The joy of being a mother, coupled with a sense of purpose and meaning and the insuperable amount of love and laughter that it brings to one’s life, is a secret not too well-kept. The entire experience, from knowing that you are pregnant, to the morning sickness, from the 5 weeks pregnant cramps to the first trimester fatigue, from the blossoming of breasts to the ever-growing baby bump, and from the second trimester contractions to the last stage of labour and joyously awaiting the arrival of your little one, is unequivocal, and yet inexplicable.
Many pregnant women, out of their sheer excitement and anticipation to get to carry and deliver a healthy baby, plan way too ahead of their "time". However, it is a fact widely recognized that irrespective of how well you plan for your baby’s arrival, you would always not fully be prepared for any of the bodily changes you may undergo during your pregnancy. In some cases, you might even confuse the pregnancy symptoms with the pre-menstrual ones, because several early pregnancy symptoms such as 5 weeks pregnant cramps, 6 weeks pregnant lower backache, and nausea, are quite similar to the symptoms before the menstrual periods.
Is It Normal to Have 5 Weeks Pregnant Cramps?
For some women, cramping is a matter of common occurrence during the course of their pregnancy. Specially, the 5 weeks pregnant cramps (6 weeks pregnant cramps) in the first trimester are often the much-talked-about early pregnancy symptoms amongst expectant mothers, whereby, they sometimes feel pain in their vagina while having sex. However, it needs to be kept in mind that cramping is normal during all stages of pregnancy, unless it is characterized by severe pain or bleeding.
The early pregnancy cramps are usually associated with the increased progesterone level and normal physical changes, which your body is subjected to, as it braces itself up for bearing your baby and ultimately, delivering it. The hormone progesterone stimulates the uterine lining to thicken, so that the fertilized egg gets implanted here. By gestational week 6, the surge in the level of progesterone induces uterine blood vessel growth, thereby, nourishing the embryo by creating a fully-functional placenta. Since during this process the uterus expands, the ligaments and muscles appended to it stretch and hence cause cramping.
What Causes Pregnant Cramps?
Early pregnancy cramps, regardless of them being mild or severe, are usually daunting. For first-time pregnant women, cramping may be a source of concern, as it could be one of the signs indicating that they have unfortunately miscarried. Nonetheless, it is absolutely normal to experience cramps in the first trimester. However, it could entail complication if it is coupled with vaginal bleeding.
- The Expansion of the Uterus
During the early stages of pregnancy, the uterus begins to thicken and expand in order to make room for and adjust to the growth of the baby inside it. During the second trimester, the round ligament, a muscle supporting the uterus, begins to stretch, as the baby and the uterus grows. This sudden movement causes abdominal cramps accompanied by a sharp, jabbing feeling in the lower abdomen.
- Hormonal Changes
When a woman conceives, her body begins to produce hormones such as progesterone, oestrogen, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), and human placental lactogen. Where the latter two are exclusive to pregnancy only, the former two are involved in the menstrual cycle as well. However, there is an increase in the production of each of these hormones in the early stages of pregnancy, which in turn, result in cramps and pains.
- Implantation Cramping
Not all women experience implantation cramping but those who do feel it when the implantation actually occurs in the uterus. Cramps due to implantation are nature’s way of alluding to the impregnation of a woman. Implantation cramps, which feel similar to the menstrual cramps, are mild and therefore, are not worrisome at all. They occur on either side in the lower abdomen, due to the melting of the uterine mucous membrane at the site of implantation, so that the fertilized embryo attaches itself to the uterine wall.
- Gas and Constipation
Frequent occurrence of gas is often mistaken for cramps during pregnancy. The increased levels of progesterone contribute a great deal to the build-up of gas in a pregnant woman. Progesterone causes the muscles in the body to relax. As a consequence, the intestinal muscles relax. This in turn, causes the digestion to slow down, thereby allowing the gas to accumulate and cause flatulence accompanied by bloating.
Similarly, constipation, which is a common concern during pregnancy, too, is a result of the relaxation of the muscles brought about by the pregnancy hormones, which subsequently, slows down the movement of food along the digestive tract.
Gas pains and constipation often occur as abdominal cramps with a sharp, stabbing pain.
Despite the fact that the early pregnancy cramps such as the 5 weeks pregnant cramps and the 6 weeks pregnant cramps are normal in most cases, they could also be indicative of an impending miscarriage. If you miscarry by gestational week 4, you may experience mild cramping. However, the 5 weeks pregnant cramps and the 6 weeks pregnant cramps due to miscarriage are severe and painful.
Usually, the first sign of a miscarriage is vaginal spotting or bleeding. However, every vaginal bleed does not result in a miscarriage, since 20% of expectant women notice vaginal spotting in the first trimester, and most of them do not miscarry.
Common signs of a miscarriage are as follows:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Lower back ache
- Pelvic cramps
- Stomach ache
- Ectopic pregnancy
Severe cramps on one side of the abdomen during the early stages of gestation imply that the pregnancy is tubal or ectopic. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg develops at a site outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes. Since the ectopic pregnancies can be life threatening for the mother, they need to be treated immediately and when they are identified.
What About Lower Back Aches in 6 Weeks Pregnant Women?
In early pregnancy days, recurrent lower backache can be a "real pain." During the later trimesters, the entire anatomy of the expectant mother gets out of shape. With a shift in the centre of gravity, and most of the weight in the front of the torso, this puts a strain on the back and causes pain.
Lower back aches in 6 weeks pregnant women may also be attributed to a lack of regular night’s sleep. In order to get comfortable, you may be laying on your side, with the weight of your womb pulling on your back, causing the backache.
Pregnancy hormones and physiological changes may contribute towards that backache too. As the body prepares itself for childbirth, the muscles and ligaments relax and loosen up. Together these body changes can cause lower backache as an early pregnancy symptom in 6 weeks pregnant women.
When to See a Doctor
Although cramps are common and normal during pregnancy, you should visit a healthcare service provider if you find them disquieting enough. If the cramps are not severe, you may consider waiting for a day or more to see if they subside on their own. However, consult a doctor immediately if you experience any of these:
- Heavy bleeding
- Pink or grey clots of tissue in your vaginal discharge
- Severe pain for 24 hours on one side of the lower abdomen
- Vaginal spotting for three consecutive days or more, followed by abdominal cramps
- Lower belly becoming tender during cramps