Body Aches and Pains during First Trimester of Pregnancy

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If you are a first-time expectant mother, it might come as a surprise how uncomfortable and sometimes unbearable body aches and pains during first trimester of pregnancy can be. Read on to know when to worry about it.

For some women, cramping is the first sign that they are pregnant in first trimester. But if you wondering – are cramps normal during early pregnancy?

Read on to learn about type of cramps in early pregnancy, what causes it and watch for sign of trouble.

Pregnancy is the most exciting time especially when you are having your first baby. While you are excited about having a baby, you should also be ready to welcome bundle that comes with it: Aches and Pains.

More than two-thirds of pregnant women experiences cramps in early pregnancy. While mild cramps are perfectly normal, cramps with bleeding require immediate medical attention.

Let’s look at different types of body aches and pains during the first trimester of pregnancy.

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Body Aches and Pains during First Trimester of Pregnancy

What is Cramping during Early Pregnancy?

During the first trimester of pregnancy, cramping often results from normal changes that occur during your baby’s development. Cramping occurs when the uterus expands to make a room for baby, causing the ligaments and muscles that support it to stretch.

It can be described as pulling sensations on one or both sides of your abdomen.

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Are Cramps in Early Pregnancy Normal?

Cramps or pains are a normal part of pregnancy. They are usually due to physical changes that the body goes through as it gears up for carrying a fetus.

Every pregnancy is unique. Some will go through pregnancy with fewer discomforts, and others will be suffering from cramps or pains throughout 9 months. And most of them have healthy pregnancies.

During early pregnancy, there are some symptoms that need immediate doctor’s attention. While back pain, bleeding, and abdominal cramps aren’t unusual during early pregnancy, severe forms of these symptoms could also be problematic.

What do early Pregnancy Cramps feel like?

During pregnancy, our body is changing and adapting to accommodate the growth of the fetus by stretching muscles and ligaments. Difficulty in the movement of muscle and ligaments causes cramps or pain during pregnancy.

Cramps often feel a lot like period cramps that can be constant or come and go. You may experience cramps in the lower abdomen, lower back, upper thighs, tightening feeling, leg aches. It may feel like heartburn.

Which Cramps in early Pregnancy should I Worry about?

One should be more careful during the first trimester of pregnancy as most of the cases of miscarriages or pregnancy loss are during the first three months of pregnancy.

I am not here to scare you but to reassure you that most cramps and pain are normal during the first trimester of pregnancy.

For first-time mothers, any pain during early pregnancy should be mentioned to a healthcare provider. Any cramps or pain which is sharp or accompanied by bleeding needs the doctor’s attention.

It can be stressful, especially for first-time mothers, to decide between which cramps or pains are normal and which are to worry about.

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Are abdominal Cramps Normal During the First Trimester?

body aches and pain during first trimester of pregnancy

Abdominal Cramps may result from stretching and relaxing of the ligaments that support the growing uterus. Cramping during early pregnancy is the biggest concern for new mothers.

About 20% of women experience some bleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Some women also experience Sharp pains or shooting pain on either side of the stomach as a result of stretching ligaments. These pains may travel down to your legs. Urinary tract infection may also lead to sharp pain in your abdomen.

Sharp, shooting pains on either side of your stomach may result from the stretching tissue supporting your growing uterus. These pains may also travel down your thigh and into your leg.

Serious concerns of Abdominal Cramps in Early Pregnancy

Usually, one can’t tell a difference between normal and abnormal abdominal cramps. In most cases, abdominal cramping is a normal part of pregnancy.

However, there are some instances when cramping can be a serious concern and requires immediate doctor’s attention.

Ectopic Pregnancy

It happens when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy can cause sharp abdominal cramping.

This is a serious medical condition and must be treated by a doctor or midwife.


About 20% of women experience some vaginal bleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy. Light spotting is not usually a concern. Some women who have spotting can go on to have a healthy pregnancy.

Moderate or heavy vaginal bleeding accompanied by mild or sharp cramping can be a sign of a miscarriage.

It can also be associated with other symptoms like fever or chills. If you have severe cramping and/or heavy vaginal bleeding, contact your doctor immediately.

Is Lower Back Pain During Early Pregnancy Normal?

body aches and pain during first trimester of pregnancy

Lower back pain is another early indication of pregnancy. It is typical throughout pregnancy.

Back pain during pregnancy is due to strain on a back caused by uterus expansion to accommodate the growing fetus. But there may be other causes,

Implantation Cramping

When fertilized eggs first attach to the uterine wall, some women feel cramps in their uterus or lower back.

Most women don’t even know they are pregnant, as it happens so early. Hence, implantation cramps are mistaken as menstrual/period cramps.

Constipation, Gas, Bloating

Irregular bowel movement also causes cramps during early pregnancy. Constipation, Gas, and bloating are common symptoms of early pregnancy.

A higher level of progesterone during pregnancy, allowing food to stay longer in the digestive tract, is to blame. Iron-rich pre-vitamins also causes constipation. Include fiber-rich food in your diet to ease the problem.

Poor Posture

Poor posture can also cause back pain. Uterus expansion to accommodate the growth of the fetus, even in early pregnancy, can stress your back.

This type of pain typically increases with prolonged sitting, standing, or lifting. Stretching exercise or posture adjustment should help relieve stress on the back.

Urinary Tract Infection

UTI symptoms indication:

  • Urge peeing frequently
  • Burning sensation while peeing
  • Lower back pain
  • Urine is cloudy
  • May cause fever

If you suspect UTI when you are pregnant, you are advised to see your health care provider.

Is Breast pain normal during Early Pregnancy?

Breast pain is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. Estrogen and progesterone levels are affected during pregnancy. Hormones support the growth of breasts to get ready for making milk. These changes account for feeling heavier, swollen, tender, or sore breast during early pregnancy.

In most cases, breast pain is normal during pregnancy. But if you have breast tenderness along with a high fever, it may require a doctor’s attention.

Is Leg Pain During Early Pregnancy Normal?

Leg Cramps

Leg cramps are more common in the third trimester. Uterus expansion can put extra pressure on certain blood vessels and nerves, causing cramps in thighs and calves. Some women also experience leg cramps during early pregnancy.

Leg cramping can also occur as a result of calcium deficiency or a higher level of phosphorus in the blood.

Restless- Leg Syndrome

It is also common during pregnancy. Many women experience an overwhelming urge to move one or both legs at nighttime as a result of an uncomfortable sensation in their legs. It can be symptoms of iron or folic acid deficiency.

Sciatic Pain

It can begin as early as the first trimester. The growing uterus might put pressure on the sciatic nerve, radiating cramps down the back of the leg and foot. For some women, sciatic pain sticks around until they have had their babies.

Here’s a good article to know all about sciatic pain in pregnancy and how to get relief naturally.

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Is Hip and Joint Pain Normal During the First Trimester?

Pregnancy comes with a bundle full of pains and discomfort. Like other pains, hip pain and joint pain are also normal during pregnancy.

Joint Pain is common during the second trimester. Pregnancy weight gain can put pressure on your joints and make them hurt.

A lot of exercising can cause joint pain. It is not something to worry about, rather it is an indication of slowing down. Resting and elevating feet at night may help ease the pain.

Hip pain may bother you throughout pregnancy. It may be caused by sciatic nerve.

Hand and Wrist pain is also known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is common during pregnancy. Fluid gain along with weight gain can cause increased pressure at the wrist, triggering pain in the wrist and hands.

Are Headaches Normal during early pregnancy?

Headaches are very common during the first trimester. It is caused by hormonal changes and increases in blood volume. Common causes of headaches are

  • Dehydration
  • Low blood sugar
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Caffeine withdrawal

Not to scare you, but pregnancy does mean a higher chance of developing a blood clot. Although, it won’t happen in most pregnancies. A blood clot in the brain may be heralded by a severe headache. If you have a history of blot clot, or if you get a severe headache contact your doctor.

If your headaches are accompanied by sudden weight gain, cramps in the upper right abdomen, and swelling in the hands and face, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Are Nausea and Vomiting Normal during early Pregnancy?

Many women experience some level of morning sickness during the first three months of pregnancy. Nausea and vomiting are common complaints during the first trimester. Some women are only nauseated, while others vomit with morning sickness. There is nothing to worry about.

Keeping yourself hydrated to avoid dehydration and eating a smaller portion of meals more frequently throughout the day should help.

Heartburn is also another common discomfort during early pregnancy. Some women may have it throughout pregnancy. I recommend you read this article to know all about heartburn during pregnancy and how to treat it naturally.

Body Aches and Pain during First Trimester of Pregnancy – Conclusion

During the first three months, the body is physically changing to prepare for the growing fetus. These changes can cause cramps that would be considered normal, so try not to jump to the worst-case scenario.

However, you should always check with your doctor if you have any concerns about aches and pains during pregnancy.

To summarize, I have compiled a table for an easy read.

Normal PainsConcerning Pains / Visit your doctor
Morning Sickness


(Nausea/vomiting) Heartburn

Severe Dehydration
HeadachesSevere or Persistent Headache and/ Abdominal Cramps + Swelling in Hand and Face
Lower Back PainAbdominal Cramps + Bleeding
Breast TendernessAbdominal Cramps + Nausea or Vomiting
Leg PainFrequent and Painful Urination
Hip, Joint, Wrist PainHigh fever + Body Aches or flu like symptoms

How About You?

How was your first trimester? Did you feel any cramps or pains? What did you do about it? Please share with us in the comment below.

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