When a woman is pregnant, it is normal to expect a certain amount of pain because the body is changing so much and so quickly and it’s being put under so much stress. At the same time as your uterus growing to allow room for the baby, your internal organs will be under more pressure and with increased hormones around the body comes a whole range of symptoms. The good news is that pain on left side during pregnancy is normally nothing too serious to worry about.
There are a number of reasons as to why you may experience this pain you’re feeling but if you find that it’s coming hand in hand with other symptoms including vomiting and nausea, bleeding or spotting, fever, pain or difficult going to the toilet or extreme pain, you should call your obstetrician for a checkup.
When you’re pregnant, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry.
When pain on left side during pregnancy is normal:
If you’re noticing some bleeding or spotting with your pain on left side during pregnancy and it is during the early stages too, it could be something called implantation bleeding that you’re experiencing. Usually lasting just a couple of days, this happens when the fertilized egg burrows itself into the lining if your womb to prepare to divide and multiply and is usually one of the very first signs that you are pregnant.
Sometimes the implantation bleeding can be missed and put down to a very light or early period. If you experience light spotting before your period is due, or you think your period has come lightly and a few days early, it might be worth doing a pregnancy test.
Embarrassingly for some (although it really is very common), constipation could be the root cause behind pain on left side during pregnancy. When you experience bloating and gas, it’s usually because the hormones that run wild when you’re pregnant also have another side effect – slowing down the rate at which you digest food.
Not only has your digestion slowed down, the growing uterus and baby will be adding more pressure to your internal organs and this will increase the chances of trapped wind. When this builds, it can get very painful.
Of course, going back to the uterus growing once again, another common complain which can cause pain on left side during pregnancy is round ligament pain, something that often affects just the left side because of the placement of it.
There are many different ligaments which both support and surround the uterus as it grows and adapts throughout the length of your pregnancy. The ligaments would normally relax and tighten slowly naturally but during pregnancy, it is put under pressure it is not used to and a sudden movement could cause it to tighten and relax too quickly and therefore cause pain. It can also cause a dull ache for some time afterwards.
The closer you are to the end of your pregnancy, the higher the chances you’ll experience Braxton Hicks contractions, or ‘false labor’ as they are also commonly referred to. The uterus is tightening and contracting as it would if it were in labor but it’s just a ‘practice’ round as such. Many women find them to be painless but some can find them quite painful and because of this, could be another reason why you have pain on left side during pregnancy.
When pain on left side during pregnancy isn’t normal:
There are times that the pain you’re experiencing is not normal and needs urgent medical assistance and although the pain on left side during pregnancy you’re experiencing could be something perfectly normal, if it is accompanied by other symptoms, it is advisable you seek medical advice.
A urinary tract infection for example, may not seem like a big deal but when you’re pregnant, can be very dangerous if left untreated. Generally this will come with pain during urination and also a difficulty in going to the toilet. You may also find that your urine is very hot, a dark color, and smells badly.
Leaving a urinary tract infection untreated is dangerous because it can move to the bladder and the kidneys. In some cases, a severe, untreated urinary tract infection can lead to early labor.
If you have pelvic pain, or pain in the abdomen, especially during toilet trips, rigorous activities, sneezing or coughing, and this pain comes with blood, there is a chance that something else could be happening. These could be symptoms of a miscarriage or even an ectopic pregnancy, both of which can be very dangerous if left undiagnosed and untreated.
An ectopic pregnancy is when the egg is fertilized and implants before it has a chance to get to the womb, usually burrowing into the walls of the fallopian tubes. These tubes are much smaller and are not designed to grow like the uterus is so as the baby grows, pain, discomfort and bleeding can be expected. If left untreated, an ectopic pregnancy can be fatal.
Miscarriages are very common sadly and this is when the pregnancy comes to an end within the first twenty weeks. Many women experience cramping along with pain on left side during pregnancy, and bleeding is common alongside pressure in the back and pelvis.
If the pain on left side during pregnancy occurs after twenty weeks, there is a chance that it could be preeclampsia, a very complex medical condition that presents itself as protein in the urine, water retention and puffiness, and even fast weight gain.
In more serious cases, preeclampsia can present itself in more severe symptoms such as vomiting and nausea, blurred vision and confusion, exhaustion or fatigue, headaches and severe pain in a number of places not just on the left side.
There is another condition you should be aware of during pregnancy especially you are experiencing pain on the left side. Placental abruption is a very serious condition that will prove to be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated.
Starting with spotting and usually moving to a heavier flow, your waters may also break. What happens here is that the placenta separates itself from the uterus before it’s time for the baby to be born. Bearing this in mind, the bleeding and waters breaking could mix together forming a pink liquid.
With reduced movement of the baby and a lot of pain, you may also find that contractions and back pain come hand in hand and it is important that you seek urgent medical attention.
There are a number of other causes that can cause pain on left side during pregnancy and these include fibroids, bowel obstruction, appendicitis, hepatitis, stomach bugs and food poisoning, pancreatitis or kidney stones.
How to relieve pain on left side during pregnancy
The good news is that there are lots of ways you can relieve pain on left side during pregnancy and for the most part, you don’t even need to leave your house in order to make use of them.
Drinking more water can help especially with Braxton Hicks. Dehydration and lack of water can actually cause these practice contractions and women who drink more water are said to have a much easier time of their pregnancy.
A warm bath is a great place to start also especially if you look at incorporating (safe) essential oils. Just a couple of drops for pregnancy suitable oils will be enough to have you relaxed and ready to drift off to sleep in no time at all. Aromatherapy is a very powerful thing, as is the relaxing warm sensation of that bubbly hot bath. A shower can work but remember you’ll need to stand up!
Sometimes it could be as simple as changing the way you’re sitting or lying to get rid of that pain on left side during pregnancy. If you’re sat comfortable and the pain comes out of nowhere, it might be that the baby has moved within you and you now need to move to accommodate him/her.
A change to your diet could help over the course of the pregnancy too. Studies have shown that expectant mothers who not only drink more water but also eat healthily too have easier pregnancies, and with plenty of fiber in your diet, at least you can make sure that stomach troubles aren’t the root cause – things like constipation for example.
If you have a partner or friend to hand, another way to relieve the pain and discomfort could be asking them for a relaxing massage and sometimes, even having a gentle touch on those uncomfortable places of your body could make all the difference.
Of course, you can’t also forget about the power of a hot water bottle. It works for period pain cramps and it can work for some of the problems and pain you’ll feel during pregnancy too. If you don’t already own one and you’re sick of taking painkillers, it might be worth looking to invest.