Dec 2016 - 09:04

    Hii
    I did three pregnancy test and they all came back positive, so that mean am pregnant.
    Anyway its my first time been pregnant and for five days every night am feeling belly cramps like I want to use the rest room but I don't ..
    Am very much less because I was wondering if the baby may not be growing it my womb ?? Can you tell me whats going on?
    Anyways i dont think am going to know when you reply to this so can you tell me whats going on can whatsapp me and let me know please +18765621771

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Dec 2016 - 09:09

    Hi Amber. I am afraid that I am unable to whatsapp you on this number as we do not have a whatsapp service. It also looks as if you are seeking advice from outside of the United Kingdom.
    I would suggest that if you have had a positive pregnancy test and are experiencing abdominal pain and cramping, that you visit your GP/doctor as soon as possible. If you have a pregnancy growing in your fallopian tube, it is called an ectopic pregnancy and needs to be identified as soon as possible for your ongoing health. If your pain is very severe, then please take yourself to a&e/emergency department for a review, where you may be scanned and have bloods taken. Please take care of yourself!

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 7 Dec 2016 - 21:38

    I am second trimester and one week of pregnant, I am experiencing pains on my lower right of my stomach, is something wrong?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 8 Dec 2016 - 10:54

    Abdominal discomfort in the second trimester often occurs due to the uterine ligaments stretching to accommodate your growing baby and the abdominal pain can feel ''stitch like'', often subsiding with rest. Keep an eye on baby's movements and if the pattern changes or if the pains persist, or if you have any vaginal bleeding, you should get it checked out to reassure you and baby are fine

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 9 Jan 2017 - 14:54

    Sorry guys bt I have problem in my stomach so it's pain and I want to vomit bt I control my self plz tell me what's wrong plz guys I m scared

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Jan 2017 - 15:15

    Hi there. If you are pregnant and experiencing stomach pains and vomiting, at any gestation of pregnancy, you should seek review from a midwife and obstetric doctor at your local hospital as soon as possible. Often, there is no reason for concern, but it is better to be checked over to be sure of this.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 12 Jan 2017 - 09:33

    I have a problem my stomer is painful even when i coughing.but am using family planing 3 months.i cant even work.is every painful since last night

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Jan 2017 - 11:05

    Hi,
    If there is no chance that you are pregnant and you are having stomach pains then I would suggest that you see your GP to be reviewed. If there is a chance you are pregnant then I would advise to do a pregnancy test and if this is positive to see your GP.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 5 Dec 2016 - 13:54

    I was about 7 weeks 4 days when I started bleeding heavily, I was then rushed to the hospital after 2 day a scan was conducted and the doctor said the baby is fine.
    Now am about 10 weeks still noticing a discharge like an old blood and it's giving me concern.
    Again there's a mass cyst measuring about 67×67, those it pose any threat.
    I really need you to talk to me please.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Dec 2016 - 14:09

    Hi Catherine.
    Sorry to hear about the difficult start you have had in your pregnancy. Passing old brown blood is normal after an episode of fresh red bleeding from the vagina. The body will try to get rid of anything it no longer needs and so old blood can take a few days to fully flow out of the body. If the discharge has a green tinge and/ or an abnormal or unpleasant smell, then i would advise you to visit your early pregnancy assessment unit asap to review you for infection.
    If you have a temperature of 37.6 or over, then i would also advice you to be reviewed for possible infection.
    With regards to the "mass cyst", i presume you are under obstetric led care for your maternity care and they will be able to keep a close eye on you with regular scans etc and more frequent appointments.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 22 Dec 2016 - 12:54

    i have lot of pain and im preg so i need advice

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Dec 2016 - 14:10

    Sorry to hear you are having pain, I am unsure how many weeks' pregnant you are but if you are having a lot of pain then I would advise you to speak to your midwife to be reviewed today as a lot of tummy pain is not normal in pregnancy and should be checked out. If you would like to talk further then please email midwife@tommys.org

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Nov 2016 - 16:28

    Hi
    Vaginal bleeding or blood stained discharge does not always mean there is a problem, but it can be a warning sign of a miscarriage or of other complications in early pregnancy. Speak to your GP or midwife who may decide to do some tests or a vaginal scan to check for the reasons for the bleeding.
    Or you could call our midwives on 0800 0147 800 for more advice.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 2 Nov 2016 - 10:40

    I was supposed to see my period on the 16th of October but it didn't come so I decided to take pregnancy test and it was positive. Just this morning I had sex with my partner and while cleaning up I saw a brownish kind of stain from my private part what could cause it & is my baby safe

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 24 Oct 2016 - 19:15

    My stomach will be paining me every night nd last 2 week i went to hospital nd my doctor tells me that am pregenen but pls i dont know whats this stomach pain for

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 25 Oct 2016 - 10:18

    It is difficult to tell what gestation you are from your post, but I am presuming you are in your first trimester. Intermittent aches and pains in the stomach region can occur during the first trimester. These pains in the first trimester are usually linked to the normal physical changes your body is going through during pregnancy. Some women can also get cramps with a little bleeding when the embryo implants itself into the wall of the womb. However if these pains are associated with spotting or vaginal bleeding, or if the pains become more regular and persistent and you are concerned , you should always seek medical advice.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 17 Oct 2016 - 20:12

    Hi...I found out I was pregnant early September my breasts were heavy and painful. Yesterday morning i noticed some bleeding as if it's my 1st day of periods with painful cramps like period pains then i noticed the bleeding has stopped in the evening but the pains still there. The was nothing in the morning today, then the bleeding came back again it's not heavy..I went to visit a doctor he did an ultrasound he told me there's nothing wrong the pregnancy is still there and I'm 5 weeks I don't have to worry everything is fine. I am so worried the pains and bleeding are still there. What could be wrong.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Oct 2016 - 10:24

    In the first trimester, a little spotting or bleeding is actually more common than you think and it is often harmless. The light spotting you describe can happen at about the same time that your period would have been due, and may last for a day or two. It is thought that it is your hormones triggering this reaction. It may also be a cervical erosion or polyp which can bleed if irritated by sexual intercourse for example.However if the bleeding persists along with the pain you are experiencing , you should seek medical advice again just for reassurance. Bleeding in pregnancy should never be ignored completely, especially when associated with pain.




  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 18 Oct 2016 - 18:34

    I have been bleeding very heavy all day with blood clots and the pain is so unbearable it's like very painful period cramps. I am so worried, could it mean it's a miscarriage?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Oct 2016 - 11:13

    Hello,
    I hope you have sought medical help since you posted this message. Heavy bleeding with blood clots and unbearable pain makes me concerned that you are having a miscarriage.
    Please get in contact with us on 0800 0147 800 if you need to talk.
    Thinking about you Tommy's Midwives

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Oct 2016 - 10:54

    Hi, I'm sorry to hear that you are experiencing pain and bleeding again after your early scan with the doctor. It is reassuring to know that the baby is developing in the uterus and the bleeding is not heavy. Light spotting can be common in early pregnancy and doesn't necessarily indicate a problem. It can be due to breakthrough bleeding (when a woman would usually have her period, implantation, hormonal changes, cervical erosion (bleeding from the neck of the womb) and is sometimes the result of an infection.
    Mild period-type cramping can also occur in early pregnancy, prostaglandins are released ( which are responsible for period pain).I t can also occur due to more blood supply to the pelvic area and trapped wind can also be responsible.
    We would hope that the bleeding will turn brown (indicating old blood) and that your symptoms should settle over the next few days. A heat pad, warm bath or paracetamol may help.
    Have you got a follow up appointment with your doctor?
    If your bleeding increases (bright red fresh bleeding) or the abdominal pain gets worse you need to see your GP or go to your local Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit. Out of hours this would be A&E.
    Please do get in touch on the PregnancyLine if you need to talk to us at this anxious time.
    We hope that the pain and bleeding settles.
    Tommy's Midwives 0800 0147 800

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 13 Oct 2016 - 15:57

    Hi there, Iam just off 8 weeks currently on a trip to Thailand, Iam getting a lot of pains in my stomach no bleeding last night cramps as if I really needed the toilet just for a few minutes but all day it feels like I have a funny tummy also a ten minute period when my back felt as if it wAs breaking at the bottom. What should I do? Worried as I have a previous miscarriage behind me but I was not this far along. Thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Oct 2016 - 16:02

    Hi there Amy, I would suggest that you find an English speaking doctor in a hospital who will see tourists under their insurance policy and be reviewed as soon as possible. Since you have previously suffered a miscarriage, are experiencing severe abdominal pain and have an upset stomach, it would be advisable for you to seek medical attention as you are 8 weeks pregnant. Look after yourself!

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 27 Sep 2016 - 15:15

    I want to know if u took preg test an u check later the results an its positive is there smthng wrong

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 27 Sep 2016 - 15:20

    It is a little unclear what you are asking. Please would you call us on 0800 0147800 or contact us via email on info@tommys.org so we can better understand the information you require.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Sep 2016 - 15:40

    It is a difficult time when you are trying to conceive, but you have to ensure you are well too. The low abdominal pain you are getting may indicate that you have a have a urinary tract infection & you should ensure you seek medical advice via your GP for diagnosis and treatment. Your period is due on 14th September , so the symptoms you describe may be your period coming early. Otherwise. if you miss this period then it would we advisable to get a pregnancy test to assess whether you may be pregnant ! Good luck!

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Sep 2016 - 15:35

    It is a difficult time when you are trying to conceive, but you have to ensure you are well too. The low abdominal pain you are getting may indicate that you have a have a urinary tract infection & you should ensure you seek medical advice via your GP for diagnosis and treatment. Your period is due on 14th September , so the symptoms you describe may be your period coming early. Otherwise. if you miss this period then it would we advisable to get a pregnancy test to assess whether you may be pregnant ! Good luck!

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 11 Sep 2016 - 15:22

    hi, l am a first time mom and l have stomach pains almost every day but not too painful and I also feel uncomfortable in my lower part abdominal, when I go to the toilet to pee l do a little sometimes l don't do it the whole day and l go for my periods on the 14th September and l enjoy sex with my hubby without protection every day. l am trying to conceive for five months .am I pregnant please help me it's my wish

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Sep 2016 - 15:26

    You are understandably anxious so you need to seek urgent medical help so you can be assessed correctly as you may be miscarrying. Also please feel free to contact one of our Midwives to discuss this further on the Tommy's Pregnancy Helpline on 0800 0147 800. A Midwife is available on the phone lines from 9am till 5pm every weekday.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 1 Sep 2016 - 12:34

    I have this pain on my abdominal n I was bleeding this morning but it was not a heavy bleeding and now i am having spot bleeding but I still got this pain. I had sex with my men yesterday and I saw later be for I go to bed but it was not that bad, my problem is this pain I feel like something is moving on my abdominal, how can I prevent that or pain

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Sep 2016 - 15:44

    From your question I am unsure how many weeks pregnant you are however I would advise you to be reviewed at the hospital, any bleeding and on going pain should be investigated to make sure everything is ok. If you are in early pregnancy then see your GP today or call your local early pregnancy unit, if you cannot get an appointment then go to A+E. If you are in later pregnancy, after about 20 weeks then ring your maternity unit and be seen today. If you need further advice and support then please call us on 0800 0147 800 or email midwife@tommys.org however if you have had bleeding and pain then you need to be seen today.

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