Pregnancy pains and aches are a common occurrence, after all, your body goes through so many changes when we are pregnant!
Your uterus expands, your muscles stretch and your very organs are even shifted about to make room for your growing baby.
Of course, pregnancy aches and pains can be normal- but what if you are just experiencing stomach pain on your left side? What does that mean?
In this article, we will discuss:
- Different Kinds of Left Side Pain In Pregnancy
- Is Left-Sided Stomach Pain During Pregnancy Normal?
- Causes of Left Side Pain During Pregnancy
- When Should You Contact My Doctor About Pain During Pregnancy?
Different Kinds of Left Side Pain In Pregnancy
- Cramping that is similar to menstrual cramps
- Pain when urinating
- Clicking in your pelvis
- Pelvic pain
- Abdominal pain
- Stomach pains
- Lower back pain
- Pressure in your pelvic area
- Pain that travels down your thighs
Is Left-Sided Stomach Pain During Pregnancy Normal?
It is completely normal to be concerned if you are experiencing stomach pains during pregnancy, and you may be worried that it is a sign of a pregnancy complication.
However, rest assured, stomach pains during pregnancy are, more common than not, no cause for concern.
Mild stomach pains, cramps or aches during the first trimester are usually caused by your uterus expanding and ligaments and muscles stretching in preparation for your growing baby. Other common causes of left-sided stomach pain include digestive troubles such as constipation or trapped wind.
If the pain is mild and improves when you change position, pass wind or rest, then it is usually no cause for concern.
Causes of Left Side Pain During Pregnancy
The reasons for left-side pain during pregnancy can vary, depending on how far along in your pregnancy you are.
The possible causes of early pregnancy stomach pain can be read below.
Implantation Cramping –
If you have recently had unprotected sex and suspect you might be pregnant, then the left-side pain that you are experiencing may actually be implantation cramping.
Implantation cramping follows shortly after implantation- where the fertilised egg attaches to the lining of the uterus.
It is through this connection to the uterine lining that the fertilised egg receives the nutrients and blood supply it needs to grow.
Other symptoms of implantation include:
- Implantation bleeding
- Implantation dip
- Mood swings
- Heightened sense of smell
Implantation occurs anywhere between 6 and 12 DPO (days past ovulation).
Round Ligament Pain –
The round ligament is a band of tissue (or ligament) that runs along the lower part of the uterus. During pregnancy, the ligament stretches to help prepare for childbirth.
It may also stretch and relax as you move and change positions, causing cramping or stomach pain.
Round ligament pain is quite common during the second trimester and can be on one side or both sides.
Constipation & Bloating –
Digestive issues, such as constipation and bloating are very common side effects of pregnancy that can cause abdominal pain and discomfort, making it difficult to exercise or eat normally.
Bloating and constipation is caused by the sudden changes in pregnancy hormones- or more specifically, the increase in progesterone- which cause the digestive system to slow down.
With the bloating and constipation, you may also experience a heavy feeling in your lower abdomen in early pregnancy.
Braxton Hicks Contractions –
If you are pregnant and have been experiencing a tightness in your abdomen that comes and goes, you may be experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions.
Braxton Hicks contractions are contractions of the uterus which help your uterus, and possibly your cervix, prepare for birth.
Braxton Hicks contractions are completely normal and are not a sign that labour is beginning.
Braxton Hicks contractions can begin as early 16 weeks and can last all the way up until birth.
Ectopic Pregnancy –
Ectopic pregnancies are pregnancies which grow and develop outside of the uterus- usually in one of the fallopian tubes.
This happens when the fertilised egg implants (or attaches) to the walls of the fallopian tube, rather than in the uterus.
Ectopic pregnancies are considered a medical emergency and should be treated as soon as possible, to prevent the bursting of a fallopian tube and risk to life.
Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy can include:
- Lower tummy pain on one side
- Brown, watery discharge
- Vaginal bleeding
- Pain in the tip of your shoulder
- Discomfort when urinating or having a bowel movement
Ectopic pregnancies are treated with a procedure called laparoscopy- which involves safely removing the fertilised egg from your fallopian tube, to prevent any internal damage.
Threatened Miscarriage –
A threatened miscarriage is when vaginal bleeding with or without cramping occurs during pregnancy.
It is important to note that vaginal bleeding does not always lead to miscarriages.
After a threatened miscarriage, there is an 83% chance that your normal pregnancy will presume.
If you experience bleeding during pregnancy, you should consult your doctor.
The loss of a pregnancy before the 13th week of pregnancy is known as an early pregnancy loss or miscarriage.
Around 1 in 10 women experience an early pregnancy loss.
Symptoms of miscarriage include:
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding (that may or may not be accompanied by pain)
- A sudden gush of fluid from your vagina
- Passing tissue from the vagina
If you believe you may be having a miscarriage, you should go to your early pregnancy unit immediately.
Urinary Tract Infection –
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that is found in the urinary tract, which is the series of tubes and organs that carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder.
Urinary Tract Infections are very common during pregnancy because the higher estrogen levels in your body make it easier for bacteria to multiply.
Whilst the majority of women will experience a UTI at some point in their life, you are more likely to experience one in your 30s or 40s.
As a result of a urinary infection, you may experience stomach pain and pain when urinating.
It’s important to drink plenty of fluids and eat plenty of fibre to avoid constipation, which can increase your chances of developing a UTI.
When Should You Contact My Doctor About Pain During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, most stomach pains and cramps are nothing to worry about.
However, there are some symptoms which you should be on the lookout for, as they can indicate a more serious issue.
If you experience any of the symptoms below, you should consult your doctor:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Lightheadedness, dizziness or feeling faint
- Brown discharge
- Severe pain
- Discomfort when urinating
- Discomfort when pooping
- Unusual vaginal discharge
Furthermore, if you believe that, based on your symptoms, you may have one of the complications mentioned in the previous section, “Causes of Left Side Pain During Pregnancy”, such as an ectopic pregnancy, you should contact your midwife, early pregnancy unit or doctor.
Louise McCamily serves as the Digital Marketing and Administrative Assistant at MyBump2Baby, where she has contributed to the creation and editing of more than 400 articles. She holds a prestigious Surfer SEO certification and a Foundation Degree in Software Engineering with distinction. Louise is passionate about delivering outstanding service to MyBump2Baby's expanding community of families.
Reach out to her at [email protected] for inquiries.