Many women experience bloating, mild cramping and slight backache as a pre-menstrual physical symptom, and the same thing happens in early pregnancy as the uterus grows. Other symptoms of early pregnancy can include:
Cramping after conception
Many women worry when they feel mild cramping, tugging and pulling in the early weeks after conception. If there is no bleeding associated with the cramping, then it is probably normal. If you have strong or severe cramping or pain, you should contact your local doctor or pregnancy caregiver for guidance and advice.
Cramps and aches
Aches and pains during pregnancy are common, as are muscle cramps in your feet, thighs or legs. The exact reason for this is not known, although it is suspected that the expansion of the uterus may put pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in the leg, causing leg cramps and some occasional pain.
If a cramp strikes, try stretching the affected limb or muscle. Straighten your leg with your toes coming towards you; ask your partner to help, if you need it.
Standing up to let your leg stretch may also offer some relief. If the painful cramps persist, convince your partner to give you a massage, or book a professional massage and enjoy the relaxation time, the rest will do you good.
Diet can make a difference, too. Some nutritionists believe that calcium, potassium and phosphorous supplements can relieve the cramping but make sure you speak to your doctor before taking any supplement. A healthy diet, including fresh fruit and green leafy vegetables, plus enough calcium-rich foods, such as milk, cheese or yoghurt, will also help.
Constipation and stomach cramps
Constipation can also be common in early pregnancy, brought on by two changes in your body. Increased hormones, whereby your body produces progesterone, which relaxes the smooth muscles of the intestinal wall and stomach, resulting in a slow down of digestion, and your blood volume increasing.
If you don’t drink enough fluids to keep up with the increase in blood volume, you will experience dehydration which causes constipation. So drink lots of fluids, exercise and snack on prunes!
Do not use laxatives without your doctor’s approval. If constipation is a continuing problem, discuss treatment at a prenatal visit. Try not to strain when you have a bowel movement as straining can lead to hemorrhoids.
Backache in early pregnancy
Back ache in early pregnancy symptom can be “a real pain,” literally. Your posture and torso are thrown out of alignment later in pregnancy, and with the weight mostly in the front of your torso, it pulls on your back. The feeling is quite like you wearing a backpack on your front instead of your back. This changes your posture and puts a strain on your back. In other words, the center of your gravity shifts.
Lack of your typical night’s sleep is another factor. You may be laying on your side and trying to get comfortable. The weight of your womb could be pulling on your back muscles, giving you that aching back.
Finally, your hormones and body changes have some effect too. Your body is getting ready for birth and so some of your joints and ligaments are loosening up to make delivery possible. All of these changes added together can cause back ache as an early pregnancy symptom. It is estimated that about half of all pregnant women will experience this pregnancy symptom.
Other early symptoms
You can find out about other signs and symptoms of early pregnancy at the following links:
- No period or lighter bleeding
- Cardiovascular, temperature and blood flow changes
- Breast and nipple changes
- Going to the toilet more frequently
- Morning sickness
- Increased saliva
- Dizziness and fainting
- Tiredness and exhaustion
- Constipation and wind
- Changed libido
- Cramping, backache and bloating
This article was written for Birth.com.au and republished with permission on Kidspot, New Zealand’s leading pregnancy resource.