Aches and Pains in the First Trimester: What’s Normal?

This is my first pregnancy, and I desperately want it to be successful. So, every time I feel a new sensation, I run to the Internet to scour online forums and the occasional good article. No matter what the location of my new-found pain, the answer almost always ends up being “Your body is making room for your baby to grow.”

In an effort to comfort myself and my fellow first trimester gals, here is what’s happening in my body so far. If you have a sensation to add, feel free to share in the comments section.

  • Bilateral twinges in my lower abdomen: I first felt this while using the elliptical at the gym. It’s a brief twinge on one or both sides of my lower abdomen that starts just above my groins and circles out and halfway up my abdomen. My coworker who is also a women’s health professional reassured me that this is normal and is most likely round ligament pain—the feeling you get when your ligaments stretch and strengthen to support your growing uterus.
  • Period-like aching: At about 4 ½ weeks, I had a dream that I started my period and woke up to that dull ache in the pit of my stomach that so often signals the impending arrival of Aunt Flow. It kept me up for two hours and came back off and on throughout the next day. It worried me sick, but it’s gone now. Based on other women’s experiences from online forums, all signs point to “your body is making room for your baby to grow.”
  • Sharp pain extending across the upper abdomen when sneezing: I felt this once while lying on my back on the couch. I let out a big sneeze, which was followed by a sharp pain running the length of my upper abdomen. My friend who is also pregnant and also a health professional assures me that this is normal.
  • Dull ache downstairs: Last night during my boring-ass design class, when I had nothing to focus on, my vagina started to ache. It continued through the rest of the evening and is gone this morning. Guess what—my body is making room for my baby to grow.

Okay, your turn. What scary sensations did you experience or are you experiencing during the first trimester? Did it turn out to be a sign of trouble, or did everything end up fine?


About The Preconceptionist

Where personal experience meets clinical and cultural preconceptions about birth and women's health.
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18 Responses to Aches and Pains in the First Trimester: What’s Normal?

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  2. Lauren says:

    Agrhgf. I’m probably NOT the person you want to hear from because I cannot tell you, “Oh, that happened to me, and it all worked out, so hang in there!” But I CAN tell you: I’m right there with you, on all of it. The cramping on the elliptical, the v-town pain, And I’m not gonna lie, its kinda freaking me out. I have put a temporary ban on Google searches because I simply cannot fit another piece of information in my brain that might cause additional panic. OH, just had a cramp right there. My first docs appt is on 9/10, or in other words, a billion years away. CRAMP. Good greif, lawd grant me patience…

  3. amber says:

    Thanks so so so much to the girl/woman who did this!!! This is also my first pregnancy and I’ve just a ball of nerves lol everytime I get one little ache I run to the internet too!! I’m 4-to 5 weeks also and yes I’ve been having period like cramps too but its def normal!! 🙂

  4. Anonymous says:

    im 6 weeks and i keep having pains and aches, think its just stretching, i want an early scan

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think ive read every article relating to ‘first trimester aches n pains’. Had some cramping, back ache n inner thighs aching for couple mins n stops. It said somewhere it may b as u arent having enough water so goin 2 give it a whirl!

  6. Brittany says:

    omg! im so glad someone posted this! This is my second pregnancy, and my daughter just turned 2. So this pregnancy was quite a shocker. I am such a worry wart anyways. everytime i feel a cramp or pain in my stomach i come and google it. i guess it is normal since all kinds of other people are experiencing the same things i am. My mom says i was the same way with my other pregnancy, but i dont really think i had pains this early. i had more cramps and pains as i was farther along. but, im sure its all normal!

  7. Rachel says:

    I am so glad you mentioned the pain downstairs because I just experienced it, and started freaking out. Thank you for calming me down.

  8. crystal says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I too am 4-5 weeks and I am experiencing all of those pains. I actually found your blog by googling vaginal pain. I have been googling up a storm for all possibilities. My appointment isnt until november 5th and everything is new and I have so many questions. Thank you for posting.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I had missed miscarriage this time last year. I am now 5 weeks pregnant and I already have the round ligament stretching pains which they say don’t start till second trimester. Turns out a heap of ladies in first trimester experienced the pain that is described in detail as round ligament stretching. What do they know! 🙂
    This morning I experienced dull ache like I normally have before period starts. All alarms went off! I know it’s not easy to not worry but I’ve decided to just let things go their own way.
    In few articles that aren’t forums it states that should any of your early pregnancy symptoms suddenly stop you should contact doctor. I can happily report my boobs ache so bad, my lower back makes me immobile at times and twinges in my left or right side of lower abdomen still wake me up at night. So….. I’m happy
    Good luck ladies

  10. Erica says:

    I am in my first trimester. I am about 4 to 5 weeks. I am having lil pains in my back, my belly, and my vajayjay! I am a lil scared because I had 5 miscarriages and 2 ectopic pregnancy. They also had to remove my left tube. Should I be worried about the mild cramps that I am having?

  11. Sasa says:

    Well I have the exact same things happening to me , I was to receive my periods on the 1st of July but instead I got them on the 28th of June and the blood was really light and brown in colour sometimes red/pink then I had really bad cramps like period cramps and backache which lasted even after I was done with the bleeding I can’t even sleep on my tummy I get short breaths so I’m not really sure what’s going on and oh my stomach is always making grumbling sounds —- oh and so you know I took a pregnancy test before bleeding and cramps so I don’t know if I should do another test and why am I still having cramps even after I’m done with all the bleeding and stuff *sigh* please help

  12. Jen says:

    Funny…I found this blog Googling throbbing pelvic pain in first trimester…go figure. I am 6.5 weeks and I swear there’s a dinosaur making a home in there! My back hurts, my pelvic area experiences intense throbbing and sharp pains that are intense enough to sit me straight up in bed in the middle of the night. Though I get scared with each pain, I remember what my Midwife told me; that pains are good and a part of ligament stretching. If ever it is accompanied by heavy bleeding, then thats when its time to worry. Of course, light bleeding is normal. So good luck, ladies! Not everyone in the world is blessed with the superpower of making a life. 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi I know this post is old but I’ve been having left ovary cramps on and off clear discharge im scared its a epictopic .. anyone feel cramping on and off near left ovary and abdominal aches.. I have ultrasound tomorrow which is my birthday . so scared

  13. Hardy says:

    I’m so glad I found this as well. I am just about 5 weeks, and very nervous because I had a missed miscarriage earlier this year. I didn’t have any signs that warned me other than a general mental feeling that I just knew something was wrong. This time around everything is making run to the computer to do a google search! I have dull aches that feel like period pains that extends down to the tops of my thighs, I have sharp, digging pains now and then on either side or both sides and my lower back aches. And I have so much bloating and gas pain that its hard to distinguish between intestinal pains and uterine pains, but it must be intestinal. I’ve been eating Gas-x like its candy!

  14. sandy says:

    There is not a lot out there on the topic of first trimester pain. I’m 8 weeks and for the last week or so and I have severe pain/soreness in my vaginal area. My doctor says everything is normal but I almost feel like i can’t walk these days due to the soreness.

  15. Khalen says:

    Although I think its to soon to know, I’m experiencing lower back pains, cramps & twinges in my abdomen. I’m constantly on Google trying to figure things out myself. I’ve read over what feels like millions of forums & articles. We have been TTC for about 4 months now. Praying this is it! Congrats to all new moms to be & baby dust to all TTC!! 😆

  16. gladys says:

    Thank you for sharing this with other women.

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