Cramping in early pregnancy usually is not a cause of concern. Many women experience cramping in early pregnancy, while most of them describe it similar to that experienced during the menstrual period. Generally, there is no need to worry about cramping if it is not accompanied with vaginal bleeding or other worrisome symptoms. A number of things can cause cramping in early pregnancy, while most of them are completely harmless. It can be caused by implantation of the fertilized egg to the wall of your uterus. This occurs 6 to 12 days after conception which means that cramping is often one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. An expanding uterus is another common cause of cramping. When the fertilized egg implants, the uterus begins to expand in order to support the developing baby. This can also result in sensation of fullness or heaviness in the abdominal area, similar to what you feel when you are just about to start your menstrual period. Other causes of cramping in the first weeks of pregnancy include constipation and a number of non-pregnancy related problems such as urinary tract infection, uterine fibroids, appendicitis, irritable bowel syndrome, gallstones, etc. However, in this case cramping is typically accompanied with one or more other symptoms that signal a potential health problem.
Cramping in the early phases of pregnancy can sometimes indicate a complication of pregnancy including miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Miscarriage is, unfortunately, quite common especially during the first weeks of pregnancy and there is not much you can do to prevent it. Most miscarriages happen during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, while the exact causes often remain unknown. However, cramping alone typically is not a sign of a miscarriage. But if it is accompanied with vaginal bleeding or spotting, or/and abdominal pain, you should immediately contact your doctor. Try to stay calm, however, because it is not unusual to experience some light bleeding or spotting during early pregnancy. The severity of the bleeding does not necessarily reveal anything although heavy bleeding (soaking more than one pad per hour) cannot be anything good and requires immediate medical attention.
In ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg attaches itself outside the uterus most often in one of the fallopian tubes which is why it is sometimes also called tubal pregnancy. The fertilized egg cannot survive outside the uterus and ectopic pregnancy requires removal of the growing tissue. It starts like a normal pregnancy but signs which reveal that there is a problem occur relatively early. If the fertilized egg has implanted outside your uterus, you may experience cramping or pain on one side of the body, pain in the lower abdomen and vaginal bleeding. If these early signs of ectopic pregnancy are ignored, the growing tissue can cause rupture of the fallopian tube which in turn can cause potentially fatal internal bleeding. Seek emergency medical help if experiencing severe abdominal pain, heavy vaginal bleeding, pain in the shoulder or neck, dizziness or fainting.