Pelvic pain early pregnancy symptoms

Pelvic pain early pregnancy symptoms DEFAULT

Sharp Pain During Pregnancy

Sharp Pregnancy Pain – Causes and Symptoms

It can be stressful, especially for first-time mothers, to discern between normal pregnancy pains and when there is a possible complication from a sharp pain during pregnancy. During pregnancy, your body will undergo many changes as it adapts to the growing life inside of you. You will gain weight and your body will grow to accommodate your new baby. While this is natural and necessary, it can cause some discomfort.

Possible Causes of a Sharp Pain During Pregnancy

One of the most common sharp pains that women report is a stabbing pain in and around the uterus, stomach or groin area.While this can be uncomfortable, in many cases it can be explained by normal changes that occur during pregnancy.
Some common causes include:

Although the above conditions are part of normal pregnancy, they typically don’t cause sharp pain.If the sharp pain you are experiencing is localized on one side, it could be indicative of an ectopic pregnancy. This is a serious condition and requires urgent medical attention.
A pending miscarriage can also result in a sharp pain from the cramping.This raises concerns for expecting mothers who want to know the difference between normal cramping associated with the expanding uterus and cramping from a pending miscarriage.
Contacting your healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms is always the right choice.

Warning Signs/ Symptoms for a Sharp Pain During Pregnancy

Image of a pregnant woman who has a sharp pain in her stomach
Despite the fact that sharp pain can be the result of normal pregnancy change, there are some warning signs that you need to watch out for in case the sharp pain is the result of a complication.

  • If pain is accompanied by vomiting, fever, chills, heavy bleeding/blood flow, or change in vaginal discharge
  • If the sharp pain is continual after resting or adjusting (round ligament pain shouldn’t last more than a few minutes)
  • If the pain makes it difficult to breathe, walk or speak

If you experience any of the above symptoms contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Coping With Pregnancy Pains

If you are experiencing sharp or stabbing pain during pregnancy, there are some possible solutions that you can try to alleviate the pain:

Again, if the pain becomes too intense or prevents you from doing day-to-day activities, contact your health care provider immediately. Consult with your doctor for more pregnancy-safe pain management ideas.

Want to Know More?

Get the Fetal Life App for Apple and Android endorsed by the American Pregnancy Association. It features meal recommendations, kicks counter, blood glucose tracking, and more.
Gibbs, R. (2008). Prenatal Care. In Danforth’s obstetrics and gynecology (10th ed., p. 18). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Harms, R. (2004). Mayo Clinic guide to a healthy pregnancy (1st ed.). New York: HarperResource.
Jordan, R. (2014). Exercise, Recreational and occupational issues, and intimate relationships in pregnancy. In Prenatal and postnatal care: A woman-centered approach (pp. 274-279). Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.


Pelvic pain in pregnancy

Some women may develop pelvic pain in pregnancy. This is sometimes called pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP) or symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD).

PGP is a collection of uncomfortable symptoms caused by a stiffness of your pelvic joints or the joints moving unevenly at either the back or front of your pelvis.

Symptoms of PGP

PGP is not harmful to your baby, but it can be painful and make it hard to get around.

Women with PGP may feel pain:

  • over the pubic bone at the front in the centre, roughly level with your hips
  • across 1 or both sides of your lower back
  • in the area between your vagina and anus (perineum)
  • spreading to your thighs

Some women may feel or hear a clicking or grinding in the pelvic area.

The pain can be worse when you're:

  • walking
  • going up or down stairs
  • standing on 1 leg (for example, when you're getting dressed)
  • turning over in bed
  • moving your legs apart (for example, when you get out of a car)

Most women with PGP can have a vaginal birth.

Non-urgent advice: Call your midwife or GP if you have pelvic pain and:

  • it's hard for you to move around
  • it hurts to get out of a car or turn over in bed
  • it's painful going up or down stairs

These can be signs of pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain.

Important: Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

If you're well, it's really important you go to all your appointments and scans for the health of you and your baby.

If you're pregnant, hospitals and clinics are making sure it's safe for you to go to appointments.

If you get symptoms of COVID-19, or you're unwell with something other than COVID-19, speak to your midwife or maternity team. They will advise you what to do.

Find out more about pregnancy and COVID-19

Treatments for PGP

Getting diagnosed as early as possible can help keep pain to a minimum and avoid long-term discomfort.

You can ask your midwife for a referral to a physiotherapist who specialises in obstetric pelvic joint problems.

Physiotherapy aims to relieve or ease pain, improve muscle function, and improve your pelvic joint position and stability.

This may include:

  • manual therapy to make sure the joints of your pelvis, hip and spine move normally
  • exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, stomach, back and hip muscles
  • exercises in water
  • advice and suggestions, including positions for labour and birth, looking after your baby and positions for sex
  • pain relief, such as TENS
  • equipment, if necessary, such as crutches or pelvic support belts

These problems tend not to get completely better until the baby is born, but treatment from an experienced practitioner can improve the symptoms during pregnancy.

You can contact the Pelvic Partnership for information and support.

Coping with pelvic pain in pregnancy

Your physiotherapist may recommend a pelvic support belt to help ease your pain, or crutches to help you get around.

It can help to plan your day so you avoid activities that cause you pain. For example, do not go up or down stairs more often than you have to.

The Pelvic, Obstetric & Gynaecological Physiotherapy (POGP) network also offers this advice:

  • be as active as possible within your pain limits, and avoid activities that make the pain worse
  • rest when you can
  • ask your family, friends or partner, if you have one, to help with everyday activities
  • wear flat, supportive shoes
  • sit down to get dressed – for example, do not stand on 1 leg when putting on jeans
  • keep your knees together when getting in and out of the car – a plastic bag on the seat can help you swivel
  • sleep in a comfortable position – for example, on your side with a pillow between your legs
  • try different ways of turning over in bed – for example, turning over with your knees together and squeezing your buttocks
  • take the stairs 1 at a time, or go upstairs backwards or on your bottom
  • if you're using crutches, have a small backpack to carry things in
  • if you want to have sex, consider different positions, such as kneeling on all fours

POGP suggests that you avoid:

  • standing on 1 leg
  • bending and twisting to lift, or carrying a baby on 1 hip
  • crossing your legs
  • sitting on the floor, or sitting twisted
  • sitting or standing for long periods
  • lifting heavy weights, such as shopping bags, wet washing or a toddler
  • vacuuming
  • pushing heavy objects, such as a supermarket trolley
  • carrying anything in only 1 hand (try using a small backpack)

The physiotherapist should be able to provide advice on coping with the emotional impact of living with chronic pain, such as using relaxation techniques. If your pain is causing you considerable distress, then you should let your GP or midwife know. You may require additional treatment.

Download the POGP leaflet Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain for mothers-to-be and new mothers.

You can get more information on managing everyday activities with PGP from the Pelvic Partnership.

Labour and birth with pelvic pain

Many women with pelvic pain in pregnancy can have a normal vaginal birth.

Plan ahead and talk about your birth plan with your birth partner and midwife.

Write in your birth plan that you have PGP, so the people supporting you during labour and birth will be aware of your condition.

Think about birth positions that are the most comfortable for you, and write them in your birth plan.

Being in water can take the weight off your joints and allow you to move more easily, so you might want to think about having a water birth. You can discuss this with your midwife. 

Your 'pain-free range of movement'

If you have pain when you open your legs, find out your pain-free range of movement.

To do this, lie on your back or sit on the edge of a chair and open your legs as far as you can without pain.

Your partner or midwife can measure the distance between your knees with a tape measure. This is your pain-free range.

To protect your joints, try not to open your legs wider than this during labour and birth.

This is particularly important if you have an epidural for pain relief in labour, as you won't be feeling the pain that warns you that you're separating your legs too far.

If you have an epidural, make sure your midwife and birth partner are aware of your pain-free range of movement of your legs.

When pushing in the second stage of labour, you may find it beneficial to lie on one side.

This prevents your legs from being separated too much. You can stay in this position for the birth of your baby, if you wish.

Sometimes it might be necessary to open your legs wider than your pain-free range to deliver your baby safely, particularly if you have an assisted delivery (for example, with the vacuum or ventouse).

Even in this case, it's possible to limit the separation of your legs. Make sure your midwife and doctor are aware that you have PGP.

If you go beyond your pain-free range, your physiotherapist should assess you after the birth.

Take extra care until they have assessed and advised you.

Who gets pelvic pain in pregnancy?

It's estimated that PGP affects up to 1 in 5 pregnant women to some degree.

It's not known exactly why pelvic pain affects some women, but it's thought to be linked to a number of issues, including previous damage to the pelvis, pelvic joints moving unevenly, and the weight or position of the baby.

Factors that may make a woman more likely to develop PGP include:

  • a history of lower back or pelvic girdle pain
  • previous injury to the pelvis (for example, from a fall or accident)
  • having PGP in a previous pregnancy
  • a physically demanding job
  • being overweight
  • having a multiple birth pregnancy has interviews with women talking about their experiences of pelvic pain in pregnancy.

Read more about coping with common pregnancy problems, including nausea, heartburn, tiredness and constipation.

Find maternity services or physiotherapy services near you.

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What causes uterus pain in early pregnancy?

Uterus pain in early pregnancy is a common experience, and it has a range of possible causes. While most of these are not serious, some will require medical attention.

During early pregnancy, the uterus is much smaller than it will be in the second and third trimesters. Therefore, pain in this part of the body is unlikely to be due to pressure from the uterus pushing on other organs or the fatigue of excess weight in the uterus.

Uterus pain, however, remains one of the most common symptoms in early pregnancy. In this article, we look at the possible causes, which include changes to the muscles and hormones.

Common causes

The most common causes of uterus pain in early pregnancy include:

Round ligament pain

Round ligament pain happens because the uterus is growing, and the ligaments that support it must shift to accommodate the growth. This pain is usually a sharp, stabbing sensation that can happen on one or both sides of the uterus. It may be sudden and usually only lasts a few seconds.

In many cases, round ligament pain appears without warning. Some women notice more pain when they cough or sneeze or when they roll over or change position in bed. The pain can also occur when a pregnant woman moves from a sitting to a standing position.

Although it can be uncomfortable, round ligament pain is not dangerous or a sign that anything is wrong.

Pelvic floor pain

Many women experience pelvic floor pain during pregnancy. Symptoms can appear early on, especially in a second pregnancy. A stretching uterus is one cause of the pain, but hormonal changes can also affect how the muscles of the pelvic floor feel and behave.

The sensations of pelvic floor pain vary, and a woman might feel them near her uterus or in her bladder, vagina, back, or abdomen.

Some women with pelvic floor pain have a history of pelvic floor injuries, such as tearing or an episiotomy during childbirth. Many have weak pelvic floor muscles, which can cause additional symptoms, such as bladder leakage when jumping or sneezing.

Pelvic floor pain will not hurt the developing fetus, but it can get worse as the pregnancy progresses.


Early in pregnancy, many women experience cramping that feels similar to menstrual cramps. The expanding uterus or rising progesterone levels may be responsible for this symptom.

Some women worry that cramping is a sign of pregnancy loss. Severe cramping that gets steadily worse over many hours may warn of a pregnancy loss, especially if there is bleeding. For many pregnant women, however, cramping is a temporary discomfort and not a sign of a problem.

Less common causes

Other possible causes of uterus pain during early pregnancy include:

Ovarian torsion

Ovarian torsion happens when an ovary or fallopian tube twists around the tissues supporting it. In some women, this happens following an ovarian cyst, but in others, there are no previous symptoms or warning signs.

Although pregnancy does not cause ovarian torsion, it can occur during pregnancy. Ovarian torsion is a medical emergency because it can cut off the blood supply and destroy the ovary. The ovary may rupture, which can lead to life threatening bleeding. Prompt emergency treatment is important for the survival of both the woman and the developing fetus.

Ovarian torsion causes sudden, sharp, overwhelming pain that may get steadily worse. The pain does not go away or get better with massage. For some women, the pain is intense enough to cause vomiting or fainting.

Ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy happens when an egg implants and grows somewhere other than the uterus — usually in the fallopian tubes. Factors that increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy include:

An ectopic pregnancy is not viable. If it continues to grow, it may damage organs or cause life threatening bleeding.

Once a pregnancy implants in the uterus, it will not move to another location. If an ultrasound confirms that the fetus is developing in the uterus, a woman does not need to worry about ectopic pregnancy.

Other causes of pain

Numerous health issues, many of which do not have a direct association with pregnancy, can cause pain in the abdomen when a woman is pregnant.

Some pregnant women may think that their uterus is higher in the abdomen than it actually is and, thereby, mistake other forms of abdominal pain for uterus pain.

Below are some other of abdominal pain during pregnancy and their symptoms:

  • Liver pain from gallstones or other liver problems, which can cause aching pain in the upper right abdomen, sometimes along with dark urine.
  • Kidney pain from a kidney infection or kidney stones, which typically cause intense pain in the mid-to-upper back, painful urinating, and a fever.
  • Bladder pain from a bladder infection, which may lead to pain in the bladder or abdomen and pain or difficulty urinating.

A pregnant woman may also mistake gastrointestinal pain for uterus pain. Constipation is a common pregnancy complaint that can cause a range of sensations in the stomach, including sharp or shooting pains.

Treatments and home remedies

The right treatment depends on the cause of the pain. Women who experience normal early pregnancy aches and pains, such as those that are due to pelvic floor discomfort or round ligament pain, may find relief by:

  • shifting the knees toward the chest to reduce pressure on the uterus
  • frequently changing position
  • massaging the affected area or surrounding muscles gently
  • using over-the-counter pain relievers under the supervision of a healthcare professional
  • eating more fiber and remaining hydrated to prevent constipation
  • getting plenty of rest to reduce muscle fatigue

A healthcare professional must end an ectopic pregnancy, either surgically or using medication.

Surgery can treat ovarian torsion. In some cases, the surgeon will be able to save the ovary, but in others, this organ may require removal.

When to see a doctor

A woman should see a healthcare professional at least once during her first trimester to confirm the pregnancy, assess its viability, and ensure that the fetus is growing in the uterus. This appointment provides a good opportunity to discuss aches and pains and to ask what is and is not normal.

A pregnant woman should call a doctor about uterus pain if:

  • there is intense cramping
  • the pain gets much worse
  • abdominal pain occurs alongside blood in the stool
  • there are signs of liver problems, such as upper right abdominal pain

She should go to the emergency room if:

  • there is heavy bleeding, similar to a period
  • the pain is unbearable or comes on suddenly and does not go away
  • symptoms include a fever
  • there is blood in the urine
  • there are symptoms of a kidney stone, such as intense back pain and cramping


For most women, uterus pain in early pregnancy is a temporary discomfort that comes and goes. The pain may change as the pregnancy progresses. Some women find that it gets better. Others notice an improvement during the second trimester and then an increase in pain as the uterus expands in the third trimester.

When pain is intense or occurs alongside other symptoms, it is important to see a healthcare professional.

Signs of Pregnancy: The 15 Earliest (and Weirdest) Pregnancy Symptoms

What Causes Uterus Pain in Early Pregnancy?

Uterus pain in early pregnancy

During early pregnancy, you may experience mild twinges or cramping in the uterus. You may also feel aching in your vagina, lower abdomen, pelvic region, or back. It may feel similar to menstrual period cramps.

These minor pains may be caused by different factors like implantation, constipation or gas, or the womb expanding and your ligaments stretching to make room for your baby.

If the pain is mild and goes away on its own, it’s likely nothing to worry about. But any pain along with spotting or heavy bleeding should be reported to your doctor.

Seek emergency care if you experience sharp or chronic pain along with faintness, nausea, high fever or chills, or dizziness.

Read on to learn more about the causes for uterus pain in early pregnancy and when to seek help.

1. Stretching of the uterus

During the first weeks of pregnancy, you likely won’t notice your uterus growing or expanding. But by the 12th week, your uterus stretches and grows to about the size of a grapefruit. If you’re pregnant with twins or multiples, you may feel your uterus stretching sooner.

Symptoms of your uterus stretching may include twinges, aches, or mild discomfort in your uterine or lower abdominal region. This is a normal part of pregnancy and a sign that everything is progressing normally.

Watch for spotting or painful cramping. Report these symptoms to your doctor.

2. Gas or constipation

Gas and constipation are common during the first trimester of pregnancy. Levels of hormones in the body increase during pregnancy, which can slow down digestion and relax muscles in the bowels. You may feel additional pressure in the uterus as a result.

Symptoms also include hard, dry stools, or fewer bowel movements than usual.

Some women also experience bloating or gas in the first trimester. This is considered a normal part of pregnancy.

Drink at least 10 cups of water per day to help relieve gas pain and bloating.

For constipation, eat plenty of fiber-rich foods. You can also talk to your doctor about taking a pregnancy-safe stool softener.

3. Miscarriage

Miscarriage is the loss of pregnancy before 20 weeks.

Possible symptoms include:

  • vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • uterine or pelvic pain
  • low back pain
  • abdominal pain
  • passing tissue or discharge through the vagina

Let your doctor know if you’re experiencing miscarriage symptoms. Once a miscarriage has started, there is no treatment for saving the pregnancy, but in some cases medication or surgery is needed.

4. Ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg attaches itself in a place other than the inside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes. You may feel sharp, stabbing, or chronic pain on one or both sides of the uterus or abdomen.

Other symptoms include:

  • vaginal bleeding that’s heavier or lighter than your normal period
  • weakness, dizziness, or fainting
  • gastrointestinal or stomach discomfort

Ectopic pregnancy is a medical emergency. Seek immediate emergency medical help if you think you’re experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.

Is it round ligament pain?

Round ligament pain usually starts in the second trimester, so it’s unlikely to be the cause of pain in early pregnancy. The round ligaments are located in the pelvis and hold the uterus in place. As your belly grows, they stretch.

With round ligament pain, you may experience what feels like a spasm on the right side of your abdomen or right hip. Some pregnant women do feel round ligament pain on both sides, though.

The pain should only last a few seconds or minutes, though it may return when you laugh or do certain movements like standing or bending down.

If you continue to experience round ligament pain, it may be helpful to try light stretching, prenatal yoga, or prenatal massage. Always check with your doctor before trying these treatments, though.

How to manage uterus pain in early pregnancy

Treatment for uterine pains depends on your symptoms. Mild uterine pain that goes away after a few minutes or hours is likely nothing to worry about.

You can treat mild uterine discomfort at home by taking a warm (not hot) shower or bath, resting, and drinking plenty of water and other fluids. Tell your doctor about your symptoms, as they may recommend another form of treatment that’s safe for your pregnancy.

Sharp, stabbing, or chronic pain along with symptoms like bleeding, shortness of breath, or fever or chills likely requires emergency medical care.

Let medical staff know you’re pregnant and report any symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, or faintness right away. The medical staff will assess your symptoms and may perform an ultrasound.

When to seek help

Seek help if you’re experiencing sharp or chronic uterine pain along with other symptoms like:

  • vaginal bleeding
  • dizziness
  • high fever
  • chills

If the pain goes away on its own, it likely isn’t a reason for concern, but you should still let your doctor know.

You should also let your doctor know about any mild uterine pain during pregnancy. They can decide if you need to be seen right away or if you can wait until your next scheduled prenatal appointment.

Also, tell your doctor if you’re experiencing uterine pain along with spotting or bleeding. These may be symptoms of a miscarriage. Your doctor can assess your symptoms and determine next steps.

The takeaway

Mild uterine pain during early pregnancy doesn’t always mean something is wrong with the pregnancy. However, pain accompanied by spotting or bleeding should be reported to your doctor. These may be signs that a miscarriage is starting.

Your doctor can assess your symptoms at any point during your pregnancy to determine if you need medical care.


Pregnancy pelvic pain symptoms early

Early in pregnancy, many women have pelvic pain. Pelvic pain refers to pain in the lowest part of the torso, in the area below the abdomen and between the hipbones (pelvis). The pain may be sharp or crampy (like menstrual cramps) and may come and go. It may be sudden and excruciating, dull and constant, or some combination. Usually, temporary pelvic pain is not a cause for concern. It can occur normally as the bones and ligaments shift and stretch to accommodate the fetus.

Pelvic pain differs from abdominal pain, which occurs higher in the torso, in the area of the stomach and intestine. However, sometimes women have trouble discerning whether pain is mainly in the abdomen or pelvis. Causes of abdominal pain during pregnancy are usually not related to the pregnancy.

During early pregnancy, pelvic pain may result from disorders that are related to

  • The pregnancy (obstetric disorders)

  • The female reproductive system (gynecologic disorders) but not the pregnancy

  • Other organs, particularly the digestive tract and urinary tract

Sometimes no particular disorder is identified.

The most common obstetric causes of pelvic pain during early pregnancy are

In a miscarriage that has occurred, all of the contents of the uterus (fetus and placenta) may be expelled (complete abortion) or not (incomplete abortion).

The most common serious obstetric cause of pelvic pain is

When an ectopic pregnancy ruptures, blood pressure may drop very low, the heart may race, and blood may not clot normally. Immediate surgery may be required.

Digestive and urinary tract disorders, which are common causes of pelvic pain in general, are also common causes during pregnancy. These disorders include the following:

Pelvic pain during late pregnancy may result from labor or from a disorder unrelated to the pregnancy.

Various characteristics (risk factors) increase the risk of some obstetric disorders that cause pelvic pain.

For miscarriage, risk factors include the following:

  • Poorly controlled medical problems such as diabetes, thyroid disease, or lupus

For ectopic pregnancy, risk factors include the following:

  • A previous ectopic pregnancy (the most important risk factor)

  • Previous abdominal surgery, especially surgery for permanent sterilization (tubal ligation)

If a pregnant woman has sudden, very severe pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis, doctors must quickly try to determine whether prompt surgery is required—as is the case when the cause is a ruptured ectopic pregnancy or appendicitis.

In pregnant women with pelvic pain, the following symptoms are cause for concern:

Women with warning signs should see a doctor immediately.

Women without warning signs should try to see a doctor within a day or so if they have pain or burning during urination or pain that interferes with daily activities. Women with only mild discomfort and no other symptoms should call the doctor. The doctor can help them decide whether and how quickly they need to be seen.

Doctors ask about the pain:

  • Whether it begins suddenly or gradually

  • Whether it occurs in a specific spot or is more widespread

  • Whether moving or changing positions worsens the pain

  • Whether it is crampy and whether it is constant or comes and goes

Doctors also ask about the following:

  • Other symptoms, such as vaginal bleeding, a vaginal discharge, a need to urinate often or urgently, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation

  • Previous pregnancy-related events (obstetric history), including past pregnancies, miscarriages, and intentional terminations of pregnancy (induced abortions) for medical or other reasons

  • Risk factors for miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy


A pregnancy test using a urine sample is almost always done. If the pregnancy test is positive, ultrasonography of the pelvis is done to confirm that the pregnancy is normally located―in the uterus―rather than somewhere else (an ectopic pregnancy). For this test, a handheld ultrasound device is placed on the abdomen, inside the vagina, or both.

If doctors suspect an ectopic pregnancy, testing also includes a blood test to measure a hormone produced by the placenta early during pregnancy (human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG). If symptoms (such as very low blood pressure or a racing heart) suggest that an ectopic pregnancy may have ruptured, blood tests are done to determine whether the woman's blood can clot normally.

Other tests are done depending on which disorders are suspected. Doppler ultrasonography, which shows the direction and speed of blood flow, helps doctors identify a twisted ovary, which can cut off the ovary’s blood supply. Other tests can include cultures of blood, urine, or a discharge from the vagina and urine tests (urinalysis) to check for infections.

If pain is persistently troublesome and the cause remains unknown, doctors make a small incision just below the navel and insert a viewing tube (laparoscope) to directly view the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries to further evaluate the cause of the pain. Rarely, a larger incision (a procedure called laparotomy) is required.

Specific disorders are treated, as in the following examples:

If pain relievers are needed, acetaminophen is the safest one for pregnant women, but if it is ineffective, an opioid may be necessary.

  • Change the activity causing pain

  • Avoid heavy lifting or pushing

  • Sleep with a pillow between their knees

  • Rest as much as possible with their back well-supported

  • Apply heat to painful areas

  • Do Kegel exercises (squeezing and releasing the muscles around the vagina, urethra, and rectum)

  • Use a maternity support belt

  • Pelvic pain during early pregnancy usually results from changes that occur normally during pregnancy.

  • Sometimes it results from disorders, which may be related to the pregnancy, to female reproductive organs but not the pregnancy, or to other organs.

  • Doctors’ first priority is to identify disorders that require emergency surgery, such as an ectopic pregnancy or appendicitis.

  • Ultrasonography is usually done.

  • General measures (such as resting and applying heat) can help relieve pain due to the normal changes during pregnancy.

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What are the early signs of pregnancy?

Ouch! Here’s What Your Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy Might Be

Congratulations, you’re pregnant! As you grow a tiny human inside you, rapid changes are happening in your body. While some are amazing (that pregnancy glow), some are… not so amazing.

Who knew pregnancy kinda hurt? We’re talking about cramping and twinges in your pelvis, lower abdomen, and back. You may feel discomfort as your uterus expands and affects the muscles and organs nearby.

Though it’s unpleasant, this kind of pain isn’t usually a cause for concern. Read on for more about common reasons for pelvic pain during pregnancy and how you can find relief.

What’s the pelvic floor, and why does it hurt?

Your pelvic floor spans the bottom of your pelvis, or the area between your abdomen and legs. It’s covered with a layer of muscle and supports the organs in your pelvis, like your bladder and ovaries.

Both men and women have pelvic floors. Women’s are wider, since we may need to accommodate an expanding uterus. Early pregnancy pelvic pain can include discomfort in your pelvic floor, bladder, vagina, back, or abdomen.

Lots of women have weak pelvic floor muscles, which can become even weaker after giving birth. There’s an exercise to strengthen this area called Kegels. (You might have heard Samantha Jones talk about them on “Sex and the City.”)

When done correctly, Kegels are the gold standard for strengthening your pelvic floor and keeping you from dribbling pee down there.

Cramps: Not just a monthly thing

You know what period cramps feel like? During pregnancy, you may also feel cramping as your uterus stretches to make room for the fetus.

Stretching pains may include spasms or mild discomfort in your uterine or lower abdominal area. Most cramps go away with time and are not a sign of a larger problem.

To ease your cramps, try:

  • resting
  • taking a warm shower or bath
  • drinking plenty of water and other fluids
  • lying on your back and shifting your knees toward your chest to take pressure off your uterus

Try not to worry — light cramping is actually a sign your pregnancy is going well.

More severe cramps

Some bleeding or cramping is common during pregnancy, but it can also be a sign of a miscarriage. Miscarriage is most common early in a pregnancy — 80 percent of miscarriages happen in the first 12 weeks.

Vaginal spotting or bleeding, mild to severe back spasms, contractions, and tissue discharge from the vagina are also symptoms of miscarriage. If you experience any of these, call your healthcare provider immediately.

Round ligament pain

The round ligaments are muscles located in your pelvis that hold your uterus in place. As your womb grows, especially during your second trimester, they stretch and can feel achy.

The pain may feel sharp or like a pulling sensation and is usually on only one side of the abdomen. The pain should last only a few seconds or minutes, though it may return when you laugh, stand, or bend down.

You can find some relief from round ligament pain by:

  • resting
  • avoiding sudden movements
  • using warm compresses
  • doing light stretching or prenatal yoga
  • getting a prenatal massage

Definitely contact your healthcare provider if the pain is frequent or if you also have other symptoms.

Belly aches

Other types of pelvic pain during pregnancy can come from your bladder, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, or liver.

Gas or, worse, constipation

Gas and bloating are common during your first trimester, thanks to the hormone progesterone, which increases during pregnancy. Progesterone causes your muscles to relax, so your digestion slows and gas builds up.

Here are some ways to get relief from gas and bloating:

  • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.
  • Cut out foods that make you gassy.
  • Exercise.

Up to 38 percent of pregnant women experience constipation.

Once again, you can thank progesterone for relaxing your bowel muscles and slowing digestion. If you’re taking iron supplements (like prenatal vitamins), they could also be the culprit.

To fight constipation, try:

  • exercising
  • eating more fiber-rich foods like raspberries, peas, and broccoli
  • consuming probiotics, like yogurt
  • taking a pregnancy-safe stool softener (after getting the OK from your doctor)

UTIs (aka painful peeing)

You probably already know that pregnant women pee approximately every 5 minutes, since the uterus sits directly on top of the bladder.

Another not-so-fun side effect is urinary tract infections (UTIs). As your uterus grows, the increased weight can prevent urine from completely draining out of your bladder. This creates a perfect environment for bacteria to grow.

Symptoms of a UTI can include:

  • cramping in the lower abdomen
  • burning or discomfort when peeing
  • a sense of urgency when peeing
  • cloudy or foul-smelling pee

The good news: If caught early, a UTI should be easy to treat with antibiotics that are safe for both you and your baby.

To prevent UTIs:

  • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day.
  • Cut back on refined foods, fruit juices, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar.
  • Pee as soon as you feel the need.
  • After peeing, blot dry (wiping from front to back, of course).
  • Pee before and after sex.
  • Don’t soak in the tub for longer than 30 minutes.
  • Avoid strong soaps, douches, antiseptic creams, feminine hygiene sprays, and powders.

Ouch! Welcome the kidneys

Kidney issues can show up during pregnancy. The two most frequent issues are kidney infections and kidney stones.

A kidney infection starts as a UTI and travels up to one or both kidneys. Normally, urine drains down from your kidneys into your bladder and then out through your urethra (the tube you pee out of).

But progesterone can slow the contraction of the ureters (ducts on your kidneys that connect to your bladder) so that the urine doesn’t drain completely. As your uterus swells, it weighs down on the ureters, and they don’t fully drain.

Signs of a kidney infection can include:

  • the need to pee often
  • pain in your back, abdomen, or groin
  • pain or burning while peeing
  • blood in your urine

Don’t wait to see your healthcare provider. An untreated infection can permanently damage your kidneys or spread to your bloodstream and cause sepsis, a life threatening infection. Kidney infections are treatable with antibiotics, but sometimes hospitalization is required.

Kidney stones are collections of calcium or uric acid that build up in the kidneys. Sometimes they’re NBD, but they can get stuck in your ureter and block your pee from coming out. This is very painful.

While kidney stones can happen to anyone (pregnant or not), they tend to happen in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. Pain from kidney stones may show up in your abdomen, back, sides, and groin.

Symptoms include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • a sense of urgency when peeing
  • blood in your pee

Treatment for kidney stones can include:

  • bed rest
  • pain relievers
  • a medication called Flomax (tamsulosin), which relaxes the ureter
  • drinking more fluids
  • surgery

Liver pain

Your liver is responsible for many crucial functions, including sorting nutrients and creating bile, which helps with digestion. Several types of liver disease can occur during pregnancy. See your healthcare provider to get the correct diagnosis.

Your liver is connected to your gallbladder, which produces the digestive enzyme your liver uses. Gallstones and other liver-related problems can cause an ache in your upper right abdomen, just below your ribs.

Usually it’s a dull, vague pain and may come along with a backache and darker urine. You might also experience intense itching, which can be a sign of gallbladder problems.

Serious health conditions

Some conditions that cause pelvic pain require immediate medical treatment.

Ovarian torsion

Ovarian torsion is when the ovary, and possibly the fallopian tube, twists inside the body. This causes sudden, sharp, overwhelming lower abdominal pain — so intense that some women vomit or faint.

Usually it happens on only one side of the body — more often the right side. Ovarian torsion can be triggered by an ovarian cyst but can also appear without previous symptoms. In pregnant women, it most often happens in weeks 6 to 14.

Sometimes the ovary can twist back to its normal position on its own, but that doesn’t always happen. If ovarian torsion cuts off the blood supply to your ovary, it can permanently damage your fertility. You might need surgery to untwist your ovary and fallopian tube.

Ovarian torsion can be fatal to a fetus in some cases, though it generally isn’t. But it can be extremely painful, and surgery to correct it could affect your pregnancy. If you feel sharp, overwhelming pain on one side, head to the ER immediately.

Ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy (also called tubal pregnancy) is when a fertilized egg attaches someplace other than your uterus, like in your fallopian tube. This occurs in 1 to 2 percent of pregnancies (it’s slightly more common in women who have had fertility treatments).

If you experience sudden, sharp, or stabbing pain on one or both sides of your uterus or abdomen; vaginal bleeding; weakness; dizziness; or fainting, immediately head to the ER.

Risk factors for an ectopic pregnancy include:

  • being over 35
  • smoking
  • fertility treatments
  • previous fallopian tube, pelvic, or abdominal surgery
  • previous ectopic pregnancy
  • endometriosis
  • certain STIs

In an ectopic pregnancy, the fetus can’t survive. And if it continues to grow, it may damage your organs or cause life threatening bleeding.

Treatment for ectopic pregnancy involves a medication called methotrexate or surgery (typically laparoscopy), either of which will end the pregnancy.

Consider asking your healthcare provider for a referral to a grief counselor after an ectopic pregnancy. You aren’t alone in this experience, and support is available. It’s also important to take care of yourself after a loss. Eat nutritious foods, keep moving with gentle exercise, and give yourself time to grieve.

Treatment and home remedies

How you treat pregnancy pain depends on its cause. But in general, women who experience early pregnancy throbs and aches may find relief if they:

  • rest
  • take a warm bath or shower
  • massage the affected area or surrounding muscles
  • try to avoid quick movements and sharp turns at the waist
  • exercise
  • get a prenatal massage
  • wear low-heeled shoes with good arch support
  • use over-the-counter pain relievers (with the permission of a healthcare provider)
  • wear a pelvic support garment, which can keep the uterus from pushing down on the pelvis

Your healthcare provider may recommend other treatments for you.

When to see a doctor

See your healthcare provider immediately if you experience sharp pain, especially if you also have any of these symptoms:

  • vaginal bleeding
  • dizziness
  • shortness of breath
  • blood in your pee
  • high fever
  • chills

If your pain goes away on its own, it may not be a concern. But you should still let your doctor know about it.

Bottom line

Mild uterine pain during early pregnancy is normal. Resting and adding more water and fiber to your diet will usually help.

There are a few more serious conditions that cause pelvic pain, but these are rare. Cramping accompanied by spotting or bleeding may indicate a miscarriage, and you should call your healthcare provider immediately.

Otherwise, welcome to 9 months of pregnancy, where aches and pains are part of your body’s normal response to the fetus cooking inside you. You’ve got this.


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Am I pregnant? Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy

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  • If you think you might be pregnant but it's too early to tell, there are some very early signs and symptoms of pregnancy to look out for that could give you an idea.

    Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy will differ from person to person, as each pregnancy is different. Some women spot the early signs of pregnancy within just a week of conception, well before it’s time to have an ultrasound scan and even before they can take a pregnancy test. Others will get no symptoms of pregnancy at all; although it’s rare, we’ve all heard the stories about people giving birth without even knowing they were expecting.

    “For most women the earliest sign of pregnancy is a missed period,” Dr Prudence Knight, online GP at Push Doctor, explains. “Some women feel tired and a little sick before this. In fact nausea, vomiting and exhaustion are the most common symptoms of early pregnancy, they tend to show up around six weeks from your last period and improve from about 12 weeks onwards.

    “Some women have a tiny bit of spotting around the time their period is due. This is thought to be due to the embryo implanting in your womb.”

    But what else should you look out for? Here, we’ve covered everything to do with early signs and symptoms of pregnancy, from morning sickness and first signs of pregnancy to symptoms you might recognise when you’re later along.

    How soon can you get symptoms and signs of pregnancy?

    Most pregnancy symptoms will start to appear around five or six weeks after your last menstrual period. Usually symptoms won’t appear immediately, as it takes a few weeks to develop them. Having symptoms a few days after sex isn’t usually a sign of pregnancy, and can actually be due to something else such as PMS.

    Woman using her phone to check for the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy

    Credit: Getty

    However, a missed period, fatigue or morning sickness before this five-week mark could indicate pregnancy, Lesley Gilchrist, registered midwife and co-founder of My Expert Midwife, says. “The most common early signs are missing a period and feeling out of sorts and not yourself- often feeling overwhelmingly tired and needing to sleep a lot.

    “Morning sickness is also common and can take on several forms for different people, such as feeling nauseous at certain times of the day or all day, vomiting, dizziness or a combination of all these. The need to wee a lot can also be common and is caused by changing hormones in the early days, as are tender, swollen breasts which are sensitive when touched.”

    The most common early signs of pregnancy

    Your body experiences a lot of changes during pregnancy and this can result in many different symptoms from early on, such as the ones below. But keep in mind, these symptoms don’t automatically mean you’re pregnant and there can be other medical reasons why you’re experiencing these changes.

    Here are some of the common signs and symptoms, and what else they could mean if you have them.

    Loss of appetite for favourite foods

    Pregnancy can really mess with your eating habits, that’s for sure. As well as craving foods you may not have previously been interested in, you can actually lose a taste for some foods and drinks that are usually a big part of your normal diet. Women sometimes go off staples such as coffee, tea or fatty foods. “Changes in tastes and a heightened sense of smell are very common and can persist throughout pregnancy but do tend to be strongest early on”, Dr Knight explained.

    Woman with a coffee, as going off particular foods is an indicator of pregnancy

    Credit: Getty

    What else could it be?
    People often experience a loss in appetite when they’re feeling anxious or stressed. This is because anxiety triggers emotional and psychological changes in your body to help you deal with the pressure, they often affect the stomach and digestive tract and can make you lose your appetite. When you’re feeling more relaxed, your appetite should return back to normal.

    Tummy twinges, pinching and pulling

    Some women experience feelings inside their stomachs in the early stages of pregnancy that replicate the sensation of their muscles being pulled and stretched. Sometimes referred to as ‘abdominal twinges’, these tingles are nothing to worry about. 

    Layla Rumble, midwife at The Portland Hospital, which is part of HCA Healthcare UK, said, “Abdominal twinges and mild pains are very common during pregnancy and usually nothing to worry about.  Twinges and abdominal pain is usually caused by constipation, ligament pain, or trapped wind – all of which are a normal part of pregnancy.

    “Twinges, and pains can be alleviated by regular light exercise, eating smaller, frequent meals, having plenty of fibre-rich foods such as fruit and vegetables, and drinking plenty of water to help empty your bladder regularly. 

    Woman taking a deep breath outside, after experiencing the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy

    Credit: Getty

    “If you find that you experience intense and ongoing pains, or pain accompanied by bleeding, it is important to seek medical advice from your midwife or GP to rule out anything serious.”

    What else could it be?
    If you’ve been heavily exercising or straining your muscles, you could be experiencing some tension from that, especially if you’ve focused on ab workouts.  A tight stomach can also be due to other factors such as digestive issues, stress or hormonal changes, and doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant.

    Vulva change in colour

    One of the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy can be a change in colour of your vulva and vagina. Your vulva and vagina are usually pink, but this changes to dark purplish-red as your pregnancy progresses. This happens because more blood is needed in that area to build the tissue, a change which midwives refer to as Chadwick’s sign.

    What else could it be?
    All of the maintenance we perform on our vaginas can contribute to a change in colour. If you have been using razors or hair removal creams you could be suffering from reddening or a rash. Also, watch out for washing products that aren’t sensitive to the hormone balance as this can have an effect too. Look for gentle products to prevent irritation to your vagina.

    Peeing more often

    It is possible that in the early stages of pregnancy you might feel an increased need to wee, feeling like you’re forever making trips to the toilet. You could notice this feeling especially at night time.

    Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy

    Credit: Getty

    What else could it be?
    It is normal to wee between six to eight times in a 24-hour period, if you’re urinating much more often than this it could be that you’re drinking too much fluid or caffeine. You could also have a bladder infection or be suffering from an over active bladder. If it’s painful or you have any concerns, speak to a GP about your symptoms.

    Metallic taste

    Many women notice a strange, sour, slightly metallic taste in their mouth when first becoming pregnant. This happens because of the pregnancy hormone progesterone and is known as dysgeusia, which is a taste disorder causing an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Experts have discovered that pregnancy hormones play a role in controlling our sense of taste, so it might fluctuate wildly throughout your pregnancy. However, dysgeusia usually disappears after the first trimester.

    What else could it be?
    According to the NHS, other reasons could be gum disease, colds or sinus infections, indigestion, and due to certain medications. There are also serious illnesses that are linked to tasting metal such as problems with your liver or kidneys, so it’s best to speak to a professional if you have any concerns.


    The pregnancy hormone progesterone can cause your tummy to feel full, rounded and bloated. If you’re feeling swollen in this area, there’s a possibility you could be pregnant. 

    What else could it be?
    Lots of foods can bloat you, so if you’re experiencing this feeling after eating foods such as grains, beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts or even artificial sweeteners it may just be wind. Bloating can also be a sign of food intolerances or conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). If you think it might be IBS, take a look at our IBS symptoms and remedies guide to see if any of these help to relieve the bloating you’ve been experiencing. A low FODMAP diet is also recommended to alleviate symptoms.

    Period pain

    This is a rather contradictory symptom, but you may actually get pains that resemble your period around the same time that you are expecting your period. This one of the less common signs of pregnancy but shouldn’t be discounted. Many women experience this pain as the womb expands, stretching the ligaments as your bump grows to accommodate the baby.

    Woman clutching stomach, lying on the sofa

    Credit: Getty

    What else could it be?
    Period pains are commonly associated with muscle cramps in your tummy, back and thighs, but this kind of pain is normal for women. If it’s not your period, it could be a result of exercise or overexertion. 

    Tender breasts

    As early as 1-2 weeks after conception you might notice a difference in your breasts. Your nipples might be sensitive to the touch, they may be sore or they may change shape and become swollen – meaning your bra might not fit as well as normal. Dr Knight said: ‘Your breasts may become sore around the time your period is due and they usually increase in size during early pregnancy.’

    What else could it be?
    It could be your pill or you might be due on your period – many early signs and symptoms of pregnancy are similar to when you’re having a period or are due on. Some antidepressants and other medications can also cause breast pain, so it’s recommended to thoroughly read the enclosed leaflet to learn about side effects. 

    Bleeding or ‘spotting’

    About a week after conception, the embryo pushes itself into the wall of the uterus (or womb). This causes some light bleeding or spots of blood to appear in your knickers. You may even get stomach cramps while the embryo is moving.

    Young woman in bathroom, checking for signs of period spotting

    Credit: Getty

    What else could it be?
    Your period (although some women still get light periods throughout their pregnancy), changes with the Pill; such as forgetting to take it or taking it during your seven-day break, an infection, or bleeding from sex. It can also be a result of any hormonal changes.

    Missed period

    This is the most common pregnancy symptom and is usually the first one you might pick up on. It happens around 4-5 weeks after the embryo has attached itself to the wall of the uterus, the wall builds itself up so the embryo is well-cushioned – rather than break down and cause a period.

    What else could it be?
    Stress, changing your contraception or excessive weight gain or loss can all contribute to changes to your period, including a missed one. It doesn’t automatically mean you’re pregnant, but it’s best to take a test if you want peace of mind either way.

    Nausea/Morning Sickness

    Some women complain of feeling nauseous throughout their whole pregnancy and others manage to escape it. This well-known symptom known as morning sickness will normally show up between 2-8 weeks into your pregnancy. One theory is that it is caused by an increase of the hormone progesterone. Progesterone apparently softens the muscles in the uterus ready for labour but it also softens the stomach muscles causing nausea and sickness.

    What else could it be?
    Food poisoning, stress, or other stomach upsets can also cause you to feel queasy.

    Fatigue and tiredness

    Many pregnant women complain that they find themselves falling asleep on buses, at work and even during sex. Feeling more tired is a pregnancy symptom that can also start as early as the first week and is because your body is working overtime to get ready for the baby.

    Woman suffering with tiredness, one of the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy

    Credit: Getty

    Layla Rumble adds, “Pregnancy is a tiring process and can take its toll on energy levels as your body changes.  Therefore, it is very common to feel tired and exhausted during pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester when your hormones fluctuate the most.

    The rapid increase in oestrogen levels in the first trimester, along with a constantly increased level of progesterone hormones throughout pregnancy, play a significant role in the onset of most pregnancy symptoms, including fatigue.”

    What else could it be?
    Stress, depression, common cold or flu, or other illnesses can also leave you feeling tired or sleepy, and it can sometimes occur if you woke in the middle of a sleep cycle or didn’t sleep well.


    Having backache is a common symptom throughout your pregnancy due to the extra weight you’re carrying, but it can also be an early sign of pregnancy too. The ache will be similar to the stomach cramps and aches you get when you’re on your period. And it’s just because your body is getting ready for the baby.

    What else could it be?
    If you are due on your period you may get a backache or if your suffering from physical or mental stress and tension. It could also be another back problem.

    Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy

    Credit: Getty

    Leg cramps

    It’s quite common for women to suffer from leg cramps during pregnancy and you might notice it a lot more in the early stages. This has been linked to having less calcium in your blood because it’s being taken by the baby.

    What else could it be?
    Straining a muscle or being cold, especially at night, can cause the muscles in your legs to tense and spasm. It can also be a result of dehydration or simply sitting still for a long period of time and not moving your muscles enough.


    The sudden rise of hormones in your body can cause you to have headaches early in pregnancy. If you’re tired too you might be more sensitive to light and noise.

    What else could it be?
    There are loads of reasons why people get headaches, from tension and dehydration to eye strain. Headaches are normal and can be triggered by too much screen time, stress, alcohol, changes to routine, and more. However, if you’re concerned about the amount of headaches you’re getting, speak to a GP. 

    Food cravings

    Having random pregnancy cravings is another one of the most common early signs and symptoms of pregnancy. It’s caused by your body craving what it needs. Some women say they crave mud when they’re pregnant, and this may be due to a lack of iron in their blood. Others want combinations like fish and ice cream. This could be because of a lack of protein and sugar.

    Woman eating an ice cream, one of the food cravings associated with the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy

    Credit: Getty

    It doesn’t necessarily mean your cravings will be weird and wonderful though, just a craving for cheese could mean you need more calcium, especially if it’s linked with your cramps. This can start early on and last throughout your pregnancy. You should give into these cravings if you can, but within reason.

    What else could it be?
    Poor diet, lack of a certain nutrient, stress, depression. Craving sugar could also be a sign of diabetes, and any concerns about strange cravings should be discussed with your GP.

    Feeling hot

    You might not even notice the difference yourself, but if you’re trying for a baby you may have been charting your basal body temperature. This is the temperature of your body at rest. Throughout your cycle, your body temperature fluctuates and if it has been high for 18 days or more, it’s likely that you’re pregnant. Normal temperature is 96-98°F and when you are ovulating or pregnant, it may be around 97-99°F.

    What else could it be?
    Your temperature is likely to rise if you’re feeling unwell with a cold or the flu. It will also rise slightly at different stages of your cycle.

    ‘Feeling’ pregnant

    Many women will notice that they feel uterine cramping as an early sign and symptom pregnancy. You could even feel period like cramps or even pain on one side. The most common reason for this kind of cramp is that your uterus is growing. This is normal pain and should be expected in a healthy pregnancy. You may also feel ‘full’ or ‘heavy’ around your uterus, and actually it’s not uncommon to hear that in early pregnancy some women describe feeling like they were about to start their period any minute.

    Pregnant woman lying on the bed

    Credit: Getty

    What else could it be?
    If you are due on your period you may get pre-menstrual cramps.

    Larger breasts

    You might already know that one of the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy many women experience is changes to their breast tissue. Towards the end of the first trimester or the beginning of the second trimester you may notice that your breasts begin to grow. This is because the tissues inside the breast are preparing for nursing.

    What else could it be?
    Breast tenderness and swelling can be another sign that you’re expecting your period.

    Changes in nipples

    Your nipples may become larger and darker as your pregnancy progresses. You may also notice small, goosebump or pimple-like white areas on your areola, but don’t panic, these are totally normal. They’re called Montgomery’s tubercules.

    What else could it be?
    Changes in nipples should be examined as part of your regular check against breast cancer, follow these easy steps to checking your breasts for peace of mind.

    Low libido

    It’s common to suffer from a low libido during the early stages of pregnancy. Your breasts may be sensitive, causing you a bit of pain, plus feeling nauseous and tired could reduce your sexual appetite.

    Two people looking out of the window

    Credit: Getty

    What else could it be?
    There are lots of other reasons why you have gone off sex, from exhaustion to stress.

    Tingling nipples

    Some women get a tingling feeling in their nipples as one of the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy. The surge in hormones in your body causes an increased blood supply to your breasts, which causes the tingling sensation.

    What else could it be?
    It could just be related to your menstrual cycle, or there’s a small chance a tingling feeling can be caused by an infection.

    Shortness of breath

    In early stages of pregnancy, an increase of progesterone in your body causes you to breathe more often, which can feel like shortness of breath. You’ll also increase the amount of air you take in with each breath. The feeling might be a bit unusual, but it’s usually harmless.

    What else could it be?
    Chest infections, common colds, allergies and anxiety disorders can also contribute to a shortness of breath. However, if it’s impacting your daily life you should speak to a professional about your symptoms.

    How can you tell if you’re pregnant?

    The most effective way to confirm you’re pregnant is via a pregnancy test. These can be bought for at-home use, or you can take a test at your GP’s office. Pregnancy tests check for the presence of the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG), in your urine, which the body produces after you conceive. 

    Woman holding pregnancy test after experiencing the signs and symptoms of pregnancy

    Credit: Getty

    GP’s can also test for pregnancy via a blood test, as they can check for the hormone in your blood as well as urine. Blood tests can tell if you are pregnant about six to eight days after you ovulate.

    How reliable are home pregnancy tests?

    According to the NHS, home pregnancy tests are reliable as long as you follow the instructions correctly. It may not be reliable if you didn’t follow instructions or you’ve taken the test too early. 

    Most pregnancy tests can be taken after the first missed period, with any tests taken before this time running the risk of being inaccurate. Professionals also recommend avoiding drinking too much fluid ahead of doing a test, as it can dilute the level of HGC.

    Negative tests may not be reliable if you’ve taken it too early, as the level of HGC might not be enough at the time of taking it. Tests can also vary in their sensitivity and so it’s recommended you read instructions thoroughly before using one, as there’s no guarantee each one will be the same.

    Alternative ways to check for pregnancy

    If you don’t want to buy a test yet, there are other ways you can find out whether it’s likely you’re pregnant or not. But keep in mind that this is in no way accurate, and pregnancy tests are the best way to confirm your pregnancy.

    Young woman with laptop checking for common signs and symptoms of pregnancy

    Credit: Getty

    All of the symptoms listed above can be early signs of pregnancy, but don’t always mean that you are. If you’re experiencing several of them at once, it could be a sign that it’s time to take a test.

    Clearblue has a free online quiz which asks you about any symptoms, as well as what contraceptives you’ve been using, if applicable. It takes minutes and they can give you advice on whether or not to use one of their tests.

    You also know your own body better than anyone, so you might identify significant changes to your mood, physical changes to your body especially around the stomach. If you have regular periods, any changes to that routine could indicate you’re expecting too.

    Which pregnancy books should I buy?

    If you are expecting or trying for a baby, you might want to buy some pregnancy books to help you prepare for motherhood. We’ve put together some recommendations below, along with descriptions to help you decide whether or not these books are suitable for you or not. 

    The book cover of First Time Pareny by Lucy Atkins

    Credit: Amazon

    Written by health journalist and mum-of-three Lucy Atkins, this honest book gives real insight into what you should expect as a first time parent. She provides practical advice and level-headed reassurance, addressing the needs of both baby and mother during the first year.

    This includes surviving the first few days, adapting to your new routine, why your baby is crying, sleep advice, and so much more. Her guide also includes information on single parenting, and on adopted, multiple and special needs babies.

    View at Amazon

    ‘Mindful Pregnancy: Meditation, Yoga, Hypnobirthing, Natural Remedies, and Nutrition – Trimester by Trimester’, by Tracey Donegan

    The book cover of Mindful Pregnancy by Tracy Donegan

    Credit: Amazon

    If you’re into yoga and mindfulness, this pregnancy book is full of useful information to get you through your pregnancy and care for your mind and body.

    It features practical advice from midwife and positive birth expert, Tracy Donegan, to help you to understand your body, relish your pregnancy, and bond with your growing baby throughout each trimester and beyond. In here you’ll find exercises, nutritional advice, recipes, and hypno-birthing techniques.

    View at Amazon

    ‘The Modern Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond’, by Marie Louise

    The book cover of Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond by Marie Louise

    Credit: Amazon

    Senior Midwife Marie Louise created this book to share up-to-date findings and expert insights into pregnancy, and this book is suitable for any women. Whether you’re planning a pregnancy, you are pregnant, or you’re well into your third trimester, this book is packed with facts and advice.

    From incredible facts about breast milk to educating about labour, Marie’s guide is designed to help women understand more about their body and their growing baby, and what they can do to support them.

    View at Amazon 

    ‘We’re Pregnant! The First Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook’, by Adrian Kulp 

    The book cover of We're Pregnant! by Adrian Kulp

    Credit: Amazon

    If you’re a Dad who’s expecting, or someone who wants to prepare their partner for what to expect, then this seems like the book for you.

    Written by a fellow Dad, it packs in all the need-to-knows and essentials of how to support your partner through pregnancy, right up to all the clinical birthing information.

    Fans call it a ‘must-have’ to ‘comfort and prepare even the most terrified dads-to-be’.

    View at Amazon

    How to Grow a Baby Journal, by Clemmie Hooper

    The book cover of How to Grow a Baby Journal by Clemmie Hooper

    Credit: Amazon

    By the same author as ‘How to Grow a Baby and Push it Out’, this journal offers parents the chance to record their thoughts and feelings during the pregnancy with pre-set questions.

    The book has been given a whole host of five star reviews on Amazon with new Mums raving that it gave them a fantastic chance to record the special time and have something to look back on after the baby was born.

    View at Amazon

    ‘The Bump Class: An Expert Guide to Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond’, by Marina Fogle and Dr Chiara Hunt

    The book cover of The Bump Class by Marina Fogle and Dr Chiara Hunt

    Credit: Amazon

    Fans of this under-recognised pregnancy book call it ‘honest, insightful’, ‘very informative, well researched and written in an approachable way.’

    Unlike some other pregnancy books that throw you in right at the deep end, The Bump Class takes you through the stages of pregnancy in little chunks and offers real-world, unpatronising advice on everything from birth to breastfeeding. There’s even a small section for partners to read, about how they can offer support.

    View at Amazon

    ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’, by Heidi Murkoff

    The book cover of What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff

    Credit: Amazon

    Considered one of the most influential books of the last 25 years, What to Expect When You’re Expecting has fans all over the world and even inspired a spin-off film a couple of years ago.

    Author Heidi Murkoff takes readers through all the stages of pregnancy and describes each step of the baby’s growth along the way, offering advice and tips on how to have the most relaxed pregnancy possible.

    View at Amazon

    ‘The Day-by-Day Pregnancy Book’, by Dr Maggie Blott

    The book cover of The Day-by-Day Pregnancy Book by Dr Maggie Blott

    Credit: Amazon

    One of the most unnerving things about pregnancy is not knowing what to expect along the way. That’s where this marvellous book comes in.

    The Day-by-Day Pregnancy Book does exactly what it says on the tin and takes you through the 9-months of pregnancy with expert advice from Dr Maggie Blott, who has been an obstetrician and gynaecologist for over 30 years.

    View at Amazon


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