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How to get rid of abdominal pain during pregnancy?

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My wife is in her 28th week of pregnancy. She is having stomach/abdominal pain during nights while asleep which disturbs her sleep. What can she do to overcome this situation?
She doesn't have this pain when she is standing/sitting.
Posted Wed, 30 Jan 2013 in Women's Health
Answered by Dr. Timothy Raichle 35 minutes later
Hello, I would be happy to help you with your question today!

Several things might be going on and I will try to itemize them for you:
1. Bowel issue are common in pregnancy - most often this is related to constipation which might be felt as crampy abdominal pain. If this is an issue, she can take a stool softener once or twice daily.
2. Contractions in pregnancy seem to be more common in the evening - it is uncertain why this is the case, but the timing of her pain might be related to this fact. Mild contractions that might be felt as abdominal and low-back pain are probably of low concern, but this possibility should be raised with her OB/GYN.
3. Reflux disease is extremely common during pregnancy - acid contents of the stomach tend to flow "backwards" into the esophagus. This leads to symptoms like she is describing and is certainly made worse when she is lying down.

So, based on what I have said, here is what I would recommend:
1. Consider a stool softener
2. Strongly consider antacid medications (which can usually be bought over the counter). TUMS can also work, but not as well as antacid medications
3. Elevate her head with extra pillows for when she is lying down
4. Talk with her doctor about concerns regarding potential nightly contractions

Based on what is common in pregnancy, reflux is the most likely explanation.

I hope that this helps. If you have any followup questions, please feel free to ask.
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