Any pain during the first half of pregnancy can be alarming, but abdominal pain in particular may cause you to imagine all sorts of scary scenarios about your pregnancy and unborn baby. Although abdominal pain at 15 weeks could be caused by a serious problem, it could just as easily be a routine part of pregnancy.
Although the majority of miscarriages (the spontaneous loss of pregnancy) take place during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, you still could experience a miscarriage as late as 20 weeks, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Miscarriages are commonly accompanied by severe abdominal cramps, as well as vaginal spotting or bleeding, back pain and the passing of tissue-type discharge. Since you could haemorrhage or develop an infection, immediate treatment from your doctor is imperative if you think you are experiencing a miscarriage.
Sudden, sharp pain in your lower abdomen during your 15th week of pregnancy often indicates stretching round ligaments, a normal body change at this time in pregnancy. The main support for your uterus, your round ligament undergoes stretching during pregnancy as your uterus gradually increases in size. The American Pregnancy Association states that quick movements, such as standing up, coughing or laughing can make your round ligament contract suddenly, which causes brief, sharp abdominal pain that may extend into your groin. Rest and changing positions slowly are the easiest solutions for minimising this type of abdominal pain during pregnancy.
Urinary tract infection
Often referred to as a bladder infection, urinary tract infections are a treatable condition (caused by bacteria) that frequently occur during early to mid-pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the increased weight of the uterus decreases or blocks the flow of your urine from your bladder, which often leads to a urinary tract infection. In addition to abdominal pain and tenderness that is centred in the area of your bladder, other symptoms of a urinary tract infection include discomfort during urination, blood in your urine and cloudy or strange-smelling urine.
Although most women going through their first pregnancy don't experience false labour contractions until just weeks before the due date, some women undergo Braxton-Hicks contractions through the second and third trimesters. Characterised by the irregular and sometimes painful tightening of your uterus, Braxton-Hicks contractions are your body's way of getting in shape for labour. If your abdominal pain decreases or stops when you walk, or it fails to get more intense over time, you are most likely experiencing false labour contractions.
Assessing your pain
As soon as you experience any abdominal pain during your pregnancy, lie down immediately and monitor your symptoms. Determine the location and severity of your pain, as well as the presence of any other serious symptoms, such as vaginal bleeding, cramping, back pain and nausea. Typically, your abdominal pain will lessen within moments of getting off your feet. If your pain does not decrease or you are experiencing other serious symptoms, contact your obstetrician or midwife immediately.