Left Side Pain During Pregnancy – Symptoms and Tips

Left Side Pain During Pregnancy – Symptoms and Tips

15 Jun 2022 | 5 min Read

Reema Shah

Author | 340 Articles

It is common for a lot of women to experience left side pain during pregnancy. In the early stage of your pregnancy, it can indicate that your body is stretching to make room for your baby. The pain can also be because of digestive issues such as constipation or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In the later stage of pregnancy, the pain can be because of the stretching of the abdomen. 

Let’s look at the symptoms and causes of the pain on the left side during pregnancy.

Symptoms Of Left Side Pain During Pregnancy

Some of the types of pain that can happen during pregnancy include:

  • Cramping pain which feel like menstrual cramps
  • Pain during urination
  • Pressure in your pelvic area
  • Cramping on the left side of the abdomen 
  • Pubic area pain
  • Pain in the thighs 
  • Pelvis has a clicking sensation
  • Lower back pain
Back pain is common during pregnancy so using heat pads can provide relief / Credit – Unsplash

Main Causes of Left Side Pain During Pregnancy

The pain in the left side can happen during the first, second and third trimesters for different reasons. Let’s look at each semester-

First Trimester

During the first trimester, left side pain happens because of all the bodily changes that come with pregnancy. In some cases, it can also be because of digestive issues which tend to worsen during pregnancy.

Miscarriage can also be a reason for left side pain in early pregnancy. However, in the most serious cases,  ectopic pregnancy can be the reason for left side pain in early pregnancy. 

Ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilised eggs grow outside the uterus and can be dangerous for both the mum and baby. Hence, this case needs emergency treatment. Infections in the kidneys and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) can also cause left side pain at any stage of pregnancy. 

Second Trimester

During the second trimester, some women experience round ligament pain which can cause pain on either side. The round ligaments provide support to the uterus and stretch during pregnancy to accommodate the growing baby. As a result, there is a sharp pain that can be felt in the hip area or the abdomen area on either side. When the ligaments retract quickly because of sudden movements, the left side or the right side of the body can experience pain. However, this pain only lasts for a few seconds and gradually eases in the third trimester. 

Stretching and walking or any activity recommended by the doctor must be done to keep the body active during pregnancy / Credit – Unsplash

Third Trimester 

Mostly in late pregnancy, Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) which is commonly referred to as Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) can occur which can cause left side pain. However, this can happen at any stage in pregnancy. 

You might experience the pain in your pubic bone at your hips level, or in the area between your vagina and anus. You can even feel pain on either side of your lower back and the pain may spread to your thighs too.

 It is very common to feel a grinding or clicking sensation in your pubic area. While PGP is not harmful to your baby and is not a concern to worry about, it can feel very uncomfortable for the expecting mum.

When to See the Doctor 

The physical changes in the different trimesters of pregnancy can cause left side pain. However, here are some symptoms that may require medical attention-

  • Fever 
  • You have trouble walking or moving around
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Dizziness or fainting 
  • Extreme pain
  • Your baby is not moving much
  • Leakage of fluid from the vagina
  • Bowel movements have blood 
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Persistent diarrhoea 
  • Painful urination or difficulty urinating 

Tips to Ease Left Side Pain

Speaking to BabyChakra, Paediatrician Dr Pooja Marathe says, “Round ligament pain is common during pregnancy, and it may feel like sharp cramping on either side of the lower abdomen. At around 12 weeks of pregnancy, hormonal changes cause the round ligaments, which connect the front of the uterus to the groin, to loosen and become more elastic. Left side pain in the first trimester is usually caused by normal bodily changes from pregnancy. It may also be related to digestive issues that tend to be worse during pregnancy, such as GERD. Left side pain in early pregnancy may also be caused by miscarriage.”

You will be recommended tests such as an ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging to diagnose the cause of left side pain. For easing the changes in your body here’s what you should avoid doing-

  • Take enough rest
  • Use a heating pad but not for more than 10 minutes
  • Do Kegel exercise
  • Place a pillow between your knees while sleeping 
  • You can use a maternity belt for extra support
  • Do not stay in one position for a long period of time, move slowly in frequent intervals
  • Maintain a good posture
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects
  • Do stretching exercises if the doctor does not advise against them
  • Use prescribed pain relievers for severe pain

Pregnancy brings many changes in the body to support the growing baby. Do not panic about the pain you experience unless they feel severe. Go for regular checkups and let your doctor know how you are feeling for a timely diagnosis if needed.

Cover image credit – Medical News Today

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