Implantation Cramps And Other Early Pregnancy Pain

When you should and shouldn't be concerned

For many women, feeling that all-too-familiar cramping sensation of period pain is made all the more miserable when trying to conceive a baby. Some couples who have been trying for many months become despondent when the woman reports 'period pain' when she wishes her period wouldn't come along at all. However, what a lot of people don't know is that sometimes that pain is actually implantation cramps and it means she is in fact pregnant! At some point between ovulation and when the next menstrual cycle is due to begin, if fertilization of the egg takes place, the zygote (recently fertilized egg) will attach itself to the wall of the uterus. The process often results in pain that is noticeable enough to induce comment. The occurrence or not of implantation cramps has no bearing on whether the zygote is firmly enough attached. Indeed, some women notice no sensation at all.

The normal life cycle of a woman is made up of many different stages. From puberty, through conception and pregnancy and onwards to menopause, her hormonal status will fluctuate to accommodate the stage of life she is in. Her hormones may be artificially manipulated at various times such as for the purpose of contraception in her years of fertility, and later in life when hormone replacement therapy may be required. Along the way, women go through countless episodes of pain and discomfort; some suffer more than others with period pain, other women with ovulation pain and others again cruise along happily without any significant discomfort to report at all.

Implantation cramps
Cramping is always a concern during pregnancy, however it is not always as sinister as it may first appear. Obviously, a woman who experiences pain, especially during the first trimester, will be concerned that she is about to miscarry. Just as with morning sickness, implantation cramps are no cause for concern and indeed, could be seen as reason for celebration. If the woman has been trying to conceive and is under the care of a physician, she may report the pain. The doctor, suspecting pregnancy and potential for miscarriage, may or may not suggest an ultrasound but this is unlikely unless the patient has a history of miscarriage. Even pain accompanied by bleeding can be attributed to implantation cramps. When conception takes place, the body's production of progesterone and estrogen focuses on preparing a bed of blood vessels for the implantation of the zygote.

Stretching of uterus
Pain during the early stages of a first pregnancy is indicative of the uterus stretching to accommodate the growing fetus. The stretching of the ligaments that support the uterus will give rise to cramping sensations. These are signs that everything is going according to plan, but not every woman will experience this. As the weight of the fetus increases, so too will the discomfort.

Ectopic pregnancy
Aside from implantation cramps, pain can also be and indicator that the pregnancy is ectopic, meaning that the embryo has attached in the fallopian tube and not the uterus. This is a serious medical condition and warrants urgent attention. What may appear to be implantation cramps, could actually be the start of a rupture in the wall of the fallopian tube and must be reported without delay.

Miscarriage
If miscarriage is a concern due to previous history, any pain, especially if accompanied by spotting or actual bleeding should be reported immediately. The woman's cervix will be examined to see if it has opened, in which case, miscarriage is imminent.

Get to know your doctor
When a couple are trying to conceive, one of the best relationships they can nurture, other than their own, is the one that exists between them and their doctor. A physician who is approachable and caring will provide information all the way along. Particularly in the case of first time parents-to-be, conception and pregnancy can be a confusing time. Your doctor's educational certificates are not merely decoration for the wall. They signify that he is qualified to assist not only in physical ways but in helping patients to understand the mechanisms involved in the process of procreation.

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