Is Cramping in Early Pregnancy Bad?

I am seven weeks pregnant. I have been having mild to medium cramps. I haven't been bleeding. Is this normal, and is there anything that I can take for them?

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Cramping in early pregnancy, while often disconcerting, is common and most often reflects stretching of the expanding uterus. If the cramping is severe or accompanied by any bleeding, spotting or unusual discharge, then it warrants a visit to the obstetrician or midwife. If you have had a previous miscarriage, then a visit is a good idea as well, although most of the time the cramps will be chalked up to the normal growth process. The uterus expands almost 1,000-fold during the course of pregnancy!

Because this cramping is a normal part of pregnancy, I do not recommend taking anything for it. An occasional acetaminophen (Tylenol) is fine, but nothing else without the express consent of your own health care provider. If the pain is so intense as to need anything more than an occasional Tylenol, then it really must be evaluated. Pain that is off to one side rather than right in the middle should also be brought to your doctor's or midwife's attention, especially in early pregnancy; it may indicate an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. Later in pregnancy, low pain in the groin is very common as ligaments that support the uterus are increasingly stretched -- this is often more pronounced on the right side and is called round ligament stretch (or round ligament syndrome).

by Kelly Shanahan

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