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Pregnancy journeys may look different for different women, in terms of the kind of experiences that they have. For many, the gestation period is smooth. For others, there are some unique challenges that may make it a high-risk pregnancy with plenty of rest and dietary restrictions. Needless to say, it is recommended that you keep in touch with your gynaecologist throughout the pregnancy, go for regular ultrasounds, take medicines as prescribed by the doctor, and reach out if you face any kind of discomfort, even cramping.
Yes, it is true that many women face some amount of cramping during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimester, when the baby begins to grow and take up space in the uterus. So, while you may think that cramping is synonymous with menstruation or labour pain, it is not true. Why does it happen and is it alarming? According to Dr Shalini Verma, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, many women suffer from the discomfort of sharp cramps or constant aching in their pelvic area.
"[The cramps] are caused by increased blood flow in your pelvic area," Dr Verma explained in a video shared on Instagram. "And [there is] an increased pressure by your growing baby."
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The doctor added that these cramps are "pretty much unavoidable". She shared five tips that may offer some relief; read on.
Make water your best friend. Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day, because some amount of cramping happens when the body is dehydrated. In pregnancy, it is all the more important to drink plenty of water.
Avoid sitting for long hours. It can cause some strain on your muscles and make them feel sore. Also, sitting for long hours without stretching from time-to-time is anyway not a healthy practice. The doctor suggested that you get up from your chair or bed every hour for at least 5 minutes to stretch your legs.
The kind of clothes you wear also factors in. So, make sure to wear loose-fitting, breathable clothes. Also use a maternity support belt. It is wrapped around the abdomen so as to support the lower back, pelvis, hips and abdomen. In addition to that, there are maternity briefs and leggings that may support the legs, buttocks, and hips.
When you are on the bed, rest on your side and avoid twisting at the waist, said Dr Verma.
"Do prenatal yoga, breathing and stretching exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles. And even after that if [the pain] still persists, or is severe and accompanied by vaginal discharge or bleeding, contact your gynaecologist immediately," the expert concluded.