During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, some women experience pain or discomfort. The most common reasons are urinary tract infections and stretching of the abdominal wall muscles, particularly as you approach week 12. Sometimes women will experience implantation pain around week 6. This occurs when the fertilized egg travels from the fallopian tube and implants into the uterine lining. These types of pain are common and nothing to be concerned about. However, on rare occasion, other types of pain demand immediate attention.

Any pain associated with bleeding and cramping warrants an immediate phone call or visit to your healthcare provider. This combination of symptoms may indicate a significant problem, including pregnancy loss. Your provider will examine you to determine the following:

  • The baby is alive. This will be checked with an ultrasound and measurement of the hormonal levels of the pregnancy.
  • The pregnancy is in the right place, inside your uterus, and not inside the fallopian tube (known as an ectopic pregnancy). An ectopic pregnancy, although rare, is a medical emergency because the baby is in an abnormal place. As the baby grows, the fallopian tube could rupture, causing severe bleeding and shock, among other problems.

Any pain associated with a temperature of 100°F or higher needs to be evaluated further to make certain that you don’t have an appendicitis or an infection in the kidneys (aka pyelonephritis).

The signs of appendicitis are

  • Dull pain near the navel or the upper portion of the abdomen that becomes sharp as it moves to the lower right portion of the abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting or both soon after abdominal pain begins
  • Inability to pass gass
  • Temperature of 99°F to 102°F

The signs of pyelonephritis are

  • Back, side, and groin pain with a fever of greater than 101°F
  • Frequent urination that is painful and/or burning urination, especially at night
  • Blood and/or pus in the urine

Should you experience any of the signs or symptoms discussed above, please contact your provider immediately or go to the hospital for further evaluation. These are potentially life-threatening conditions that require immediate attention.

Remember, a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen. It takes a smart mother who knows what to do!

Excerpt from The Smart Mother’s Guide to a Better Pregnancy.