While your stomach becomes bigger and bigger during pregnancy, it is not the only change that happens to your belly. Occasionally, you will notice it looks and feels different. During your pregnancy, your stomach will start to feel hard, and sometimes it will be soft, but you don’t need to worry these changes are perfectly normal. Read on to learn about what causes your pregnant belly to feel hard and sometimes soft.
Listen to "Why Is My Pregnant Belly Sometimes Hard And Sometimes Soft? Pregnancy Podcast Pukeology Ep. 80" on Spreaker.
Why Is My Stomach Sometimes Hard and Sometimes Soft?
Your belly experiences a lot from the moment you get pregnant until when you give birth? The physical changes that occur in your abdomen result from progressive enlargement of your womb to accommodate your growing baby. The most obvious physical change you will notice is the tightening of your abdomen. Your belly starts feeling hard by the end of the second phase of your pregnancy. But in some women, the belly may start to feel hard as early as three months. During the third trimester, the hardness in your belly will start disappearing, and your abdomen will feel normal again.
So, what makes your pregnancy belly sometimes hard and sometimes soft? The changes occur due to various reasons:
1. Enlarging uterus
This is the most common cause of hardening when pregnant. The size of your uterus increases as your baby grows. As a result, it brushes against the pregnant belly pushing out your abdominal musculature. Further growth of the uterus makes your belly hard and tighter.
2. False labor
Your pregnant belly may feel hard because of false contractions called Braxton Hicks. These contractions make the belly become tight and hard for a short period and then disappear, making your abdomen soft again. Braxton Hicks contractions are false because they are not consistent and do not cause dilatation of the cervix.
3. You are about to give birth
Your pregnancy belly may feel extremely tight and hard when you are about to give birth. This is a sign of experiencing true labor characterized by regular and closer contractions. Your abdomen will feel hard every time the contraction comes to help push the baby of your womb.
4. Changes in digestion
Hardening of your stomach may occur during pregnancy because the growing baby interferes with your normal digestion. During pregnancy, the level of progesterone in the blood increases. Progesterone hormone is known to cause a decrease in
bowel movement, consequently leading to the accumulation of gas—this results in bloating, making your belly harden.
5. There is a problem with your pregnancy
Sometimes hardening and softening of your pregnancy belly may suggest there is a problem with your womb. Some underlying issues that may make your stomach become hard or soft include preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or miscarriage.
Why does pregnancy cause gas and other digestive issues?
Some of pregnant women face gastric issues like nausea, vomiting, esophageal reflux,
gastritis, diarrhea,constipation, and flatulence. Constipation is the most common problem women usually face during pregnancy. Three out of ffour women experience constipation and other bowel issues at some point during pregnancy. The human body produces more female related hormones named progesterone which is responsible for the relaxation of your body muscles, including the muscles present in your intestine. As a result, the food passes through the intestine quite slowly, which leads to indigestion and builds up gases within them and causes bloating, excessive burps, and flatulence.
How Do I Reduce or Stop Bloating While Pregnant?
The solution to this problem is to have small frequent meals (5-6 smaller meals) regularly and keep yourself away from the food that produces gas in your digestive system. These foods include beans, cabbage, sweets, and fried items. You are also advised to eat and drink slowly so that it may prevent excessive swallowing of air. Yoga and other exercises may also help in solving this issue. If constipation is associated with iron intake, then you need to take a stool softener along with iron supplements. Using natural remedies to help relieve bloating and nausea is always recommended. However, if you are facing a severe pregnancy gas problem then you need to consult your doctor and get some medications.
When Should I See a Doctor?
It is important to see a doctor if the hardening and softening of your pregnant belly is associated with the following:
- Vaginal discharge
Spotting or bleeding
- Cold flashes
Why is My Stomach Hard at the Top and Soft at the Bottom?
For some reason, your stomach may feel so hard at the top and soft at the bottom when pregnant. This may happen in the third trimester. Feeling hardness at the top
and soft at the bottom pregnancy could suggest your baby is in breech presentation, that is, the head is up, and the butt is down (in sitting position). However, you need to consult a doctor and probably have an ultrasound done to confirm your baby's position in the womb.