It’s your first pregnancy and you are not sure what to expect. There are so many changes going on in your body right now, after all. Your body is changing, your hormones are making your emotions jump all over the place, you have odd food cravings, and now you are cramping. Is it normal to be cramping when you are 20 weeks pregnant? In this artice we’ll discuss those abdominal pains so that you know what is normal and what to watch for so that you are better prepared to face it. If you are ready, let’s begin!
Is cramping at 20 weeks normal?
It is quite common, actually. Cramping during pregnancy in general is to be expected. While your initial thoughts are going to jump to panic and worry about miscarriage, mild pain is normal in the beginning when your womb is expanding. That said, if you are worrying it is still always a good idea to consult your physician. All it costs is time and it is always best to be on the safe side.
Are there any definite warning signs I should watch for?
While some pain is to be expected, that does not mean that all pain should be ignored. There are some scenarios that you should watch for, such as:
- Sharp pain on the lower left or right side during pregnancy – If accompanied with other symptoms such as brown or pink discharge, dizziness, bleeding, or discomfort in the bathroom then these could be signs of ectopic pregnancy. Consult your physician immediately.
- Regular cramps or contractions before 37 weeks – If accompanied with backaches, a slow and steady discharge, and/or stomach pressure then this could be a sign of premature labor.
- Upper stomach pain during pregnancy– If you are experiencing upper stomach pain, problems with your vision, nausea, persistent headaches, or sudden swelling in your hands, feet, or even your face, then these could be signs of preeclampsia.
- Sharp pain in your that won’t go away – If you experience a sharp pain in your stomach while you are pregnant that won’t go away then this could be an indication of placental abruption. Symptoms may also include back pain and tenderness in the stomach.
- Pain during urination – If you are experiencing painful urination, often accompanied by nausea, back pain, or a raised temperature, then it may be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
What if I am feeling contractions at only 16 weeks?
Those are known as Braxton Hicks contractions. They are normal and can indeed occur as early as 16 weeks. These are just a result of your womb tightening and as long as they are infrequent, rather than steady and continuous then you should be fine.
General rules about when to call your doctor
If you are pregnant and experiencing a sharp pain in your stomach or cramping, whether it is 20 weeks, 21, or any other time period during your pregnancy, you should watch for the following symptoms as a sure-fire indicator that you should get to the doctor:
- An excess of 4 contractions in an hour – If this is occuring less than 37 weeks into the pregnancy then it could be a sign of premature labor, you will definitely want to check with your physician!
” This is another warning sign that warrants immediate attention.”
- Fever – Fever is never a good thing for you or for your baby, this is definitely a symptom worth visiting your doctor over.
- Vision problems – If you are experiencing blurred vision or sensitivity to light then this is another warning sign that warrants immediate attention.
- Painful urination – This could be a sign of urinary tract infection or worse, so if you experience this then it’s time to bring your doctor into the loop.
Other kinds of cramping
Some cramping that you should expect is much less worrisome. Cramping after an orgasm for instance, is not abnormal (but can be a psychological manifestation of worry for the baby). Other causes can be gas (as a by-product of the progesterone production your body is currently facilitating), or even pain from the increased blood flow to your uterus. The last can often be mitigated with the adding of frequent warm baths to your daily schedule (which we recommend adding anyways, because who doesn’t like a relaxing, warm bath?).
Abdominal pain during the second and third trimesters
If you are experiencing severe pain during the second or third trimester then this is when it is more likely to be serious and should receive immediate medical scrutiny. Sharp and prolonged pains during this time can be indicative of serious conditions, such as Preeclampsia (a condition which can affect the flow of sustenance and even oxygen to your child) or placental abruption (when the placenta separates from the uterus). When in doubt, go with your instincts. When it comes to your baby then caution is always going to be the best advice. Don’t worry that the doctor will think that you are wasting their time. Your doctor will be more than happy to see you, advise you, and to make sure that everything is as perfect as possible in regards to the health of your baby. Count on it.
In this article we have discussed the causes and potential issues that can occur with abdominal pain. We have said it before but we cannot stress it enough, never hesitate to contact your physician if you are worried. Your physician’s primary concern is going to be the health and well-being of you and your child, so if you have questions or concerns then by all means, get them addressed. While some pain is to be expected, until you know what is causing your specific pains well enough to recognize what is safe and what might not be then keep your physician in the loop. Keep asking questions, trust your instincts, and everything is going to be just fine!