# Late Pregnancy Cramps
Many women who are nearing their due date experience cramping or discomfort in their lower abdominal region as a solid indicator that labor is near. It is important to be aware of possible cramping sensations and to understand they can be a sign of a serious condition, so it’s vital to discuss these symptoms with your doctor or midwife.
## What are some common causes of late pregnancy cramps?
There are a number of physical causes that may bring on late pregnancy cramping. Some of the most common include:
* Braxton Hicks contractions – These are also known as false labor contractions. This type of cramp is usually more noticeable in the second and third trimester of a woman’s pregnancy. They are usually more intense when the mother is very active, and may visit and go away with a change in activity.
* Cervical changes – Late team pregnancy cramps can also be a result of the cervix preparing for labor. As labor approaches, the cervix softens and begins to dilate. This process is known as effacement and can cause some light to moderate cramping.
* Stress – Psychological stress can cause a woman to experience cramps in her abdominal muscles as a physical reaction to a mental issue.
* Uterine irritability – This type of late pregnancy cramp is relatively common, but often goes away without any medical intervention.
## When are late pregnancy cramps serious?
While many late pregnancy cramps are normal and will go away on their own, it is important to recognize when cramping may indicate a more serious health issue. If cramping is severe or paired with any of the following symptoms, medical attention should be accessed immediately:
* Severe vomiting
* Blurred vision
* Heavy vaginal bleeding
* Fluid draining from the vagina
* Rapid heartbeat
* Abdominal pain or tenderness
## How can late pregnancy cramps be treated?
Depending on the cause, late pregnancy cramps can be relieved in a number of ways:
* Talking to your doctor to make sure the cramps are normal
* Relaxation techniques
* Drinking plenty of fluids
* Walking or gentle exercise
* Eating a balanced diet
* OTC medication such as ibuprofen
Cramping is a common symptom of late pregnancy, and in most cases, there is nothing to worry about. However, if you experience any severe or unusual cramping, it is important to contact your doctor immediately for advice.
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