Cramps During Pregnancy | What's Normal? | cramping during first trimester

Cramps During Pregnancy | What’s Normal?

Cramps during pregnancy can be alarming, especially since every pregnancy is unique, and it’s hard to tell what’s expected or out of the ordinary. A sudden surge of unexpected pain during pregnancy could send us off to the doctor immediately! While cramping during pregnancy is common and normal in most cases, we won’t rest easy until we know the why — and if the baby is safe. Find the answers to your most frequently asked questions about cramps during pregnancy and get some peace of mind. Next time, you can take minor cramp issues in stride and call the doctor only when you need to!

Cramps During Pregnancy: Your FAQs Answered for Peace of Mind


What do cramps feel like in pregnancy?

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Cramps are spasms or sudden contraction in the lower abdomen and the legs. They can range from a nudge to a sharp kind of pain. If you have had previous pregnancies, you probably experienced this kind of pain. Also, if you have had menstrual cramps, it is basically the same kind of discomfort. If you’re also an active swimmer, you’ve probably experienced leg cramps before. The same spasm from your calves up to your legs is likely in pregnancy.

What causes cramps during pregnancy?

There is no one cause for cramps during pregnancy. Several factors are cited as causes, including implantation and hormonal changes. Others may include:

  • Growing uterus
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Constipation

Are cramps common in pregnancy?

Cramps are very common in pregnancy, from the onset up to the last weeks, but every pregnancy is different, and some of us may experience it in different degrees. Others won’t probably feel implantation cramps, though leg cramps around the second and third trimester are highly likely to be experienced.

Is it normal to have cramps in your first trimester?

For some, cramps may even be their early sign of pregnancy. In the next 16 weeks, you will feel and experience more but infrequent cramps. They are probably from changing hormone levels and rapid growth of the uterus. Expect to feel cramps in intervals during the first trimester.

Is it normal to have cramps during pregnancy?

Mild cramps in pregnancy are normal. During the duration of your pregnancy, you will experience cramps from implantation, cramps from gas, and leg cramps. These cramps are normal when the pain is abrupt and disappears quickly.

Can cramping be an early sign of pregnancy?

If you’re paying close attention, you might feel a contraction of the uterus during implantation. Otherwise, you’ll only pass it off as any other stomach pain. You might also mistake it for menstrual cramps. While it’s one of the first signs of pregnancy, it is unreliable as a sole sign of pregnancy.

How long do cramps last in early pregnancy?

Implantation cramps may last for three days but are only minor. Menstrual cramps are even more painful or discomforting. Cramps during the early pregnancy shouldn’t last long. You will feel several of these episodes throughout your pregnancy.

Why do I get leg cramps while pregnant?

Leg cramps occur mostly at night but could happen during the day. It isn’t clear what causes leg cramps but the pressure of a growing belly is mostly blamed. This is why it’s typical for leg cramps to occur around the second to the third trimester.

When should I be concerned about cramps during pregnancy?

As we’ve said, most cramps are not a cause for worry. Cramps which are sudden and are not so painful are normal. It is only when the pain becomes too severe or when bleeding occurs that you should consult with your doctor as soon as possible. They could be signs for some pregnancy complication like pre-term labor, ectopic pregnancy, and preeclampsia.

When do I need to get checked?

Although cramps are common, you need to get checked if the following occurs:

  • Severe stomach or back pain followed by vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Cramping followed by nausea, vomiting, and headache
  • Severe pain in the stomach and both your shoulders
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Feeling feverish or chills
  • If you don’t feel other pregnancy symptoms
  • If you’re unable to pee and poop

Can I prevent cramping during pregnancy?

Since we can’t tell when cramps occur, it’s also difficult to avoid them. You can, however, decrease discomfort or pain with these simple techniques:

  • Relax and avoid stress.
  • Give yourself a therapeutic warm bath.
  • Never stay in one position for too long.
  • Try prenatal yoga or stretches.
  • Stay hydrated.

How do I get rid of cramps during pregnancy?

You cannot easily pop an aspirin or painkiller to numb your pain. It is a cardinal rule to avoid pain-relieving over the counter (OTC) drugs during pregnancy. Luckily, cramps are not without its creative but safe and effective home remedies. Minor cramps are easily dealt with using these simple solutions:

  • Place a hot compress or a bottle with warm water on the area.
  • If it’s a leg cramp, a foot massage with your toes bent towards you will help.
  • Put light pressure on the cramped area for relief.
  • For your leg cramps, eat food rich in magnesium or take doctor-prescribed supplements.


Find out what the normal aches and pains during pregnancy are in this video from Intermountain Moms, so you know when to worry about a real concern during pregnancy:

YouTube video

The safety of the baby is the primary concern of every mother. Cramps during pregnancy, whether it’s only a nudge or a sudden jolt of pain, cause alarm and concern over the baby’s well-being. This time, you know more about cramps during pregnancy. A minor pain won’t have you stressing about your baby. With your FAQs answered, you can rest easy knowing when to really be concerned.

Have you experienced cramps during pregnancy? How did you deal with it? We would like to hear more from you about your pregnancy journey in the comments section below!

Up Next: Week By Week Pregnancy: Learn How Your Baby Develops Each Week