I have heard many theories about cramping in early pregnancy, and am looking for some consistent information. Some books/docs indicate that cramping in early pregnancy is quite normal (ligament stretching, etc.), and others indicate that it is a sign of early miscarriage. How do you know whether you should be concerned? Additionally, it is my understanding that even without bleeding, you can be miscarrying. I'm not sure how to tell what's going on. How long does the cramping tend to last if its NOT a miscarriage?
The cramping is normal, a result of the uterus reacting to a growing foreign body--in this case, your baby. It reacts the same against IUDs and large clots with heavy periods. It just tends to want to expel what's in it. Clots are easy to expel, but a baby isn't, thank goodness! Usually if the cramping is not accompanied by bleeding, it's just these "growing pains." Even with spotting, let your OB make sure you don't just have a coincidental cervicitis (harmless) + growing pains. A bloodless miscarriage is usually of the blighted ovum variety, in which a fetus doesn't develop--just the sac.
Take heart, because usually growing pains cramping are a sign of a nice, healthy, growing pregnancy.