Twinges in Early Pregnancy

During early pregnancy, many women complain of strange sensations, including flutters, tiny pulls and sometimes even painful, sharp sensations in the abdomen. These twinges are entirely normal and expected. It is simply the result of your body growing to accommodate the new life inside you. Twinges typically start as early as six to twelve days after ovulation.

What Causes Twinges in Early Pregnancy?

The first twinges usually happen when the egg implants in the lining of the uterus. The twinges might even depend upon which side the embryo attaches to; an attachment on the right side might lead to more twinges on that side. Women can expect to feel implantation twinges about two weeks after conception, but remember that every woman's condition is different, so twinges might start a bit earlier or a bit later.

Other symptoms a woman might experience during early pregnancy include:

  • Vaginal spotting
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Lower back pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Breast twinges or pains

When to See the Doctor

There are some cases in which you need to visit the doctor for the twinge. If your twinges are accompanied by bleeding (more than a little spotting) or you are having severe cramps, you need to see the doctor. If you are ever worried, it’s always okay to call the doctor – they are there to help you. 

What to Do with Twinges in Early Pregnancy

The twinges usually won't last for long and will gradually improve as the pregnancy progresses. It can hurt, but you don’t want to take medications to alleviate the pain, as that means giving medications to your unborn child who is very vulnerable in the first few weeks. In order to soothe the twinges, try lying down and elevating your feet. Relax until the pain goes away. You can also try meditation or yoga. Rest often, and always stay hydrated. These things will make you feel much better.

Is the Twinge a Sign of Ectopic Pregnancy?

One of the biggest fears of a pregnant woman is that of an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is one condition in which the fertilized egg implants in another area of the body, usually the fallopian tube. These pregnancies have no chance of survival, and can put the mother’s life in danger. It is a much severe condition than twinges in early pregnancy. The good news is that ectopic pregnancies are rare. However, you should be aware of the signs of an ectopic pregnancy, just in case. They include:

  • Sharp abdominal cramps
  • Pain in your lower abdomen that doesn’t go away
  • Light vaginal bleeding
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain concentrated strongly on one side
  • Pain in your shoulder, rectum or neck
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness

If you are experiencing symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, get to your doctor right away. Quick intervention can help save the fallopian tube and preserve your fertility. A ruptured fallopian tube can lead to very severe and sudden pain, as well as heavy bleeding. It is a serious medical emergency; call 911 immediately.

How to Diagnose Ectopic Pregnancy

Your physician will perform an ultrasound and pelvic exam in order to determine whether you are suffering from an ectopic pregnancy. Your doctor may also perform bloodwork that will help determine hormone levels which are another strong sign of whether a pregnancy is viable or not.

What If It Is Ectopic Pregnancy?

The treatment of an ectopic pregnancy depends upon when the pregnancy was discovered. If it is very early in the pregnancy, your doctor might be able to give you an injection of methotrexate, which will dissolve the cells, and then monitor your blood levels closely in the weeks following. If the HCG level remains high, another injection of methotrexate is necessary. If the pregnancy is more advanced, your doctor might have to perform laparoscopic surgery in order to remove the embryo and attempt to repair the fallopian tube. This involves a very small incision and is usually done on an outpatient basis.

If the fallopian tube has ruptured, surgery is required. Emergency surgery can be done through a small abdominal incision. Sometimes the tube can be salvaged, but in cases of a severe rupture, the fallopian tube might have to be removed as well.

Remember that an ectopic pregnancy is rare; it is much more likely that the twinges in early pregnancy are simply what you would expect to feel as your uterus grows to accommodate the fertilized egg.

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