Posted by Nicole on 1st August 2011

Menstrual Like Cramps in Late Pregnancy Causes And Treatment

Pregnancy brings with it many joys to the mother, father, and families involved. On the other hand, pregnancy also brings with it a lot of discomforts including those menstrual like cramps. Women who are pregnant do not go through the process of menstruation so it is natural for them to ask why they are getting these menstrual-like cramps.

  • Menstrual like cramping can occur throughout pregnancy especially during early and late pregnancy.
  • During early pregnancy, menstrual-like cramps take on a different meaning such as pregnancy complications and pain from the growing child in the stretching uterus.
  • During late pregnancy, menstrual-like cramps could mean labor or the woman is about to begin birth.
  • The main and most common reason for menstrual like cramps to appear in late pregnancy is because the body is responding to the changes made by a growing baby inside the woman.
  • To avoid getting alarmed by menstrual-like cramps during pregnancy, it is always important to complete prenatal check-ups as scheduled by the doctor.
  • During pre-natal check-ups the doctor can monitor the development of the baby and the health of the mother.

Constant Menstrual Like Cramps in Late Pregnancy

Menstrual-like cramps at the latter part of pregnancy can mean so many different things including labor.

  • Labor can signal if the baby is about to be born.
  • There are two types of labor – false labor and true labor.
  • False labor, also known as Braxton-Hicks contractions can make a women feel that she is about to give birth when she actually is not.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions are defined as irregular uterine contractions that can occur in late pregnancy or as early as the second trimester.
  • False labor always begins before true labor.
  • The signs of false labor include:
    • Irregular contractions that do not get occur closer together.
    • Contractions are relieved by walking, resting, or changing positions.
    • Contractions are weak and do not get stronger.
    • Contractions that are strong at first but gets weaker.
    • Contractions felt are limited to the front of the abdomen or pelvic region.
  • Signs of true labor:
    • Contractions occur at regular intervals and gets closer together.
    • Contractions are not relieved with movement, rest, or changing of positions.
    • Contractions increase in intensity.
    • Pain begins at the back and radiates to the front of the abdomen.

Menstrual Type Cramps in Late Pregnancy

Menstrual cramping can also be a sign of complications that can occur during pregnancy. This can be avoided or detected in time with regular prenatal check-ups.

  • Ectopic pregnancy: The fertilized egg implants and develops at the fallopian tubes.
  • Miscarriage: Loss of the baby in utero before 20 weeks gestation.
  • Preterm labor: Labor before 37 weeks gestation.
  • Abruptio Placenta: The placenta separates from the uterus before the birth of the baby.
  • Pre-eclampsia: A complex disorder of pregnancy wherein the woman manifests different symptoms such as high blood pressure and proteinuria.
  • Urinary tract infections: Infections of the urinary tract.

Causes Of Menstrual Cramps in Late Pregnancy

There are many possible causes of menstrual-like cramping during late pregnancy. Some of these include:

  • Round ligament pain: As the baby grows, the uterus is stretched causing pain.
  • Dehydration: Can cause cramping similar to Braxton Hicks contractions.
  • Urinary tract infection: Pregnant women are more prone to developing UTIs.
  • Preterm labor: Labor that occurs before the baby has reached 37 weeks age of gestation.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions or false labor: Helps prepare the baby as well as the mother for actual true labor.
  • True labor: Precedes the delivery of the baby.

Treatment For Menstrual Cramping In Late Pregnancy

Treatment of menstrual like cramps during late pregnancy would depend on the cause. These include:

  • Drink plenty of water to remain hydrated for two.
  • Get plenty of rest when possible.
  • Taking a warm and relaxing shower may help remedy menstrual-cramps.
  • Walking, resting, or changing positions may help relieve false labor pains.
  • Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice will help prevent UTIs.
  • For UTI, a medical consultation may be needed as well as prescription for antibiotics.
  • For preterm labor, the woman should be admitted to the hospital for further observation and necessary procedures to ensure both the woman’s and the baby’s safety.
  • For true labor, the woman has to go through the different phases of birth or delivery.

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