As your body hosts a life for a few months, a series of changes take place in the abdomen. An increase in hormones prepares the uterus and body for many of the demands necessary to bear and sustain another human being within you.
Two anxieties during pregnancy are fairly common – lower back pain and tightening of the stomach; discuss with your health care provider or OB/GYN during your regular prenatal visits.
As the baby grows, the uterus feels hard and tight. If you are fat, you may feel this tightening much later during the pregnancy, than a skinny woman. You’ll experience that the stomach tightens at irregular intervals, and you may feel them as cramps / contractions. The increasing weight stretches the skin and Braxton Hicks contractions or false labor may also set in.
- Stomach Tightening during Early Pregnancy: In early pregnancy, the stretching of ligaments causes the tightening.
- Abdominal Tightening In Late Pregnancy: During late pregnancy, the movement of the baby causes abdominal tightening. With an advancement of pregnancy, your abdomen blooms to make room for the growing baby. The abdominal cavity is shared by the growing baby as well as your organs. The growing uterus and the baby’s movement can both cause the feeling of tightness in your abdomen. Weight gain during pregnancy is another factor responsible for tightening of the stomach. Fat which gets deposited under the skin stretches the abdominal wall and causes tightening. Gastric derangements are frequent during late pregnancy too and that causes the stomach to tighten.
Common Causes Of Tight Stomach During Pregnancy
- Braxton Hicks contractions: Braxton Hicks contractions are fairly common in the 2nd and 3rd trimester and are responsible for stomach tightening. These are referred to as ‘false labor’ and they prepare your body for true labor. Confer with your OB/GYN to understand Braxton Hicks contractions and to put your mind at ease.
- Abruption placenta: The placenta nourishes the growing fetus. Normally, the uterus is attached closely to the uterine muscular wall. Occasionally, it may detach and move downwards in to the lower uterine segment. Consequently, bleeding occurs and the uterus becomes firm, tight and tender to touch. This abdominal tightening is not transitory but lasts for long. This condition poses a very serious threat to the mother as well as the developing baby; you need to talk to your doctor and ascertain what is causing your discomfort.
- Large meals: The abdomen is already pressed for space to house the growing baby and the uterus; hence, a large meal further causes a fight for space in the restricted portion of your stomach. Hence, it is vital that you eat healthy food, small portions at regular intervals instead of gobbling a lot of food at once. Have 6 to 7 small meals through the day. You will surely feel the difference if you plan your eating frequency and quantity; you could meet with a nutritionist who will plan your meals for you.
- Constipation: By and large, women experience constipation during pregnancy. Constipation, flatulence and bloating make the stomach feel tight and hard.