Minor aches and pains occur with virtually all pregnancies. Lower abdominal pain could arise from the ovaries, although problems involving other structures can mimic ovarian pain. Possible causes include both gynecologic and nongynecologic conditions. Some pose no threat to the pregnancy or the mother while others require urgent medical treatment. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you are pregnant and experience pain in your lower abdominal pain. A fertilized egg normally implants in the uterine lining. With an ectopic pregnancy, implantation occurs outside the uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tube near the ovary. As the pregnancy progresses, the growing embryo stretches the tube causing pain. An ectopic pregnancy is a medical emergency because a ruptured tubal pregnancy can cause life-threatening bleeding. The round ligaments arise from either side of the uterus, pass near the ovaries and attach to the pelvic wall, helping to hold the uterus in place. As the uterus grows during pregnancy, these ligaments stretch and may cause pain. Round ligament pain — which is typically sharp and comes on suddenly — occurs most often during the second trimester. Although decidedly uncomfortable, round ligament pain poses no threat to the mother or baby. Various types of ovarian growths can potentially cause ovarian pain during pregnancy. Most of these growths are noncancerous and often pose no immediate threat to the pregnancy or the mother. Functional ovarian cysts, which arise from egg follicles, are relatively common during pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester. Most cause no symptoms, pose no threat to the pregnancy and disappear as the pregnancy progresses. Occasionally, a functional ovarian cyst grows large enough to cause pain.
After functional ovarian cysts, noncancerous ovarian tumors are the most common type of ovarian growths seen in pregnant women. These growths often cause no symptoms but might cause pain if large. A small percentage of ovarian tumors discovered during pregnancy are cancerous. Ultrasound testing and possibly other imaging or blood tests help distinguish between functional ovarian cysts, other noncancerous ovarian growths and tumors that might be cancerous. Treatment depends on the size of the growth and the probability of it being cancerous. The size of the mass is an important consideration when deciding how best to manage an ovarian growth during pregnancy. Large growths might rupture and cause bleeding. Sizable growths might also twist, causing loss of blood supply to the affected ovary, a condition known as ovarian torsion. When there is a significant risk of cancer, or ovarian torsion or rupture, surgical removal of the growth might be recommended. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is a rare complication of assisted reproductive technology, particularly when human chorionic gonadotropin is used to stimulate maturation of a woman\’s eggs and ovulation. With this condition, the ovaries enlarge and fill with fluid and the capillaries of the body become leaky. This leads to water leaking into the body tissues, which can cause life-threatening complications. OHSS symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and sudden abdominal swelling due to fluid accumulation. OHSS during early pregnancy requires urgent medical care. Placental abruption refers to premature detachment of the placenta from the uterine wall, which leads to bleeding.
Sudden abdominal pain often occurs with this condition, although this symptom might be absent with a small detachment. Placental abruption poses health risks to both the mother and baby and requires emergency evaluation. A wide variety of nongynecologic conditions can cause abdominal pain in pregnancy, just as in people who are not pregnant. A few important examples include:
Other Considerations, Warnings and Precautions There are other possible causes of abdominal pain that can mimic ovarian pain during pregnancy, though they tend to be less common than the conditions discussed. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you are pregnant and experience unexplained abdominal pain, which may or may not be ovarian pain. Seek urgent medical care if you experience any warning signs or symptoms, including: Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting Persistent, throbbing headache Reviewed and revised by: Tina M. St. John, M. D. When a woman gets pregnant, thereвs going to be some pains that are inevitable and other pains that should be reported immediately to their doctor. Some pains occur early in pregnancy, some occur later in pregnancy and others occur throughout the entire pregnancy term. Still, if a woman experiences pain in her ovaries, itвs never a good sign. Pain in the ovaries, or vaginal area should be reported to a doctor immediately, regardless of which trimester youвre in, but especially if youвre feeling ovary pain in the first trimester. This could be a sign of something more serious such as: Pain in the ovaries can happen once or become a chronic problem, so itвs important that you have yourself checked if youвre feeling pain in this area. If this is a womanвs first pregnancy, it may be hard to tell if the pain is actually in the ovaries or somewhere else in the same area.
If youвre not sure, you should always seek medical attention, however, ovarian pain can be the cause of other problems such as: Itвs very easy to mistake pain in the ovaries and other reproductive organs with pain in the abdominal and pelvic areas. This is because all of these organs and parts are located in the same lower region. Many women experience ovarian cysts as the childbearing age comes and goes. If youвre thinking about getting pregnant, are prone to ovarian cysts, or have ovary pain before youвre pregnant, you should seek medical attention and figure out the problem. The cysts could be cancerous, and pregnancy is never a good idea if ovarian cysts are involved. Nausea is almost always coupled with ovary pain. If youвre experiencing nausea with your pain, be sure to first tell your doctor. He or she may then advise you to begin eating smaller portions of food less times per day. If youвre pregnant and are having sexual intercourse, you may also feel pain in your ovaries. Unfortunately your doctor may advise you to stop having sex until he or she can determine the cause of your pain, and whether or not sex should be happening. can aggravate other organs within your pelvic and abdominal areas, causing pain, so itвs best to seek medical attention. When it comes to treating pain within your ovaries, it varies. Your doctor must first determine whether the pain is actually in your ovaries or in another organ in close proximity. Once your doctor diagnoses you, he or she will then be able to advise you or give you the proper medication to reduce the amount of pain.