Pregnancy Calendar Week 20 – Leg Cramps May Start Affecting You
Congratulations! You have made it halfway through your pregnancy. This must be an incredible journey of ups and down so far. You are now feeling more energetic than before and the baby is growing at an incredible rate. And this week there is a lot more excitement.
The week is a lot different than the previous ones. Besides the completion of the halfway journey, you would probably found the sex of your baby this week. This will put you altogether in a different mindset. You are now courageously dealing with the growing belly and all those symptoms affecting your body.
But all these uneasiness will end very soon and you will hold your beautiful baby in your arms. Rapid development is going on and the dream will soon turn into a reality.
Your body this week
Pregnant belly and bodyweight
Every now and then your body is throwing you a new challenge. Your appetite is back and a lot of troubling symptoms have become a thing of the past. This week your belly is much noticeable and your baby inside has become big enough to move around or kick your belly from inside. Those little pokes you are feeling are the movements of your baby.
Your uterus is getting bigger and in fact, starting this week it would in the same level as your belly button. It may even pop out but you can’t do anything to prevent it as it is temporary and harmless. However, the cause of concern is when belly button inverts as it may be a sign of hernia in which part of an organ stick out via an opening in a muscle.
As you have touched the halfway mark, you have gained about 6 kgs and each week till the delivery you would be adding around 400 grams to your overall bodyweight.
For many, the surge in weight might bring about the odds of leg cramps due to stress on leg muscles. Other factors responsible for leg cramps may be change in the blood circulation and volume, pressure on the blood vessels and the nerves. Besides these symptoms there would be other symptoms including:
- Vaginal discharge
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Mild swelling
- Shortness of breath
- Body aches
- Skin pigmentation
- Stretch marks
- Faster hair and nail growth
Complications at 20th week
This week some women might experience false labor technically known as Braxton-Hicks contractions. However, these contractions are generally mild and there is nothing to panic. This may occur when sitting in weird position or if you are walking too much. Drinking water and lying down might help in suppressing stronger contractions.
However, if you are experiencing these contractions frequently, you must inform this to your gynecologist. This might be a sign of premature labor, which is a serious complication at this point of time.
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Your baby this week
Entering the 20th week, your baby has significantly matured and taking more and more room in your uterus. A white creamy substance known as vernix caseosa is now protecting the baby’s skin from the surrounding environment. Following changes are happening this week.
Teeth, hair and nail growth
The milk teeth are already there while permanent ones are starting to form as well. Besides, the hair and nails of the baby are steadily growing. Soft hair called lanugo is preparing to cover baby’s body.
Arms and legs
The growth spurt of the baby i.e. the arms and legs have been lengthened enough to make the baby look more and more like a human. The body is becoming proportionate to the large head.
Meconium starts accumulating
The taste buds of the baby have been developing and as a result the baby is practicing sucking and swallowing more than ever. But swallowing is related to another function i.e. it leads to the production of meconium in the digestive tract. This is a sticky, dark-colored substance often called as the first stool of the baby. It comprises of dead skin cells, swallowed amniotic fluid, hair of baby’s skin, etc.
Size, weight and appearance
From crown to rump, the baby has grown to about 7 inches long or about the size of the banana. There is still a lot of growth pending but currently the baby weighs about 283 grams.
One of the biggest myths about pregnancy is that woman has to eat for two. This is one of the reasons of obesity after childbirth. You need to eat healthy and a daily intake of 300 calories is enough to put your baby on a normal growth trajectory. Eating the right quantity of food full of nutrition is all you need at this point of time. Keep below tips in mind this week.
- Iron is one of the prime requirements as besides baby, the uterus and the placenta are also growing. Red and white meats are the best sources of iron.
- Calcium is another crucial mineral needed for healthy bone development. In fact, calcium performs many important functions beside bone development. Dairy foods are the best while spinach, leafy greens and beans are also rich in calcium
- If it is necessary, talk to your doctor for prescribed multivitamin and mineral supplements.
- Fruits will help you contain blood pressure, so don’t avoid them
She has now completed the half of her pregnancy journey. This also means she needs to be in a more comfortable zone from now onwards. Especially, when insomnia, a common symptom during pregnancy strikes her, you should be there to give her company.
Buy her a soft body pillow, make her relax with a back rub and bring for her a warm cup of milk. All this would definitely make her feel cozy.
Most pregnant women with be undergoing their fourth prenatal visit this week. As usual, the doctor will be taking urine sample as well measuring blood pressure and weight. The week 20 is also a crucial week for the ultrasound. Also known structural ultrasound and anatomy screen, in this procedure the technician will spurt a thin layer of cold jelly on your abdomen and use a device known as transducer to analyze the baby inside.
While you will also come to know the sex of your baby, this is not the only reason for this ultrasound. Rather, the doctor is more concerned about the external and internal organs of the baby. This scan usually takes about 20-30 minutes of time and you would be asked to arrive with a full bladder.
Don’t forget to bring your partner for a special support person.
Tips for the week
Week by week it becomes imperative on your part to take care of yourself. This week is no exception, so keep below things in mind.
- This is the right time to start attending breastfeeding classes, do a quick search on the internet
- Avoid high heels as your feet are already swollen
- Do not lift heavyweights
- Avoid sitting without supporting your back
FAQs at 20th week of pregnancy
What is the solution for leg cramps?
Pressure on nerves, weight gain, circulation issues and even dehydration are some of the reasons behind leg cramps. Drink plenty of water and do stretches regularly.
How to lessen pelvic pain?
The best way is to tilt the pelvis back and forth. However, if pain is intense, holding the pelvis forward for a few second might help. Repeat the same process several times during the day.
1. American Pregnancy Association. Uterus Size During Pregnancy. read more
2. The Nemours Foundation. Kidshealth.org. Pregnancy Calendar, Week 20 read more
3. National Women's Health Resource Center. Healthywomen.org. Pregnancy & Parenting Second Trimester of Pregnancy: 20 Weeks read more