As much as pregnancy invokes happiness and excitement, it also brings several health concerns under the limelight.
Some are normal and can be dealt with easily, but some, such as abnormal pain, need immediate medical attention. In this post, we share information about ovarian pain during pregnancy, which could be a cause of concern for many women.
Is It Normal to Have Ovarian Pain During Pregnancy?
Pains during the entire term of pregnancy are not uncommon. However, if you are experiencing pain in your ovaries, vaginal area, pelvic area, or abdomen, it might be a matter of concern. Regardless of the trimester, ensure you consult your doctor immediately and more so if you are experiencing ovarian pain during the first trimester.
Ovarian pain can be the sign of something serious like ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, spontaneous abortion, and uterine fibroids.
Let’s take a look at some of the causes of this pain:
Causes of Ovarian Pain During Pregnancy
Some of the causes of ovarian pain include
1. Ectopic Pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilised egg gets implanted at another place rather than the uterine lining (where the fertilised egg is supposed to get implanted). This is a case of extrauterine pregnancy, as the egg implants outside the uterus.
The most common place is the fallopian tube, and it happens due to internal blockages.
Sometimes, ovarian pain is often not due to the ovaries. The organs are so close that it becomes difficult to understand where the pain is coming from.
Whether it is left ovary pain or right, talk to your doctor immediately to avoid complications.
As the embryo grows in size and stretches the tube, it could cause ovary pain during the first trimester of pregnancy. It is then a medical emergency as it can lead to bleeding and pose serious, life-threatening risks.
We all know that the appendix is a vestigial organ, meaning it has no use. It is positioned just below the long intestine. During pregnancy, it may shift and enter the pelvic area and cause ovary pain. Appendicitis treatment involves a small surgical/laser procedure and requires the use of mild anaesthesia. It must be treated before it affects the baby as it can lead to infection in the baby. This type of pain is typically associated with the right side.
3. Gallbladder Problems
The gall bladder is located under the liver; it may have radiating pain to the stomach, but not typical ovarian pain. Many women fail to understand this pain and take it as a normal pregnancy pain. Inform your doctor immediately if you experience this kind of pain.
Treating gall bladder stones is simple and requires surgery. The doctor will give you anaesthesia while surgically removing the stones. However, it is difficult to treat during pregnancy. If the infection or condition is serious, the surgery can be done, relatively safer in the 2nd trimester.
4. Urinary Tract Infection
Pregnant women are more prone to urinary tract infections, and that can be confused with ovarian pain. Urinary tract infections can be treated with antibiotics. Your doctor will prescribe you a course of antibiotics and ask you to take rest.
Make sure to complete this course to get rid of the infection and the pain. You will have to follow-up with your doctor to check if the infection is gone.
Your ovaries are not supposed to produce eggs while you are pregnant. However, they continue to do so in some women.
The ovaries keep on releasing eggs, and this can cause mild pain. This runs the risk of double pregnancy, and you cannot take birth control pills during this time. Your doctor will ask you to use a condom while having sex to prevent complications.
Do not take analgesics for pain as these come with serious side effects and can harm your pregnancy. Analgesics are to be taken only under medical supervision.
Fibroids or non-cancerous ovarian tumours can also cause a lot of pains. These can also lead to pain in the pelvic region.
They can create problems with implantation of the fertilised egg by causing blockages.
If you are planning to get pregnant, get your uterus checked first to ensure it is healthy and up for it. Fibroids can form due to injuries or diseases.
Endometriosis or the abnormal growth of the tissue lining the uterus, making it move outside the uterus can also lead to ovarian pain, which is usually not felt as the pregnancy hormones control the pain.
Ovarian pain during pregnancy can also be due to a miscarriage. Miscarriage happens in 25% of the cases and usually in the first 21 days.
A miscarriage is associated with excessive pain in the uterus, and it can last up to 10 days. Talk to your doctor immediately as miscarriage needs treatment.
8. Accommodation Pain
As your pregnancy reaches 8-12 weeks, all the organs in the pelvic region start making space for the baby. You could experience ovarian pain due to this reason, which is normal, and you do not need to worry about it. Some cramping of the muscles to accommodate the baby is also normal.
However, molar pregnancy is something you need to be aware of. Molar pregnancy is when the baby grows as a lump of tissues. It is associated with vaginal bleeding and a lot of pain. The embryo cannot survive, and the lump needs to be removed immediately.
9. Kidney Stones
You may experience ovarian pain during pregnancy if you have kidney stones. The pain spreads from the kidneys to your ovary, and you will also have a burning sensation while passing urine.
If your urine has blood, the chances are high that you have kidney stones. Your doctor will recommend drinking a lot of water to dissolve the stones. Bigger stones might require other interventions.
10. Cyst Twist or Torsion
Cysts due to PCOS have become very common in today’s women, and they can be very painful. There could be simple or complex ovarian cysts which can also get a torsion. The twisting of these cysts can cause extreme pain. In such a case, surgical removal of the cysts is the only available option.
11. Round Ligament Pain
If you are experiencing ovarian pain in your second trimester, it could be due to the stretching of the ligament from the groin to the uterus. This is referred to as the round ligament pain.
The pain gets worse when you get up after sleeping or sitting for a long time. Keep yourself hydrated to reduce this pain to some extent. This pain has no threat to you or your baby.
12. Ovarian Torsion
If the fallopian tubes or the ovary get twisted, it is referred to as ovarian torsion, and this can lead to a lot of pain. The blood supply to the ovaries is disrupted, and it causes unbearable pain in pregnant women. Treatment involves surgery, and though it is not a major one, you will need anaesthesia.
13. Placental Abruption
Placental abruption is the early detachment of the placenta from the wall of the uterus, and this causes ovary pain during the third trimester. It can also lead to bleeding. Your doctor will perform an ultrasound to diagnose if this is the cause of your ovarian pain. And if it is the case, then you are at the risk of premature labour.
Placental abruption causes pain in the entire pelvic region as the placenta detaches itself and hangs down from the uterus. It can affect the lives of both the mother and the baby.
Preeclampsia is an increase in blood pressure and deficiency in the supply of oxygen in pregnant women. Preeclampsia can lead to placental abruption.
15. Premature Labour
If you are at risk of premature labour, you may experience ovarian pain. The uterus contraction will cause ovarian pain, and your doctor will prepare you for premature delivery. The pain is unbearable and will radiate in all directions when you go into labour.
Your doctor will conduct an ultrasound test to diagnose this and understand the changes your body is going through. Intense sex or vigorous activities as running can cause ovary torsion and lead to pain. Even constipation can cause ovarian pain during pregnancy.
When to Seek the Doctor’s Help?
In certain scenarios, abdominal pain may mimic ovarian pain, and it is difficult to tell them apart. Regardless of anything, if you are pregnant, talk to your gynaecologist immediately if you are experiencing any kind of abdominal pain, which may or may not be ovarian pain.
These are some of the signs that you need to be aware of to know when to seek a doctor’s help:
- Extreme abdominal pain that seems to get worse.
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Chills or fever.
- Dizziness, nausea and the feeling of lightheadedness.
- Difficulty in breathing.
- A throbbing and persistent headache.
- Sudden swelling of the hands or feet.
- Vision changes.
- A sudden increase in the size of your abdomen.
You have a lot to gain and to lose when you are pregnant. Therefore, you need to be careful about your health. Do not take a chance when you experience any pain. Visit your doctor even for the smallest of health problems as immediate medical attention can keep you and your baby away from any pregnancy complications.