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When stomach cramps in early pregnancy are a cause for concern

How to know when you should probably be contacting your doctor or midwife


Posted: 13 May 2011
by Daniella Delaney

There are a number of reasons for vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
How to know when stomach cramps early on in your pregnancy are a cause for concern

Strong pain and bleeding do not always signal a miscarriage, but do call your doctor, midwife or hospital if you experience any of the following:

  • The cramps are accompanied by tenderness low down in your belly
  • There is heavy bleeding like a day's heavy period
  • You have seen some spotting either continuously or on-off, either recently or a few days before the cramps started
  • If the pain is severe and lasts for more than 24 hours or is more severe when you strain on the toilet or when you move about
  • There is a sharp pain particularly on one side. Your doctor will probably ask you this, as speedy treatment if an ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed can potentially save the fallopian tube
  • If there are clots of pink or grey tissue in your discharge or you feel dizzy


If you have an ectopic pregnancy and the problem is not found soon enough, the fallopian tube can split and cause internal bleeding. So if you’re noticing symptoms such as feeling hot and feverish, a pain in the shoulder or pain on one side of your abdomen combined with general stomach pain then you should go to hospital to be checked out.


Sadly, miscarriage does affect anything up to 15% of all pregnancies. Though your chance of having on is lower if you have never had one before. Find out more about signs of miscarriage to be aware of and if your pain is accompanied by bleeding, you will need to be seen by a doctor. This should help your peace of mind too.


What can be done?

If your medical team is at all concerned, there are many tests that can be carried out to check that your baby is OK, and give you some reassurance. These include non-invasive treatments such as an ultrasound scan.

It is important to remember that the majority of pregnancies are seen through to a safe and successful conclusion. Once your doctor or midwife is happy that you and your baby are fine, you will probably be advised to simply rest as much as possible.

What if you do have a miscarriage?

If you have a miscarriage in early pregnancy, there is little that can be done to save the baby. However, it is important that you are seen by a doctor or at your local hospital to check that your body is recovering OK.

Find out more about what happens after a miscarriage, how to cope with the emotional upheaval and what to know before you try to conceive again


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Discuss this story

Hi im only 3-4weeks pregnant and have stomach cramps and abnamol pains along with back ache and my stomoch is like im 4-5months pregnant im very tierd all the time and been sick a few times and feels like my hips are going to snap just wondering if you have any advise for me thanks

Posted: 05/02/2012 at 15:58

I am also 5-6 weeks preg and have like period pain cramps and also feel very tired it iSync second pregnancy my daughter is 7 just hoping the cramping is nothing to worry about !

Posted: 02/03/2012 at 17:19

i had the same symtoms as yurs and they told my that I had an urine infection. it is nothing to be worry about. it is normal at this stage of pregnancy to have an urine infection. your bladder and uterus have become altogther smaller which it would be easier for you to catch an infection. this is often caused by having sex. So the pennis attemps to push the bacterias up which allows them to spread out quicker. that is why you are having back, tummy and abnomal pain. So after having sex, you need to make sure that you wee to be able to get rid of those bacterias. You also need to drink a lot of water. At least 4 litres per day. it helps a lot!

Posted: 12/05/2012 at 17:02

im not pregnant anymore i lost my baby after 13 weeks because the doctors said my insides were damaged and bruised and after 4 months baby wouldnt grow anymore. they didnt go into to much detail and wouldnt tell me anymore then that but could you help me understand how your insides get damaged and bruised.

Posted: 23/06/2012 at 09:22

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