Generally, pregnant pain on left side is nothing to be really concerned about and is not an uncommon issue during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is certainly a beautiful feeling and a miraculous transition phase for every woman. It does a lot of things to a woman’s body. It can physically make you feel agitated and distressed.
Occasional abdominal pain happens to be the most common complaints during pregnancy, particularly when the baby starts growing at a fast pace towards the end. While this abdominal discomfort is mostly temporary, but it can be a sign of a serious issue as well.
Some Common Causes
Here are some of the common causes of pregnant pain on left side:
1. Round Ligament Pain
Round ligament pain happens to be the most common complaint, especially in the second trimester of pregnancy. The round ligaments are present around the uterus and provide support to it in pregnancy. It connects the front of the womb with the groin. Since the uterus starts growing during pregnancy, it makes these ligaments stretch.
Any kind of quick movement like coughing, sneezing, getting up from a chair can result in a sharp pain or lasting dull ache on the left side of the lower abdomen.
2. Growth of the Baby
When your pregnancy begins, you will experience a bit of a pain between 8 to 12 weeks. This happens because the uterus starts expanding into surrounding muscles. If it happens to be your first pregnancy, then you will feel more pain.
When the uterus grows beyond the pelvic region, the muscles present around it cause sharp pain since they have never been stretched so much.
3. Relaxin Production
When you are in the third trimester or the last stage of your pregnancy, you might feel pain your joints. That is because of the hormone called relaxin.
This hormone is responsible for relaxing your joints and muscles causing them to spread and making space for the baby who is growing and the delivery. You might feel pain in the legs, feet and pelvic region.
4. Implantation Cramping
Implantation cramping is one the causes of pain on the left side felt at the beginning of pregnancy. This pain lingers for one or two days accompanied by light spotting.
When you notice that you feel cramps, but no period or just some slight spotting, then you should go for a pregnancy test after waiting for a few days. There are high chances that you might be in for good news.
5. Gastrointestinal Issues
During pregnancy, there are a lot of hormonal changes taking place that might simply upset your digestive system. The three most common problem it causes is constipation, bloating and excess gas which might lead to abdominal pain in the left side. Iron and vitamin supplement are a major cause of constipation during pregnancy.
What basically happens is that the body slows down digestion to provide nutrients to the baby and the mother. This pain is coupled with the expansion of uterus cramping up other organs, causing pain on the right or left side of the stomach.
However, do not forget that your pancreas lies right behind your stomach and can become inflamed by gallstones or some other reason. If you notice that you feel pain, especially after eating high-fat food or when you lay on your back, then you probably have a pancreatic issue. The pain spreads to the left shoulder and back.
6. Braxton-Hicks Contractions
This is yet another common cause of pain on the left side particularly between mid-pregnancy to thirty seven weeks. Braxton Hicks contraction results in pressure on the abdomen at the end of the pregnancy. These contractions are also called ‘false labor’ or ‘practice contractions.’ The pain in the lower left region of the abdomen is not too sharp, but it makes the woman feel uncomfortable. They occur because the uterus becomes tight in the last stages of pregnancy. However, you don’t need to get worried with Braxton Hicks.
There are few differences between Braxton Hicks and normal contractions. Braxton Hicks contractions are irregular and infrequent. On the other hand, normal contractions which is actual labor comes with lower back pain which increases with time and will hit you in regular intervals.
Some serious causes
1. Ectopic pregnancy
While mild cramping is counted among the most common symptom of early pregnancy, but if you are facing severe cramping with no period, then that could indicate an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy can cause lower abdominal pain. Ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition in which fertilized egg cannot leave the fallopian tube, but it keeps growing. This means the fertilized egg is implanted outside the uterus. This causes sharp pain.
Most of the time women are unable to distinguish between pain caused by ectopic pregnancy and normal pregnancy. Other symptoms apart from severe pain that should be taken notice of are frequent urination, nausea, vaginal bleeding, breast tenderness and vomiting. You will be able to notice these symptoms two weeks after a missed period and later on you might experience vaginal bleeding that could be wrongly thought of as spotting.
2. Ovarian Cyst
Cysts can cause pregnant pain on the left side. One type of cyst is the corpus leuteum cyst which is a fluid-filled cyst. It forms in the sac of the ovary once the egg is released. When the sac is filled with fluid, a cyst develops and can also grow, which results in pain in the lower abdominal but without periods. The cyst can still form on ovary even if the egg it produced gets fertilized.
You are going to experience pain on the side this happened, whether left or right. Most of the time, ovarian cysts go away on their own usually after three months. However, they may increase in size, resulting in complications. You just need to keep checking it through ultrasound tests. Ovary twists or when the cyst ruptures cause sharp pain, but that is very rare.
3. Urinary Tract Infection
Pregnancy makes pregnant moms more prone to developing Urinary Tract Infection (UTIs). Some of the symptoms of bladder infection consist of burning sensation with urination, back pain, pelvic discomfort and lower abdominal pain, often accompanied by fever.
Leaving it untreated may cause preterm labor and kidney infection. The symptoms of which include chills, lower backache, high fever, shivers, vomiting, pain in the abdomen, nausea, and urine with pus or blood.
Miscarriage in purely medical terms means loss of the baby within first twenty weeks of pregnancy. It begins with vaginal bleeding, after which you will experience abdominal pain which usually occurs on the left side. The pain is a dull aching pain that radiates to the pelvis and lower back. The fact remains 15% to 20% pregnancies end up in miscarriage.
5. Placental Abruption
Placental abruption occurs when the placenta disconnects from the wall of the uterus any time before childbirth. This is an extremely dangerous condition for the mother and baby and requires immediate medical attention. The mother and baby can die.
If you experience pregnant pain on the left side which is extremely sharp and doesn’t subside at all, instantly reach out to a doctor. Mostly, placental abruption results in heavy bleeding and at times, there is light bleeding initially. If your water breaks, you will be able to notice blood streaks in the amniotic fluid. Other symptoms consist of backache, uterine tenderness, hard uterus, and frequent contractions.
6. Preterm Labor
Are you facing pain in the abdomen accompanied by tightening? Then you might be having labor contractions. Preterm labor also known as premature labor consists of rhythmic uterine contractions, which involves dilation of the cervix before the 37th week of pregnancy. With pain, discharge and dull backache may be experienced.
Symptoms can be felt during the second or third trimester. Symptoms include abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, menstrual like cramps, pain in the pelvic region, and more than 3 to 4 contractions in an hour that could be either painful or painless. Immediately discuss with your doctor when you experience such pain.
This disorder occurs during pregnancy and results in urinary protein and high blood pressure. It causes changes in the blood vessels which impact important organs like placenta, liver, kidney, and brain. Generally, Preeclampsia occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The symptoms consist of a sudden swelling of the ankles and feet, swelling of face and hands, and puffy eyes.
Severe preeclampsia is characterized by abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, visual disturbances, and headache. You need to take bed rest and have a close follow up with your doctor.
Some of the other causes of pregnant pain on left side are:
- Kidney stones and certain infection can cause pain on the lower left side.
- When fibroids grow during pregnancy as a result of pregnancy hormones, they also result in abdominal discomfort.
- Bowel obstruction is a condition that occurs in the third trimester. It is caused by the pressure that the growing uterus exerts.
Then there are causes like food poisoning, stomach virus, appendicitis, stomach virus, Gall bladder disease or gallstones that result in pain in the lower left abdomen.
When to See a Doctor
Keep checking for the following symptoms and call your doctor:
- Severe bleeding
- Severe pain
- High fever and chills
- Difficulty in urinating
- Difficulty in walking
- Water leakage from vagina
- Bleeding that absorbs up to 2 to 3 pads in an hour
- Pain that does not subside even after taking rest
Some useful tips for relieving pregnant pain on left side
Here are some natural ways you can use to ease and relieve pain felt during pregnancy:
1. Massage: many women find relief from pain with massage. It helps to soothe and calm the body.
2. Change positions: changing your position can often be of great help. Since there are chances that the baby may have moved, changing your position can put both of you at ease. Lie down on the opposite side of the pain and put your feet up.
3. Drink lots of fluid: it is extremely important for pregnant women to drink lots of fluids to keep themselves properly hydrated. Dehydration or lack of fluids could result in Braxton Hicks.
4. Treat constipation: Doing some light exercise and incorporating fiber into your diet can be helpful. You can also talk to your obstetrician about over the counter stool softener that can relieve constipation.
5. Warm treatment: warmth is also helpful. Use a heating pad or warm water bottle to soothe the pain. Place it over the affected area. If you choose to use a hot water bottle, then fill the bottle with hot but not boiling water. Wrap this bottle with a towel before using it.
6. Warm bath: You can also take a hot water bath.
7. Medication: Tylenol is fine if taken in moderation. Talking to your doctor before taking it is better.
8. Relax: sit down and put your feet up. Abdominal pain is a very common complaint of pregnancy, which gives you a good excuse to keep your feet up and be pampered by others.
9. Rest: taking rest when the pain occurs can ease the pain or try to sit down for some time.
10. Bend: if you feel a sudden pain in the abdomen, bend yourself forward to where the pain occurs. This relaxes the tissue and relieves tension.
11. Move slowly: make sure you take your time and move slow from either a lying or sitting position. Quickly getting up or lying down or moving with a jerk can cause pain. When you get up or sit down slowly, your muscles have time to offer you support as you change your position.
12. Use your arms for support: when you get up from the bed, try to turn to one side and slowly get up. All this while, use your arms to support yourself to minimize the tension on your abdomen.
13. Take breaks: if you are a working woman and your job involves sitting continuously for hours, then take short breaks to stand up and walk around.
14. Yoga: certain yoga positions are really good for relieving abdominal pain, but always talk to your doctor before you apply them. Deep breathing techniques and some of the yoga positions are at times not suitable for pregnant ladies as they do more harm than benefit.