Are you experiencing cramps at 21 weeks pregnant? It might be alarming but the chances are that it’s totally normal. Read more to find out more about what is causing the cramps, and what steps you can take to ease them.
At 21 weeks pregnant, your baby is as long as a large carrot and will weigh roughly 11 ounces. By this stage, he will have fully developed eyelids and fingernails, and his digestive system is starting to work on its own as your baby is swallowing the amniotic fluid.
You have probably got a little bump by this stage, big enough for others to notice that you are pregnant if you aren’t wearing very loose clothes and you may have started feeling some kicks or movement coming from your little one. You’re also past the half way mark now, and you may even have a bit more energy than you have had for a while. This is probably the most comfortable stage of pregnancy there is, as you’re not too big yet, you’re past the sickness stage and you’ve most likely had your 20-week scan and feel more comfortable planning for your baby’s arrival now.
However, as with most things pregnancy related, it isn’t all roses and sunflowers. While you may feel physically more content at this stage, there are many changes happening within your body that can cause other issues. At this point you might begin to feel some of the more unwelcome side effects of pregnancy, including;
- Varicose veins
- Painful breasts
- Stretch marks
- Skin break out and acne prone skin
- Back pain
- Vaginal discharge
- Stomach aches
While these issues may be unpleasant or uncomfortable, they are generally not something to worry about. However, one such issue that I know can be startling for any expectant mother, is cramps. At 21 weeks pregnant you’d imagine that you won’t be feeling any cramps until your cervix is starting to dilate and contractions begin, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Many women have reported feeling menstrual like cramps at this stage, so what’s causing it? Should you be concerned? Is there anything you can do to ease the cramps?
21 weeks pregnant belly pain
You may feel a sharp pain in your belly when you are 21 weeks pregnant. Your uterus is getting consistently larger, and the muscles and tendons supporting it are extending and relaxing to allow for the growth. That extending can bring on menstrual like cramps, particularly when you change positions. While these cramps may be jarring at times, they are usually not a cause for concern and might even continue throughout the pregnancy as your uterus continues to stretch. Other reasons that you may be feeling stomach cramps at this stage are;
- Trapped wind
- Placental abruption
- Premature labor
If your cramps are excruciatingly painful and/or accompanied by vaginal bleeding, you need to seek urgent medical help. However, thankfully in most cases the cramps are just a niggling pain that go away on their own eventually.
21 weeks pregnant cramping and back pain
As your baby grows bigger, so too does your belly. Your baby is getting larger and heavier, and your body is having to adapt to this sudden increase in weight. This means that along with the menstrual like cramping, you might also be getting some lower back pain. This is completely normal and happens to a lot of women in their second and third trimesters. Your lower back is under greater stress than normal due to your expanding waist line and weight. But unless the back pain is causing you great discomfort and affecting your mobility, there is usually no need for concern. If you do feel that your back pain is getting too painful, it is wise to seek medical help as dull aches in the lower back can be indicative of labor.
21 weeks pregnant cramping and discharge
While generally not the most pleasant of side effects, it’s perfectly normal for some women to have thick, white discharge during pregnancy. All women have discharge as it’s the vagina’s way of cleaning itself, however, due to increased blood flow in that area, women tend to see a larger amount of discharge during pregnancy.
If the discharge is foul-smelling, has blood in it or you feel itchy or sore, you should speak to your doctor as you might have a UTI or other vaginal infection.
You can take these measures to reduce the cramping and pains in the 21 weeks of your pregnancy.
- Take a nice warm, relaxing bath or shower.
- Apply heating pads to your lower abdomen or lower back.
- Get a back rub.
- Watch your posture when you are standing, don’t slouch and take regular breaks to have a seat.
- Join a yoga class to gently extend and reinforce your back muscles.
- Sleep on your side, not your back. Putting a pillow between your knees helps.