Pregnancy is indeed a wonderful feeling and beautiful transition in the life of every woman. But it may make you feel physically distressed and agitated. Few of these discomforts can make you anxious as they may signify that something is wrong with the baby. Occasional abdominal pain is usually one of the most common complains of a pregnant woman during active pregnancy. This abdominal discomfort may be transient or uneventful but at times it may serve as an alarming sign of a serious underlying problem.
Causes of Pain on Left Side during Pregnancy
Surely not all sorts of abdominal discomforts come with a bad news. In fact the majority of the cases of mild abdominal pain are harmless. For example after an orgasm a mild abdominal pain may be felt which is short lived and is nothing to be worried for. Listed below are some common harmless causes of abdominal pain in pregnancy but if your abdominal discomfort persistent and you are unsure of what caused it, you should consult your doctor immediately.
1. Gas and bloating
The main two causes of gas and bloating that presents as abdominal pain in pregnancy are the hormones that affect the digestion process and ultimately increase the pressure exerted on the stomach and intestine by the growing uterus.
This is very common in pregnancy and is also caused by hormones that decrease the metabolism and digestion speed, ultimately aggravating the pressure exerted on the rectum by the growing uterus.
3. Round ligament pain
An abrupt stabbing sharp pain or a dull long lasting ache that is felt in the lower abdomen or groin can be caused by round ligament. It is caused by the stretching and thickening of the ligaments that support the uterus in order to help with uterine expansion to support growing fetus.
4. Braxton Hick’s contraction
It is caused by tightening of uterus before the completion of 37 weeks and is usually painless and infrequent. It may be something to worry about if the contraction frequency increases to four per hour, if you see any signs of preterm labor or if it becomes frequent.
5. Other causes
Other causes that can lead to abdominal discomfort even if you are not pregnant include, food poisoning, appendicitis, stomach virus, kidney stones, pancreatitis, fibroids, bowel obstruction and gall stones. Gallstones are usually responsible for pancreatitis and gallbladder diseases during pregnancy. Fibroids may also cause abdominal discomfort as they grow during pregnancy under the influence of pregnancy hormones. Bowel obstruction is reported in the third trimester as a result of pressure exerted by the expanding uterus.
Listed below are the more serious causes that may lead to the pain on the left side during pregnancy:
1. Ectopic pregnancy
It occurs when an egg implants anywhere outside of uterus after fertilization (usually in one of the two fallopian tubes). It may result in crampy abdominal pain along with conventional pregnancy symptoms. Doctor’s consultation is immediately required if you are experiencing troubling symptoms like tenderness, vaginal bleeding, pelvic or abdominal pain, pain in shoulders, pain during coughing and bowel movements or pain that aggravates upon physical activity. Ectopic pregnancy can be life threatening.
Loss of pregnancy in the first twenty weeks is referred to as miscarriage in sophisticated medical terms. Initial symptoms are vaginal bleeding/spotting followed by pain in the abdomen. The pain may be cramp like or may be dull aching type in nature that extends to lower back and pelvis.
3. Preterm labor
Rhythmic uterine contractions that dilate the cervix before the period of 37 weeks in an active pregnancy is referred to as preterm labor (or premature labor). Symptoms are usually reported in late second or third trimester and include: an increase in the vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding/spotting, menstrual like cramps, abdominal pain, more than 3-4 contractions in an hour that may be painless or painful, an increased pressure usually felt in the pelvic region and the area that surrounds it with lower back pain.
4. Placental abruption
This is indeed a life threatening event and involves the premature separation of placenta from the uterus which may be partial or complete anytime before childbirth. In most cases, abruption present with heavy bleeding but sometimes there is light bleeding/spotting in the beginning. In case your water breaks, you may see some blood tinge in the amniotic fluid. Other symptoms are uterine tenderness, frequent contractions, back ache and hard uterus (even after contractions). Abdomen is usually tense and tender.
A disorder mainly caused by the changes in the blood vessels that may affect organs like brain, kidney, liver and placenta. Symptoms include puffy eyes, swelling of face and hands and sudden swelling of ankles and feet. Severe preeclampsia is followed by symptoms like headache, visual disturbances, tenderness or pain in the upper region of abdomen, nausea and vomiting.
6. Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Pregnancy increases the susceptibility of pregnant mommy to develop UTIs. Bladder infection symptoms are abdominal and pelvic discomfort, pain, or burning sensation while urinating, pelvic or lower abdominal pain and a frequent desire or urge to urinate even when there’s little urine in the bladder. An untreated infection of bladder may lead to kidney infection and preterm labor. Sign and symptoms when the infection spreads to the kidneys include, escalated fever, chills, shivers, lower back ache, pain in the side right below the ribs, pain in the abdomen, vomiting, nausea and at times blood or pus in the urine.
In this video you may find more causes with different symptoms:
Remedies for Pain on the Left Side During Pregnancy
Listed below are some remedies that you can try to ease the non-serious abdominal discomfort that occurs during pregnancy.
- Try moving around and exercising gently to help pass the gas that causes the abdominal pain.
- Shower with warm water and if required, place a warm water bag or bottle wrapped in a towel at the site of ache.
- When you feel the pain, lie on the other side to minimize the pain.
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Dehydration can result into an increase frequency of Braxton Hicks contractions.
- In case of Braxton Hicks contractions, it is advised to lie down and rest.