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.
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.
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 growing baby at antenatal appointments from 24 weeks to make sure they are growing at the right rate for your stage of pregnancy.
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.
If you feel that something is wrong, or if you are worried about the baby, call your midwife or doctor to talk about it.
Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J, Mayes midwifery, thirteenth edition, Edinburgh Balliere Tindall, 2012
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Ectopic pregnancy – information for you, London RCOG, 2010
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, clinical guideline 154, London NICE, 2012
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Hypertension in pregnancy, clinical guideline 107, London NICE, 2011
ℹLast reviewed on April 1st, 2014. Next review date April 1st, 2017.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 18 Apr 2017 - 13:37
Hi I don't know how many weeks pregnant I am cause I used I did a strip test,I'm scared and I have been having this sharp pain on either sides of my tummy and sharp back pain.please help me
By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Apr 2017 - 14:16
Congratulations on your pregnancy. I'm assuming you are still in the early stages of pregnancy - it isn't uncommon to experience some mild period like pain or occasional sharp pain where the ligaments are stretching to accommodate your pregnancy. However it is best to have any abdominal pain checked out by your doctor or midwife who can assess and advise on early pregnancy care too.
If you are worried please contact your GP for a check up.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 4 Apr 2017 - 09:35
Hi, I'm 15 weeks gone n I'm having a lower abdominal swelling close to my pubic hair. In the first trimester, I had a troubled stomach ( I mean pain all over my stomach due to heat cos I've been having stomach heat since childhood) and after going for scan/checkup nothing was found wrong with me now that it has subsided, this early morning swelling of the lower abdomen; at times, it's a bit painful when I touch it but mostly I'm just uncomfortable with it. Pls help out. Thanks
By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Apr 2017 - 12:12
Hi-Thank you for your comment.
It's difficult to say what could be causing the swelling, pain and discomfort that you describe. It could be that as the baby grows the pregnancy is starting to show. However given that you are also experiencing some pain and have had stomach problems earlier in the pregnancy, I would advise you to seek further advice and assessment from your GP if the pain is mild. If it becomes more severe, or there are other symptoms such as bleeding or fever for example, then to contact your Early pregnancy unit or A&E urgently.
I have attached links to more information about stomach pain in pregnancy
Hope this helps
Please contact us on Tommy's PregnancyLine 0800 01470 800
for further advice
By Anonymous (not verified) on 2 Apr 2017 - 03:42
Am just 3 weeks pregnant but I have been having pains in the stomach every night .
By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Apr 2017 - 09:52
Hi Angel. Abdominal pain, at any gestation of pregnancy needs to be investigated urgently. It might be a sensible idea to go to your local early pregnancy assessment to be reviewed. They may offer you blood tests as well as a scan to look at how and where the pregnancy is growing. Please go to your GP, walk in centre or a&e minors if the pains are unbearable for urgent treatment. Please take good care of yourself!
By Anonymous (not verified) on 24 Mar 2017 - 15:30
So here it goes, whenever I take up my prenatal vitamins I always feel stomach pain and it really bothers me. Is this normal? What could be the reason for this? Though my ob says my baby is healthy, that my baby is development is fine but still this is a bit worrisome for me as first time mom and im so dissapointed since I cant get good answers from my ob whenever I raise this topic. Please help me
By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Mar 2017 - 15:38
So, we are based in the U.K, so I can only give advice that we would suggest over here. It should still be applicable to you though in the United States.
Any abdominal pain, at any gestation of pregnancy should be investigated by your obstetric doctor or midwife at your local hospital triage/day assessment unit urgently. It may be that your stomach pains happen to coincide with you taking your pregnancy vitamins as it unlikely that these are causing the pain. But abdominal pain should not be ignored, especially if they are constant. It could be ligament stretching depending on the gestation of your pregnancy when you have growth spurt, but it is difficult to know this for sure without being reviewed first.
Please take care of yourself!
By Anonymous (not verified) on 19 Mar 2017 - 10:57
Am currently pregnant with my 3rd child. My second pregnancy didn't end well as I miscarried at 22 weeks I am petrified I am going to go through that again and I have been feeling a burning sensation pains on either side (normally how I would feel if my period was to start) I am also experiencing a pain at the top of my stomach (by the rib cage) and it feels quite tender do I need to be worried? I am still trying to choose my midwife and I have my official dating scan next week.
By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Mar 2017 - 09:59
I am sorry to hear that you are not feeling very well at the moment and to hear about the loss of your baby at 22 weeks in your last pregnancy. It would certainly be sensible to make an emergency appointment at your GP for today. Any abdominal pain, at any gestation of pregnancy needs to be reviewed as soon as possible.It sounds like your GP will then need to refer you the your local early pregnancy assessment unit for early scan and bloods. Please take good care of yourself .
By Anonymous (not verified) on 17 Mar 2017 - 23:10
Hi am a 33 week pregnent mother and am suffering from stomach ache I consult my doctor and he gave a kind of medicine to insert through veginal but after placing it I feel much pained so my be know the reason for it?
By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Mar 2017 - 09:23
Hi Waznah. I would strongly recommend that you take yourself into hospital as soon as possible. Any abdominal pain, at any gestation of pregnancy needs to be reviewed by an obstetric doctor and midwife.
It is unclear what the pessary's are for, but you certainly need to be reviewed soon in regards to the adbo pain at 33 weeks gestation.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 13 Mar 2017 - 09:12
I am 33 & had a miscarriage around 2yrs back. from 6 months we are planning for a baby. but it don't happen. so we both had medical checkup. Everything is fine. But i am not getting pregnant. So now in this month i have not got my period. But i am getting stomach pain like usually it will get in my periods. Is this is a sign of pregnant or any problem is there?
Please help me on this.
By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Mar 2017 - 10:55
Hi. Sorry to hear that you had a miscarriage two years ago. Unfortunately it isn't possible to know whether this is a sign of pregnancy. Are you able to get a pregnancy test to see if you are pregnant? Or if you have been trying to conceive for a while it would be a good idea to see your Doctor for advice at this stage. Best wishes
By Anonymous (not verified) on 14 Mar 2017 - 13:19
Yes,it could be because you are pregnant.I felt period like pains in the first few days.Good luck to you
By Anonymous (not verified) on 10 Mar 2017 - 10:09
This is my 2nd time preg. I had a misscarriage at 19. I'm now 26. N just found out I'm expecting. I'm so nervous n scared. Im happily married. But I have no one to talk to about y I'm nervous n scared. No one understands... Some1 plz help me
By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Mar 2017 - 12:21
I am sorry to hear how anxious and scared you are, pregnancy can bring up feelings like this especially after having a miscarriage before. It is really positive that you are reaching out for support and realising how you are feeling. If you do not feel that you can talk to your husband then you can thinking about speaking with your GP about how you are feeling or with the midwife when you are booked with one? They can support you through your pregnancy journey. Please know that we are here also for you, a team of midwives are available Monday to Friday 9-5pm to support you and talk with you about how you are feeling, you can either email us email@example.com or call 0800 0147 800. There is help and support out there, please do not feel alone through this time. Take care, Tommy's midwives.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 25 Feb 2017 - 09:15
I have started yoga frm yesterday ...today I feel painning so please I need advise ......that yoga should be done or notdone ...
By Midwife @Tommys on 27 Feb 2017 - 10:13
Yoga (pregnancy yoga specifically) is perfectly safe to undertake in pregnancy if you have a low risk pregnancy. Please do check with your GP and/or midwife to ensure that you are well and suited to yoga in pregnancy.
Abdominal pain at any gestation of pregnancy needs to be investigated as soon as possible at your local triage or labour ward if you are over 18 weeks gestation, or your GP/ early pregnancy assessment if you are less than 18 weeks gestation.
Please take good care of yourself.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 7 Mar 2017 - 20:02
I want to know if I feel stomach pains during period
By Midwife @Tommys on 8 Mar 2017 - 15:02
Hi I'm not quite sure what you're asking. If you are pregnant you might experience period like pain in the first trimester as your baby develops and your womb and ligaments stretch to accommodate, baby, placenta and fluid. This can be quite worrying but it is very common.
Please get back in contact if this isn't what you were asking!
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
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.
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
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
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
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
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
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.