Tummy Troubles – Decoding and Alleviating Stomach Pain During the First Trimester

June 1, 2023
Nitha Girija Vallabhan – June 1, 2023
Tummy Troubles - Decoding And Alleviating Stomach Pain During the First Trimester copy

Welcome to another chapter in the realm of motherhood! Are you excited about your pregnancy…

Welcome to another chapter in the realm of motherhood! Are you excited about your pregnancy and anxious about potential complications at the same time? I get it. The road to motherhood is not always a smooth one. Along with the joyful anticipation, you will have to face your share of discomforts – both physical and emotional. 

Stomach pain is one common issue that women face during the first trimester of their pregnancy. In today’s blog post, we will discuss about stomach pain during the first trimester, why it is important to address this pain, possible causes of the pain, how to determine if your pain is normal or serious and when to seek medical attention.

Coping With Issues During the First Trimester

Your first trimester is the phase from conception to the 12th week of pregnancy. This is a transformative period during which a woman will experience numerous hormonal changes that lead to issues such as morning sickness, fatigue, mood swings, and frequent urination. 

Coping with issues during the first trimester

Stomach pain during the first trimester is not something to be taken lightly. It can be a sign that everything is progressing normally, or it can also indicate an underlying complication. Understanding the causes of stomach pain is vital to take the right step toward alleviating it while ensuring the well-being of both the expecting mother and the unborn child. 

All You Wanted to Know About Stomach Pain in the First Trimester

Let us start with understanding the common causes of stomach pain during the first trimester.

All you wanted to know about stomach pain in first trimester

Some of these include:

Stretching of ligaments

Your uterus is surrounded by supportive ligaments that stretch when the uterus expands to make space for the growing fetus. This stretching can lead to cramps and sharp pain in the lower abdominal area. 


 When a fertilized ovum attaches itself to the uterus, it may cause mild pain in some women.

Gas or constipation

 Hormone fluctuations during pregnancy can affect digestion and lead to constipation or gas that women may experience as stomach pain.

Is It Normal or Something Serious? How Do You Decide?

Most cases of stomach pain during the first trimester turn out to be harmless. However, it is integral to be aware of possible complications.

Is it normal or something serious How do you decide

Here are a few red flags: 

Severe, Persistent Pain

If your stomach pain is prolonged and does not subside, it could indicate miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or similar complications. 


However light it is, do not disregard bleeding as it could be a sign of miscarriage.  

Fever or Chills

Stomach pain along with fever or chills could indicate an infection.


If your stomach pain is accompanied by dizziness, it could point to a medical complication.  


Abdominal pain with severe bouts of vomiting can quickly leave you dehydrated and cause other medical issues. 

If you experience any of the above symptoms in addition to your stomach pain, seek medical treatment at once.  

Types of Stomach Pain in the First Trimester

Types of stomach pain in first trimester

Its time for a look at some common types of stomach pain during early pregnancy:

  • Indigestion or Heartburn: Hormonal changes coupled with the growing uterus can lead to heartburn, indigestion, and associated stomach pain during the early stages of pregnancy. Eat small portions of food at frequent intervals to reduce indigestion. 
  • Round Ligament Pain: During pregnancy, stretching of ligaments that support the uterus may lead to pain on the sides of the abdomen. Avoid sudden movements and include light exercises in your routine to manage this type of pain.
  • Constipation or Gas: Slower digestion may lead to bloating, mild discomfort, and stomach pain. Ensure that you stay hydrated and follow dietary changes recommended by your doctor.
  • Miscarriage or Ectopic Pregnancy: Severe stomach pain accompanied by dizziness, bleeding, or shoulder pain may indicate a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Seek medical treatment immediately if the pain is intolerable.

Managing Stomach Pain During the First Trimester

Managing stomach pain during first trimester

There’s a solution to every problem, right? Here are some tips on coping with stomach pain during early pregnancy:

  • Home Remedies: Applying a warm compress can soothe ligament pain. Light stretching exercises will keep you supple in addition to reducing pregnancy-related pain. Choose supportive maternity wear that does not put a strain on the abdomen. 
  • Alternative Therapies: Consult with your doctor before choosing alternative therapies such as prenatal yoga, massage, or acupuncture for relief from pain and discomfort.
  • Healthier Diet: Include fiber-rich food such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in your diet for better digestion and bowel movement. Drink plenty of water and avoid junk food. 
  • Proper Prenatal Care and Regular Check-Ups: Regular visits to your doctor help monitor your health status and ensure that your baby is growing well. Check-ups also help identify and treat potential complications for the overall well-being of you and your baby.

How to Reduce Stomach Pain Risks in the First Trimester?

Did you know that you can do your share to reduce the risks of developing stomach pain during the first trimester?

How to reduce stomach pain risks in the first trimester

Here are some ideas:

  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: This includes switching to a balanced diet, avoiding greasy food, drinking adequate water, and ensuring that you get enough sleep to stay healthy and rejuvenated. 
  • Take Up Light Exercises: Talk with your doctor and try to practice gentle stretches and low-impact exercises. Walking, prenatal yoga, and pelvic floor exercises work great in improving digestion, strengthening abdominal muscles, reducing pain, and promoting relaxation.
  • Manage Stress: Stomach pain during pregnancy may sometimes be triggered by stress or anxiety. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation or breathing exercises to reduce stress levels. Join a support group where you can share your worries, as well as, concerns. Take up activities like reading, listening to music, gardening, or anything you love. 
  • Avoid Triggers and Irritants: Stomach pain may often be the result of triggers such as spicy food or irritants like smoke or strong odors. Avoid such factors whenever possible

When to Seek Medical Attention?

If you know what signs to watch out for, it is easier to determine if your stomach pain needs to be evaluated by a doctor.

When to seek medical attention copy

Here are some of those warning signs that require immediate medical attention:

  • Severe Abdominal Pain: While mild stomach pain is normal during the first trimester, intense or gradually worsening pain is a bad sign. Do not keep waiting for the pain to subside; visit your doctor at once.
  • Bleeding: Stomach pain accompanied by bleeding whether light or heavy is a warning sign during pregnancy that could indicate ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
  • Fainting or Feeling Dizzy: For many women, mild dizziness is part of morning sickness. But if the dizziness is accompanied by persistent stomach pain, you need to see your doctor right away. 
  • Severe Vomiting: If you are continuously vomiting and unable to keep fluids down, you are at risk of dehydration. Stomach pain along with vomiting is a sign of potential complication. 

Apart from these warning signs, it is important to trust your gut instincts. If your instincts tell you that something is off even in the absence of visible symptoms,  it may be right. Share your concerns and seek guidance from your healthcare provider. After all, they are qualified to assess your situation and offer reliable advice.  

More importantly, do not skip any of your prenatal appointments. These sessions are integral in monitoring your health, detecting potential issues, and offering necessary treatment to avoid complications later on. Your healthcare provider can offer effective tips on essential lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, and medications to manage stomach pain. Additionally, the emotional support provided by your doctor can go a long way in reducing stress-related stomach pain.


Is it normal to experience stomach pain during the first trimester of pregnancy?

Yes. Stomach pain is normal during the first trimester of pregnancy. You must be aware that while some causes of stomach pain may be harmless, others may be life-threatening. Since it is clearly not the time to take risks, consult your doctor if you experience stomach pain during pregnancy. They will uncover the true cause of your stomach pain and suggest treatment, if necessary

What are the causes of stomach pain in the first trimester?

Stomach pain in the first trimester may be attributed to numerous causes. Indigestion, hormonal changes, gas, constipation, and round ligament pain are some harmless causes of stomach pain during pregnancy. On the other hand, stomach pain triggered by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, urinary tract infections, placenta previa, preeclampsia, or yeast infections requires immediate medical attention.

How does the stretching of the uterus cause stomach pain?

As your uterus expands to accommodate the growing fetus, the ligaments supporting your uterus continue to stretch. This pressure on the ligaments may create spasms and stomach pain in some women and is referred to as round ligament pain. It can be either sharp or dull and is usually felt on one side of the abdomen.

What is round ligament pain, and how does it contribute to stomach pain?

During pregnancy, the body releases hormones to help ligaments stretch and support the expanding uterus. At times, this stretching of round ligaments may cause aches, spasms, discomfort, or pain in the lower abdominal region. Known as round ligament pain, it is a normal part of pregnancy and usually nothing to worry about. However, consult your doctor at once if there is spotting or the pain turns intense.

What can I do to relieve stomach pain during the first trimester?

1. Consume small, frequent portions of food rather than the usual large meals. Opt for easily digestible food such as whole cereals or steamed vegetables. 
2. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid caffeine or carbonated drinks and explore healthier options such as chamomile tea or ginger tea. 
3. Take up relaxation techniques to manage stress. 
4. Choose loose, comfortable clothing. 
5. If you need to use over-the-counter medications, consult your doctor first.

When should I be concerned about stomach pain during the first trimester?

Get in touch with your doctor right away if you have stomach pain during first trimester and observe any of the following symptoms:
1. Severe, Persistent Pain
2. Spotting or Bleeding
3. Stomach Pain that Spreads to the Shoulder
4. Fever or Chills
5. Vomiting that Does not Subside
6. Constipation or Diarrhea

Are there any warning signs that indicate a potential complication associated with stomach pain?

1. Similar complications
2. Severe or persistent pain: This might be a sign of infection.
3. Dizziness or fainting: Women with fluctuating blood pressure levels commonly experience this symptom.
4. Shoulder pain: Stomach pain that radiates to the shoulder may indicate an ectopic pregnancy.
5. Fever or chills: If you have appendicitis or urinary tract infection, this may be one of the warning signs.

Can stomach pain during the first trimester be a sign of a miscarriage?

Stomach pain during the first trimester may not always be a sign of miscarriage. It may be attributed to other reasons such as round ligament pain, gas, constipation, indigestion, or urinary tract infections. Watch out for unusual signs and seek medical attention if you experience severe pain or bleeding.   

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6453260/
  • https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/warning-signs-during-pregnancy
  • https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=85&contentid=p01207

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