One of the best parts of pregnancy, in my opinion, is getting a 9-month reprieve from your period. If you're someone with chronic pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) like me, it's even more of a plus. That is, until you realize that pregnancy is its own little horror show of nausea, heartburn, backache, and cramps. Some cramping is to be expected during pregnancy, but it can be anywhere from uncomfortable to downright painful, not to mention scary. That's why every expectant mom should educate herself about abdominal pain during pregnancy.
I didn't have abdominal cramping with my daughter. At least, not that I can remember. Or maybe it's that since I had a miscarriage in between her and my current pregnancy, I've become hyper-aware of every ache and pain and cramp. I was eight weeks along this past Thanksgiving and spent that morning in bed with abdominal pains, convinced I was going to lose the pregnancy. I ended up being fine and was relieved to get through the first trimester. Now that I'm in the second trimester, though, I'm still experiencing cramping. The other night, I was up until 2:00 a.m. with lower abdominal pain accompanied by a tightening across my entire belly. I didn't end up calling the consulting nurse, but I did mention it to my midwife at my appointment a few days later. She assured me that nothing about the symptoms I described alarmed her.
Especially early on in pregnancy, cramping can be disconcerting to say the least. In fact, terrifying is more like it. When you're armed with the following knowledge, however, you'll be in a much better position to know exactly what you're dealing with if and when cramps hit: