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Why is My Pregnant Belly Sometimes Hard and Sometimes Soft

by | Pregnancy

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As a pregnant woman, you may have noticed that your belly feels hard at times and soft at others. This is a common phenomenon and is known as experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions. 

Pregnant women often feel different sensations in their stomach, from contractions to round ligament pain, vaginal discharge, and belly hardening, which can be because of increased fluid levels or hormonal imbalance.

Here, we will discuss what causes these changes in your belly and what you can expect throughout your pregnancy.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

Balloting refers to the hardness you feel in your belly when your uterus contracts. These contractions are also known as Braxton Hicks contractions, named after the British doctor who first described them in the 1800s.

These contractions are harmless, painless contractions of the uterus that occur during pregnancy. 

According to the American pregnancy association, they are the body’s way of preparing the uterus for labor, but they do not result in the birth of the baby.

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When do Braxton Hicks Contractions Occur? 

Braxton Hicks contractions feel like mild cramping and can occur at any time during pregnancy, but they are most common in the third trimester. They can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. 

These contractions can be quite intense, causing the belly to become hard or cause sharp pain. The frequency and intensity of these contractions can vary from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy. If you experience contractions more frequently, you should consult the doctor. 

Body Pain During Pregnancy

As you go deeper into your pregnancy and reach your due date, your entire body may feel restless or tired. You might feel like your whole body aches. Back pain, as you know, is a common symptom of pregnancy. 

That’s because it supports the growing belly. But this is also the cause of the tightening of your belly. 

Pain in the thighs and hips is also common because they are connected to tissues around the groin and the uterus, which are stretched to their maximum to accommodate the growing baby.

The best way to alleviate the pain is to rest when you feel uncomfortable. You can also use heat therapy or ask your husband to give you a back massage using soothing essential oils. 

You will have to take good care of yourself during pregnancy. The baby’s position keeps changing. That also means taking adequate rest, especially when you feel uncomfortable.

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Why Does My Pregnant Belly Go From Soft to Hard During Pregnancy? 

Depending on whether you are weighing yourself or altering your size, the abdomen of a pregnant woman can either be soft or hard. 

There are instances when the belly seems like it is soft, and your child has been imprisoned inside the womb.

You can still notice these changes beyond your third trimester. Given the physical changes your body goes through during pregnancy, maternity, childbirth, and breastfeeding, being pregnant is a beautiful experience for a pregnant woman, but it can also appear challenging.

    1. Throughout the First Trimester 

Pregnant women frequently feel a hard stone-like spot in their bellies during the first trimester of pregnancy. This is a result of the uterus enlarging to provide room for the growing baby.

The abdominal muscles contract, resulting in faint cramping or light spotting as the fetus grows, in addition to a hard spot in the abdomen.

    1. Throughout the Second Trimester

Several factors could be indicated by a hard spot in your abdomen during the second trimester. A hard spot in the belly is a common symptom of pregnancy, but it is mostly benign. It can be something referred to as constipation or gas. 

Another indicator of gestational diabetes that may necessitate additional monitoring can be because of the hard spot in your abdomen.

Other factors that might contribute to stomach pain during pregnancy include ovarian cysts, kidney stones, gallstones, appendicitis, urinary tract infections, and constipation.

This might potentially be a result of the uterus’s pressure on the abdominal muscles. By rolling onto your back or lying on your side, you can get relief from this. 

However, a doctor should be consulted right away if the hard spot is brought on by an uncommon growth or you start feeling any labor contractions.

 If you’ve been suffering abdominal pain, or practice contractions that don’t appear to be going away, or your pregnant belly feels tight, then you should see your doctor immediately or go for a routine checkup. 

    1. Throughout the Third Trimester

It’s typical to experience a firm pressure on your abdomen throughout the third trimester.

Abdominal pain is an indication of contractions that your belly feels tight or the pregnant belly becomes hard, so you could have a hunch that actual labor is about to start.

However, not all abdominal pain, though, is caused by contractions. The baby’s bodily part protruding may be one of the causes of an abdominal hard spot or hard belly.

It’s totally normal for a pregnant woman to feel her baby’s bodily parts outside of the uterus. The baby’s heartbeat can be felt during the inspection or uterus brushing. The baby’s head can be felt rotating. 

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Why is my Pregnant Belly Sometimes Hard and Sometimes Soft? It Might Be Womb Issues

Although having a rock-hard belly is undoubtedly normal, it can also indicate a number of other possible problems within the womb.

Preeclampsia, a condition that denotes a high level of blood sugar, is one of the often occurring medical conditions associated with pregnant belly tightness. 

Unfortunately, if preeclampsia is not treated in a timely manner, it can cause a miscarriage during the first few months of pregnancy or even later.

The Uterus Brushes Up Against the Pregnant Belly

The uterus swells from the size of a little apple to a watermelon during pregnancy, which is one of the organ’s most fascinating features.

As the uterus squeezes against the pregnant belly to make space for the baby, the belly expands during pregnancy which can result in cramping that is more similar to period cramps. 

The pelvic bone and the belly button will be reached by the uterus by the end of the second trimester.

 It won’t be long before the womb begins to press against the stomach walls, compressing the pregnant belly even more.

Due to the increased pressure on the digestive system, bloating and nausea are frequently followed by stomach hardening, which is why most pregnant women have severe nausea during the third trimester. Unfortunately, little can be done to change the situation. 

The natural process of uterine enlargement is an indication of a healthy pregnancy. The only thing you can do to minimize constipation and bloating is to eat extra fiber. Medications can be taken to relieve pain caused by false contractions. 

Additionally, there are several excellent activities for pregnant women that will keep you in shape and reduce your gas.

Do keep in mind that you are pregnant, so don’t push yourself too much because the uterus expands, abdominal muscles stretch, and your pregnant belly feels hard.

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Round Ligament Pain 

Although it has its ups and downs, the second trimester of pregnancy is widely regarded as the greatest time to become pregnant. During the second trimester, the lower belly of the majority of pregnant women has at least one acute discomfort.

The ligament that encircles the stomach and uterus is the primary cause of this kind of pain. This ligament produces pain and a tight stomach as it stretches from the front of the pregnant belly to the back.

The right side of the abdomen is typically where the pain is reported as being acute and stabbing (but it may also appear on the left side). 

Exercises for the core, flexing the hips before sneezing or coughing, avoiding unexpected movements, and the use of heating pads are some methods to reduce this pain.

When Does Pain In Round Ligament Begin

Round ligament discomfort can begin earlier if you are carrying multiples or a large baby, but it typically begins around week 20 and lasts until delivery. If you are having twins or triplets, it could also happen later in the pregnancy.

How Does Pain in the Round Ligament Feel?

Your abdomen will feel achy and dull when you have round ligament discomfort. It’s possible that you saw it when pregnant and were curious about what it was.

The circular ligament of the uterus pulls on its attachment to the pubic bone during pregnancy, which is the actual source of the ligament discomfort.

If you are expecting multiple children or have previously given birth, it can be worse. Try placing a pillow between your legs while you sleep to ease some of the strain on your lower abdomen since it is typically more visible while you are lying down.

Make sure the cushion isn’t too high if you’re expecting it; it should only be high enough to ease the pressure, not add any more.

How Long Does Pain in the Round Ligament Last?

It depends, is the succinct response. Women frequently have round ligament discomfort, commonly referred to as pelvic girdle pain, during pregnancy and after giving birth. 

It is characterized by pain in the lower abdomen or groyne that can be either acute or dull.

Standing up frequently makes the discomfort worse while lying down or moving about usually makes it better. It may also be accompanied by additional symptoms like nausea or vomiting, edema, and urination problems.

The good news is that round ligament pain typically subsides with time—about three months following delivery. However, if it persists for an extended period of time, you should speak with your doctor about what it might indicate and whether any therapies are available to ease your symptoms. 

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What if my Stomach is Bulging to One Side 

One of the key causes of your stomach’s look throughout pregnancy is gravity. Because of the way gravity pushes on your body, you could notice that one side of your stomach bulges more than the other.

As you put on weight, your stomach will be pulled in various ways and become more pronounced on one side. It can also be a result of how your baby is positioned. 

As your pregnancy progresses, you can feel that one side of your stomach stands out more than the other.

This can occur for a variety of reasons, but the most common one is that your baby may be moving toward the birth canal or into a position that is less pleasant for them while still inside the womb. 

When it’s time for labor and delivery at the end of pregnancy, this occurs most frequently.

What is Uterus Hypersthenia

The second trimester of pregnancy is when this most frequently happens. Sometimes the uterus doesn’t relax and remains toned, which might stress out the entire body, including the fetus.

Even though it’s typically not a problem and can usually be treated by getting more sleep and staying in bed longer, it can occasionally lead to miscarriage and other pregnancy issues.

If you begin to have persistent back discomfort and abdominal hardness, consult your doctor. You shouldn’t have a rock-hard stomach all the time; to get over this, you may require medical attention or medicine.

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Signs of Abrupt Placenta

When the placenta separates from the uterine wall, it causes placental abruption. There are numerous concerns for both the mother and the baby, and it can trigger premature labor.

It only typically happens in the third trimester and necessitates urgent medical care. 

Placental abruption can be identified by severe cramping, persistent abdomen tightness, vaginal bleeding (typically significant hemorrhage), and decreased fetal activity. 

Please seek emergency care if you have any of these symptoms like your amniotic fluid leaking, uterus muscle movement, stomach tightness, cold flashes, bh contractions, or baby movement. 

Problems With Digestion and an Unbalanced Diet

The idea that you must eat for two during pregnancy is among the most widespread fallacies. This is really simply a great justification for having one more piece of delectable cake!

Contrarily, your body yearns for foods high in the nutrients, minerals, and essential fats that are vital for a baby’s growth and development. You should take healthy diet.

 One of the “side effects” of pregnancy that practically every pregnant woman experiences are constipation.

Many individuals think that constipation is a result of eating poorly. However, this may not always be the case.

 Constipation is a regular side effect of the uterus pressing against your bowels, especially during the third trimester.

But that’s not the sole explanation. Progesterone, one of the well-known female hormones, is continuously released during pregnancy.

It is also known as a pregnancy hormone, which may cause bloating and discomfort but is a crucial component in maintaining the health of the womb for your unborn child.

Every time you experience constipation, your stomach may feel hard, but if you eat fiber-rich, healthy foods, your gut may relax and help with this problem naturally.

Final Thoughts 

The majority of the time, the various feelings you could experience in your growing tummy simply indicate that everything is going according to plan.

As your uterus grows to accommodate the development and growth of your unborn child, your organs are being forced out of the way.

In this article, we have discussed all you need to know why your pregnant belly sometimes feels hard and sometimes soft. Always discuss any worries you have with your doctor, and if you suspect something is off, get it checked out. Never err on the side of safety.

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