Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful, and also the most stressful, periods of life for every mama (at least until your little one becomes a teenager, lol).
I’m sure you’ll have loads of questions about all the changes your body goes through, but one of the most common is: “Why is my pregnant belly sometimes hard and sometimes soft?”.
Whether it’s morning sickness, an increased amount of sweating, or an inability to put your own socks on, these are all completely normal processes almost every future mama goes through during pregnancy.
A woman’s body goes through an amazing transformation in order to bring a little human being into the world.
Although pregnant women generally look beautiful and radiant, a lot of people have no idea what they’re actually going through physically and mentally.
Motherly instinct seems to kick in early during the pregnancy, which is why most women start worrying as soon as they notice a change in their body, especially if there are any changes to the pregnant belly.
During pregnancy, most future mothers notice that their belly changes from hard to soft.
These types of changes are rarely cause for concern, but there could be several reasons which actually require further medical investigation.
Read on to discover the most common reasons the belly hardens and softens during pregnancy.
Why Does My Stomach Get Hard And Soft During Pregnancy?
The pregnant belly can be either hard or soft depending on your body type, the baby’s position in the womb, and it’s size.
Sometimes the belly feels so soft that you wonder if the baby is still inside, while other times it feels like you’re carrying a massive rock instead of your child.
You might notice these changes even throughout the day, especially if you have recently entered the third trimester.
Pregnancy is a wonderful experience, but it can also be quite challenging given all of the changes your body undergoes to make room for the baby, prepare for delivery, and breastfeed.
The belly is one of the body parts that undergoes significant changes during pregnancy.
The uterus slowly expands to accommodate the baby, changing the shape and size of your stomach so it’s bigger and wider.
One of the changes that marks the second trimester is Uterus Hypersthenia, also known as pregnancy belly tightening.
Most pregnant women describe it as period cramps after which the belly feels hard.
If you’ve been wondering, “Why is my pregnant belly sometimes hard and sometimes soft?” Here are some of the most common reasons.
Why Is My Pregnant Belly Sometimes Hard And Sometimes Soft?
The uterus brushing up against the pregnant belly
One of the most interesting facts about the uterus is that it grows during pregnancy from the size of a small apple to the size of a watermelon.
The pregnancy belly grows as the uterus pushes against it to make room for the baby. By the end of the second trimester, the uterus will have reached the pelvic bone and the belly button.
It won’t take long until the womb presses against the stomach walls, which will cause a further tightening of the belly.
Bloating and nausea are often followed by the hardening of the stomach because of the increased pressure on the digestive system, which is why some women feel quite sick during the third trimester.
Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done about it.
Uterus expansion is just a natural process and a sign of a healthy pregnancy.
The only thing you can do is eat more fiber to help prevent constipation and bloating as much as possible.
Also, there are plenty of great exercises for pregnant women that will help you stay fit and less gassy.
Do be sure to keep in mind that you’re pregnant, so don’t overdo it!
Braxton hicks contractions
I’m 100% positive you heard about Braxton hicks contractions even before you became pregnant.
These contractions typically appear after around 30 weeks of pregnancy (at the beginning of the third trimester).
False contractions serve as a preview of what’s going to happen in the next few weeks when you go into true labor.
Braxton hicks contractions are perfectly normal and can occur even earlier in a pregnancy (as early as the fourth month).
These contractions might harden the pregnant belly as the abdominal muscles tighten across the stomach.
As soon as the contractions stop the pain will go away and the belly will soften, so there’s no need to fear.
The American pregnancy association noticed that BH contractions might be triggered by a full bladder and dehydration.
Therefore, it’s very important to listen to your body and take everything it needs in order to function properly.
BH contractions might be just as painful as the real ones, but the main difference is that there’s no dilation of the cervix.
However, if the contractions become regular and the stomach doesn’t soften after they pass, you might be going into true labor.
In this case, it would be best to contact your obstetrician as soon as possible.
Round ligament pain
The second trimester is generally considered the best period of pregnancy, but it does come with its own ups and downs.
Most pregnant women feel a sharp pain in the lower part of the belly at least once during the second trimester.
The main culprit for this type of pain is the round ligament that surrounds the stomach and the uterus.
This ligament stretches from the front part of the belly to the back, which causes pain and a tight stomach.
The pain is usually described as a sharp, stabbing pain on the right side of the belly (but it may also appear on the left side).
There are several ways to ease this pain, including core strengthening exercises, flexing the hips before coughing or sneezing, avoiding sudden movements, and using heating pads.
Why is my pregnant belly sometimes hard and sometimes soft? It might be womb issues
Rock hard pregnant belly might be a completely natural thing, but it can also be a sign of several potential issues in the womb.
One of the common health conditions followed by belly tightening is preeclampsia, a condition that indicates a high level of blood sugar.
Unfortunately, preeclampsia can lead to miscarriage during the first few months of pregnancy, and even later on if it’s not treated in time.
If you notice belly tightening followed by fever, bleeding, spotting, nausea, cold flashes, or discharge, you should speak to a healthcare professional immediately.
Pregnancy weight gain
This is one of the biggest fears of every future mama – pregnancy weight gain.
Most pregnant women gain weight, which is entirely natural, but it does alter the body’s form and causes the tummy to feel tight.
During the first two trimesters, the majority of the weight is distributed around the abdomen and thighs.
As fat cells collect around the expanding uterus, some mothers may see their pregnancy tummy in the first semester.
If you’re someone who doesn’t have a belly during the first trimester, there are high chances it’ll grow significantly in the second semester.
Some women also experience period-like cramping as a result of stomach fat cell growth.
Most moms lose the fat postpartum, but even if you don’t, there’s no need to fear because it’ll all go away with good exercise and a healthy diet after the recovery period.
Problems with digestion and an unbalanced diet
One of the most common misconceptions about pregnancy is that you have to eat for two.
I’d say this is actually just an excellent excuse to have one more slice of a delicious cake!
Your body, on the other hand, craves foods high in essential fats, nutrients, and minerals, which are essential for a baby’s growth and development.
Constipation is one of the most common “side effects” of pregnancy, and happens to almost every pregnant woman.
A certain number of people believe that constipation is related to an unhealthy diet, but this might not necessarily be true.
The uterus presses against your bowels all the time, especially during the third trimester, which results in constipation.
However, that’s not the only reason.
One of the well-known female hormones, progesterone, is released during pregnancy all the time.
It’s also known as a pregnancy hormone that might cause bloating and discomfort, but it’s a very important part of keeping your womb healthy for your little one.
Your belly might feel hard every time you feel constipated, but if you eat healthy food with fiber the belly might soften and ease this issue naturally.
No need to eat for two
There’s no need to feed your baby until she develops a digestive system, therefore there’s no need to eat for two, no matter what anyone says about it.
Your little one will receive all the nutrients she needs from you through the umbilical cord.
However, unborn babies also digest the amniotic fluid, which contains proteins and other nutritional supplements for the baby.
The amniotic fluid generally tastes like food you had that day, which is why it’s thought that your little one’s taste buds are developed in the uterus.
However, that doesn’t mean you need to eat more to satisfy your child’s needs.
Pregnancy cravings are usually described as the child’s need for a certain food, which is far from true.
This way of thinking might easily result in overeating, which causes a bloated and tight baby bump that makes you even more uncomfortable.
The best way to avoid a hard belly is to keep the same amount of food on your plate as you usually eat.
Just because you crave food and feel constant hunger doesn’t mean you should eat without any control and feel bad later.
You can also take small breaks during the meal to let your stomach get a bit of rest.
Pregnancy belly becomes a bouncy castle
The most frequently asked questions during pregnancy are usually:
• “What can I eat during pregnancy?”
• “How much weight should I gain?”
• “Why is my pregnant belly sometimes hard and sometimes soft?”
• “When will I feel my baby move?”
The final question is an essential part of every pregnancy. When a mother can’t feel her baby, she immediately becomes concerned that something is wrong.
However, it doesn’t take long until your cute little bun in the oven starts bouncing around in your tummy, and you will feel every kick in your uterus!
Every time your baby kicks you in the belly, it becomes tighter.
Therefore, if your stomach is tightening and feels harder than before, it could be because of a very active baby.
Although it’s quite uncomfortable for a future mother, it’s a sign that your baby is growing well and that she’s healthy.
You might also feel bloated because of the kicks, but that usually doesn’t last for too long, so you’ll be as good as new in no time!
The uterus is an important organ because it accommodates the baby as it grows in your belly, but it is not the only organ vital to your unborn child.
The placenta grows along with the uterus and provides the child with food and nutrients of crucial importance for their healthy development.
Some people refer to the placenta as the unborn baby’s life support system.
Unfortunately, things can go wrong in some cases, particularly if the placenta separates itself from the uterine wall before the mother gives birth.
One of the main signs of this occurrence is belly hardening, which is the result of the uterus going hard.
This is a rare condition, and only 1.5 percent of pregnant women from around the world go through it.
However, the low probability shouldn’t lull anyone into a false sense of security, especially if the belly hardening doesn’t go away after a certain time.
Hardening can also be a symptom of ectopic pregnancy (one that develops outside of the womb), although this is a very rare case, but not an impossible one.
The best way to clear your mind is to consult with your ob/GYN if you’re worried something might be wrong with the baby.
Pain in the body during pregnancy
The majority of first-time mothers are fearful of what is happening to their bodies.
Every change, every pain, and every discomfort is accompanied by the anxiety that something is wrong.
However, in most cases, none of these pregnancy symptoms hide any underlying issues.
The body is simply in pain and your belly tightens because it’s trying to find a way to accommodate the growing baby.
One of the symptoms most pregnant women have is back pain, which is completely natural because it now has to support your growing belly.
Your back is not the only part of the body that’s in pain during pregnancy; the hips and thighs might also suffer because they’re connected to the groin and uterus muscles and tissues.
Most pregnant ladies notice that their belly becomes harder as the due date gets closer, along with extreme pain in the whole body.
Practice contractions can also cause great pain in the whole body, but they generally can’t harden the pregnant belly as the real contractions feel like a very strong menstrual cramp, which becomes stronger as the baby starts coming out.
When you are tired, uncomfortable, or in pain, the best way to relieve it is to rest.
Essential oils can also be very beneficial; you can have your partner or a family member massage you to help you relax and relieve pain.
The little one is on its way!
A hard pregnant belly is one of the most common symptoms of going into labor.
Of course, it’s not the only one, but if you feel labor contractions regularly, it’s time to welcome your little one.
The belly might tighten and soften during the pregnancy because of the baby’s position (some babies move more to the front and push the stomach, and some “run away” to the back).
But, once the labor starts, every contraction moves the baby further down the birth canal.
During labor, your belly will be rock hard and it won’t soften until the baby’s finally out.
Pain is a completely natural part of pregnancy and labor, and a reminder of what your body is about to do – give birth to a little human.
Just relax and stay calm, soon it’ll all be over and you’ll finally have your precious little one in your arms!
One of the most common questions during pregnancy, especially among first-time mamas is: “Why is my pregnant belly sometimes hard and sometimes soft?”.
The answer to this question isn’t always as simple and harmless as it may seem at first, which is why it’s better to consult with an Ob/GYN.
Hardening and softening of the belly might be caused by the position of the baby, contractions, womb issues, uterus size, weight gain, and several other reasons that won’t harm your baby, but will make pregnancy more uncomfortable for you.
The most important thing to do is stay calm and avoid any stress, especially during the first pregnancy.
Mothers who have given birth more than once can usually recognize false alarms and natural processes that the body has to go through.
However, if you’re not sure whether everything’s fine, or you have a bad feeling following the changes in your pregnant belly, it’s better to speak to a healthcare professional.
The best way to relax is to take a rest regularly and enjoy a nice massage.
• American Pregnancy Association. (N/A). “Braxton Hicks Contractions”. American Pregnancy Association’s website.
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