As exciting as early pregnancy can be, it can also be a super scary time for many women—especially when symptoms like cramping start to pop up. But don't worry—even though the idea of anything going on with your uterus might sound straight-up terrifying right now, cramping in early pregnancy is actually pretty darn common.
In fact, according to renowned OB-GYN Dr. Constance Guille, "about 25% of pregnancies have some light bleeding and/or spotting and about 50% of future successful pregnancies have implantation spotting or bleeding."
So if you're feeling a little scared by those kind-of-menstrual-crampy feelings you're having, know that you're definitely not alone—and read on for everything else you need to know.
What Exactly Are These Cramps?
First things first: Identify what's causing these cramps in the first place. According to Dr. Kecia Gaither: "Implantation occurring within the lining of the uterus may cause transient cramping sensations (spasms); however any cessation/change in this sensation should merit further investigation."
Translation? When a fertilized egg implants itself into your uterine wall—which typically happens between six and twelve days after conception—it sometimes causes mild cramping followed by light spotting (aka implantation bleeding).
This differs from menstrual-like cramps during early pregnancy generally originating from various aspects such as gestational sac grows/ligaments stretch/a cyst burst/vaginal examinations etcetera)
Basically, think of it like this: If baby-making is fishing, then implantation blood spatter is bait on your hook letting all spermatozoal life present knows there’s an occupanto inside!
Like we said earlier—kinda terrifying! But implantation-related cramping should onlylast for approximately 48-72 hours which is why, if you're experiencing cramps beyond that time frame, it's worth calling your OB-GYN to rule out other potential causes.
So What Are Other Potential Causes?
Unfortunately, some more serious health conditions can cause similar symptoms. For example, an ectopic pregnancy (where the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus) commonly manifests as pain on one side of your lower abdomen which is persistent for a lot longer than implantation-related cramping - this could potentially lead towards a dangerous disease state such as haemorrhagic shock or infertility issues.
Other possible reasons include:
Miscarriage: If you have vaginal bleeding (heavy or light), with pain feels like menstrual crampiness/cramping after sex/urination even if mild
Urinary tract infection (UTI): This needs to be treated promptly so that risk does not increase for complications duringthe full course of pregnancy
Round ligament pain: The round ligaments are those situated either sideof your uterus - they extend downwards into the labia majora and inner thighs. As these stretch throughoutpregnancy, you might experience sharp pains when moving from sitting to standing position quickly
LIKE SERIOUSLY THOUGH ARE THE CRAMPS NORMAL OR NOT?
If we’re speaking in absolute terms, no — any cramping at all isn't technically "normal." But what DOES count as normal is anytype of short-lived discomfort, “cratching” feelings being experienced specificallyin first trimester due transitional events occuring within womb’s lining in orderfor embryo(zanmi)kunye family personel stay put where plants a flag while 3rd and subsequent months stretches will naturally mark uncomfortable phase(s).
So yes—while dealing with early-pregnancy cramps might still feel pretty scary at times, know that most people who go on to continue healthy pregnancies do experience them...and that calling your OB-GYN whenever something feels off is never a bad idea!
Got any other questions about early pregnancy? Leave them in the comments below and we might just answer them in our next article.