Pregnancy: Is lower abdominal pain normal in early pregnancy?

I am nine weeks pregnant and having lower abdominal pain, especially when I sneeze. Is lower abdominal pain normal in early pregnancy?


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

I am assuming that you have had an exam to confirm that your pregnancy is normal -- and not an ectopic pregnancy. If you have not yet had an exam, it is very important to get in as soon as possible.

If all else is normal and you are not running a fever and you are in good health, the pain could be caused by the stretching of ligaments as the uterus grows. Some uteri are tilted towards a woman's back and some are flipped up near the bladder. Depending upon how the uterus has to bend and turn in order to accommodate the enlarging fetus, it puts stress on certain ligaments and nerves in the pelvis.

Sudden changes in intraabdominal pressure such as those occurring with coughing, sneezing or changes in position can put tension on the ligaments. As the uterus accommodates itself to its mid-position and becomes supported better by the bony pelvis -- in the second trimester -- these discomforts may go away. They may return in the third trimester when the baby begins to favor one side over the other.

As I said, however, lower abdominal pain needs to be checked out. Certain cysts, masses, adhesions (scar tissue) or infections can cause abdominal pain during pregnancy. I have seen some appendixes rupture or ectopic pregnancies rupture because women were told "not to worry."

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