Upper Abdominal Pain in Pregnancyby Stephanie Mojica
If you have upper abdominal pain during pregnancy, it's not necessarily to automatically switch into panic mode, according to the March of Dimes. But any severe and long-lasting stomach pain or discomfort accompanied by dizziness or bleeding is considered a medical emergency; prompt medical help is essential in such circumstances to protect you and your future son or daughter.
When you first get pregnant, you will likely experience some upper abdominal pain, notes the March of Dimes. The embryo's implantation causes this and may also bring some very light bleeding; at this point you probably don't even realize you are expecting a little bundle of joy. During the term of your pregnancy, the ligaments supporting the uterus may stretch and also cause intermittent upper abdominal pain.
Features of Ectopic Pregnancy
Some types of abdominal pain indicate a significantly advanced ectopic or tubal pregnancy, according to MayoClinic.com. When a woman first suffers from a tubal pregnancy, she might experience mild lower abdominal pain. Once the fallopian tube ruptures, creating a potentially life-threatening situation, then severe upper abdominal pain usually results. Ectopic pregnancies cannot be converted into traditional uterine pregnancies and therefore must be medically terminated with surgery or medication injections.
Miscarriages are much more likely during the first two months of pregnancy, notes MedlinePlus. Many women who miscarry did not even realize they were expecting; they mistook the upper abdominal pain and bleeding for menstruation. Sharp upper abdominal pain, especially accompanied by weakness or passing bloody tissue is a key feature in miscarriages. If you suspect you had a miscarriage, get prompt medical help.
Potential HELLP Syndrome
Some pregnant women experiencing upper abdominal pain late in pregnancy may have contracted HELLP syndrome, a rare but potentially serious illness, according to Family Doctor. Hemolysis, elevated liver enzyme levels and a low platelet count are characteristics of this illness and can place both mother and baby's lives in danger. Caucasian women over the age of 25 and women with previous problem pregnancies are more at risk for HELLP syndrome than other women.
Not all pregnancy-related upper abdominal pain is preventable, but you can follow some advice from the March of Dimes to reduce your chances of unnecessary pain. Avoiding rapid changes in position is one of the keys toward preventing ordinary pregnancy pain. If you're already suffering from upper abdominal pain, consider taking a hot bath or shower to try to alleviate it. Drinking plenty of fluids and getting enough rest can also help prevent both ordinary and potentially serious upper abdominal pains during pregnancy.