20 Weeks: Calm Before The Storm

April 16, 2012

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I have a feeling that 20 weeks marks a calm before the storm. The storm of a big belly, less comfortable sleep, a looming deadline and then life with a baby! I’m really looking forward to all of these, but I’m also really trying to savor up these last few days (weeks?) with a relatively flat stomach, high energy levels and quiet time with my husband.

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The highlight this week is an increasing amount of movements. They’re getting more frequent and stronger. Yesterday and today I actually noticed a kick from the outside, which was so exciting!! I spent about 20 minutes just staring at my stomach waiting to see if it would happen again. There wasn’t another quite as strong, but I definitely saw some shifts and kicks popping out.

My bump is also getting harder and poking out more. It’s been a really interesting shift. Some days I feel like my stomach is flatter, but harder. Other days it hangs out far and low. I’ve noticed that it’s getting harder to bend in half. I can still touch my toes and things, but it’s hard to breathe when I bend over – just a subtle realization.

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Another new thing this week: I have a linea nigra!! At first I thought it was just a mark from a seam of my clothes because I noticed it when I first woke up in the morning and was changing. But it hasn’t gone away and I figured out that it’s actually part of my skin! It’s very light and not black – more like a faint tan, but definitely noticeable. I’m surprised it showed up this early!

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I’ve been having some trouble with back pain since about 15 weeks. My lower back, the SI joint. I’ve been to see Dr. Tate (the chiropractor) twice (luckily my insurance covers something like 30 visits a year with just a co-pay) and he confirmed that it’s the SI joint and did a few adjustments on me. They really helped a lot. That coupled with a few prenatal massages make it better for about 10 days before I start to feel it again. I think it’s from standing too much like a ballerina with my back arched (from lax abs?) lately. Car trips make it worse (trying to sit so my hips are higher than my knees). IKEA furniture assembly made it much worse! But I went to see Tate on Friday and it’s been much, much better since.

I’ve also had a good amount of round ligament pain this week. At least that’s what I’m assuming the soreness and spasms in the muscles (ligaments?) on my lower abdomen are. One morning I made one cramp by stretching wrong. I’ve been doing strange lower body stretches for months. It’s weird – like I have restless leg syndrome when I get in bed at night and then in the morning I have to stretch my whole lower body or I feel too stiff. I fear that leg cramps are in my future, but I’ve lucky been able to avoid them thus far, which surprises me with the amount of cramp-promoting stretching I’ve been doing. The ligament pain feels better when I massage it, and it’s better since my appointment on Friday even though Tate didn’t adjust anything in the front.

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For the most part I’m still not even close to filling out some of my maternity shirts. And now that it’s warm, I probably need a few more pairs of shorts too (I have a 30% off coupon for Old Navy I’m hoping to use next week!) I also really need new workout clothes. Because they stretch, my normal ones still fit, but they are just getting tighter and tighter and I could just use a bit more room!

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It’s funny that the bigger my bump gets, the more I feel like my old self. I have very few food aversions these days, and I’m eating pretty normally. My appetite is increased and a bit unpredictable, but my energy is good, eating is good, things are good! Just enjoying it for now : )

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stacia April 16, 2012 at 9:01 am

My SI joint goes out on a regular basis. If I lay on the floor, one leg straight out, the other bent with foot on the floor, and do 30 or so leg lifts each leg per day it gets better. I learned it in physical therapy. A more permanent fix than being adjusted though probably harder to stay in place with the loose ligaments. Hope it helps!

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2 KERF April 16, 2012 at 9:08 am

Thanks for the tip!

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3 Bre April 16, 2012 at 10:52 am

Glad to see some advice on at-home SI joint care… mine’s been bothering me for about three years, and I was clueless as to what it was until about 2 months ago! No $$ for adjustments, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to lay on the floor and do some leg lifts as soon as I’m done typing this!

Kath – I’m a big KERF fan, and am really enjoying this blog, as well. I know it will be a great resource for many women, and I know I’ll keep it in mind when I am preparing for a baby of my own! Thank you!

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4 Lauren April 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm

If your SI is bugging you, it’s worth getting checked out! Yes, it’s money- but it will never stop bugging you without the right treatment- several things can be going on there. There are classic SI “signs” and tests that don’t involve MRI or any other expensive tests!

Don’t forget about physical therapy as an option. They can do mobilizations (similar to a chiropractor, but usually not exactly the same) and then give you a strengthening plan to prevent future injuries.

Even one visit to a PT can set you in the right direction. In some states you can go without a visit to the doctor first and it may be under insurance more so than a chiropractor!

Which reminds me, Kath, talk to Tate about exercises for your particular issues- it will really help in the long run! :)

Disclaimer: I am in PT school, so I obviously really believe in their methods!

Lauren

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5 Allison k April 16, 2012 at 9:22 am

My storm arrived at week 36. I was pretty lucky up until then. I have a very bad back from a car accident I was in about 9 years ago. I have been surprised that I haven’t had more back pain with pregnancy. I am 37w5d and just now feel it, and only when I first get out of bed. I should sAy every time I get out of bed….4 to 6 times a night. Haha.

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6 Sarah @ Williamsburg Baby April 16, 2012 at 9:52 am

So far at nearly 24 weeks I still feel much the way I did at 20 — calm before the stormish. I can’t quite picture how I’ll feel at 36 weeks or so, it seems so abstract.

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7 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles April 16, 2012 at 9:53 am

I got to SEE my baby move on the outside yesterday for the first time (21 weeks 5 days). I took a bath and the baby went crazy with movement and punches/kicks. I think it was the combo of water pushing things up as I was laying back and such; but I got to watch it move for at least 20 minutes! It was AMAZING! —-So, I suggest making time to take a bath! :)
Week 20 & 21 brought me a lot of growth, I need to buy more clothes for sure!!!

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8 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries April 16, 2012 at 10:08 am

looking great kath!! :) can’t believe you’re already 20 weeks!

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9 Angel7 April 16, 2012 at 10:13 am

Boy, Kath… It seems like time is flying by for the both of us pregnant women :) It seems like just yesterday that you told the blog world that you are pregnant :)

I desperately need to go to a chiropractor. My sciatica is bothering me, and catches me off-guard with pain that stops me in my tracks.

http://faithfulsolutions.blogspot.com/

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10 Leatitia @ The Sweetest Year April 16, 2012 at 10:15 am

From 20 to I’d say 32 weeks, it was my favorite part of pregnancy. No more morning sickness, no food aversions, energy, feeling the baby moves. It was amazing! :)

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11 Rachelle April 16, 2012 at 10:23 am

Sorry you’ve got the SI joint stuff too :-( I get it a bit w/o PG (when I am not working out enough). It has been exceedingly painful for me this PG and I’ve been collecting a arsenal of info on it. Basically my physical therapist said to strengthen every muscle I can to help stabilize the joint (kegels especially are supposed to help). However, the further along I get the more it actually hurts to exercise the area & I am actually unable to walk w/o significant pain if I let my muscles cool down.
The best thing for me is making sure I sit up very straight (no slouching), icing the area a LOT to reduce inflammation, and seeing the Chrio a lot (I haven’t done prenatal massage, I should totally do that!). Bending (like dishwasher loading), & heavy lifting (like my 28pound 3 year old) must be limited. Yoga & stretching seem to help a bit.
It is very frustrating. I do hope yours doesn’t get too bad!!!

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12 Kellie April 16, 2012 at 10:42 am

Enjoy this time. This was my favorite part of pregnancy. I remember thinking I would never even fill out small maternity shirts but by the end of my pregnancies I was so big the larges were tight. It is so fun to watch your body change and grow. Enjoy this time.

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13 Heidi Bundles Of Hugs April 16, 2012 at 10:52 am

It’s great to hear you’re feeling good! I loved this time during my pregnancy. You are changing every week soon you’ll be nice and round. Love seeing all the pics its so much fun!

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14 Averie @ Averie Cooks April 16, 2012 at 11:05 am

Glad you’re enjoying the 2nd tri and that for the most part, you feel like your old self. Enjoy it!

You look great and so happy in these pics, Kath :)

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15 Kelly@Runmarun April 16, 2012 at 11:19 am

It’s so cool how much perspective you have on this whole process- to be able to enjoy this time with your husband is such a good idea. I hope that your back doesn’t give you too much trouble and if it’s any comfort, you will be amazed at how quickly all of this goes away once your baby is in your arms! :)

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16 Heather April 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Hey! I am commenting because I wanted to tell you how annoying the autoplay ads on your site are. I like reading about your pregnancy and your life, and visit your blog almost daily, but I find it so frustrating that they begin playing and I have no idea from where. This particular post has a double ad from the same company, and I could’t understand where the noise was coming from after I had muted the first one. I understand you need sponsors, but would it possible to not have the video ones? I’m sure many readers agree. Thanks!

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17 KERF April 16, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Hey Heather,

None of my ads should play sound and this is a problem the network is having. We are trying to fix it and apologize for the annoyance.

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18 Brie April 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm

My back is a mess. I wish my insurance covered a chiropractor, boo! I did get a prenatal massage Saturday and it seems to have helped, though.

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19 JessicaE April 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm

I have had lower back and hip pain too… hip stretches and lower back stretches feel beyond amazing!

If you are anything like me you will start popping out pretty soon… I didn’t show for a long time but now at 26 weeks, its pretty obvious :) Bending over IS tough and even just rolling over is getting… awkward haha.

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20 Caitlin April 16, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Hi Kath!

Without getting into too much detail, the SI joint tends to be stressed by hip flexion (bending at the hips), hip adduction (bringing your legs apart from each other), and hip extension (returning to a normal standing position, or putting your leg behind you). The muscles involved in these actions are the iliacus, gluteus medius, and gluteus maximus.

Doing exercises that will lightly work these muscles (squats for hip flexion/extension, side stepping for hip abduction [even further, step into a resistance band and pull it up to low/mid thigh and do side steps]) could help to strengthen the area around the SI joint and relieve some of the stress on the ligaments/joint.

Have a great massage and adjustment!

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21 KERF April 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Thanks!

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22 Mal April 16, 2012 at 8:03 pm

I’m about 34 weeks now and am just starting to feel huge and uncomfortable so hopefully you have a few months until the “storm” hits. I actually felt the best from about 27 weeks to 32 weeks, which I did not expect at all. I had a lot of SI pain during the second tri, but it pretty much went away once I started focusing on my posture (keeping my pelvis tilted under and not sticking my butt and belly out). My chiropractor lent me a book called Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year, which helped me a lot. The copy he gave me is from 1980 though so I felt kind of ridiculous reading it. I wasn’t sure if it would have any useful information in it since it is 32 years old, but it did! The only time I have an issue with my SI now is if I sweep or mop. So I don’t really ever sweep or mop anymore haha. My worst complaint now is middle back pain just on the left side that will not go away even after see the chiropractor and getting massages, so I think it’s just something I will have to live with for the next six-ish weeks…

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23 Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) April 16, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Seeing the kicks from the outside is so amazing, isn’t it? It was my favorite part of pregnancy. I’m glad to hear you’re feeling good and cruising along! :)

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24 Jessica April 16, 2012 at 10:27 pm

I hope for your sake you don’t get leg cramps. I had them with my older 2 daughters from about 20 weeks until I delivered. I would wake up with them and would bawl, they hurt so bad.

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25 Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) April 17, 2012 at 6:37 am

Enjoy the 20 week mark! I am 37 weeks 4 days and while there are some good symptoms (baby dropped so I can breathe easier and eat a larger meal without feeling stuffed) my sleep is restless and the amount of pelvic pressure I feel is insane. So exciting though (not complaining at all!). You look beautiful!

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26 robin April 17, 2012 at 6:51 am

Its funny how we forget things.
You mentioning the linea nigra made me remember when I saw that happening to my body and how long it lasted after baby. I also remember the lower back pain and the exercises my Doctor gave me to do.

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27 Kat April 19, 2012 at 10:53 am

I went to a chiropractor almost the whole time that I was pregnant and it is an experience that I highly recommend. I had horrible headaches and back aches in the beginning and when nothing seemed to work, I went to a chiro which fixed it almost IMMEDIATELY! I continued going to get adjustments twice a week for the rest of the pregnancy and when, near the 24 week mark, I learned that P was still sitting breach, we began adjustments to turn her as well – which she did! I’m a big believer and plan to do it again with the next pregnancy.

Those outside kicks are SO EXCITING, aren’t they? I used to just sit there and hold/watch my belly for hours in the evening, savoring every moment of it. Sometimes even now (P is 15 months old this weekend), I still feel the phantom kicks and touch my stomach.

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28 Amelia April 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I had a lot of SI and ligament pain until I started prenatal pilates 2x/week. For some reason that fixed me – maybe it would help you too?

By the way my linea negra showed up at 10 weeks and JUST went away, after Lucy’s 1st birthday! My mom is a lactation consultant and said it’s part of what helps the baby find your nipples to begin breastfeeding (in the wild). I’ve seen some books where moms place their newborn on their belly right after birth and the baby literally inches up til he finds the nipple and begins to feed – you can see videos of this on youtube, it’s pretty fascinating. That’s also why your nipples get darker and more textured (thank goodness there’s an explanation for that one). Bodies are so amazing!

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29 KERF April 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm

That is cool! I’ve never heard of the line being used for that, but it makes sense!

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30 Hannah April 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm

I would highly recommend seeing a physical therapist!! They can not just “adjust” you like the chiropractor does, but teach you safe ways to do so yourself, as well as teach you stretches and exercises to keep you in place. The goal would be to keep your SI joint in place (with strategies for managing it if it doesn’t), rather than just fixing it when it’s out of place. There are physical therapists who specialize in women’s health and pregnancy, so they’ll be well equip to help you in this phase your pregnancy as well as if any other issue arise down the line. I’m a physical therapist (although I work in a totally different setting!), and would love to help you find a women’s health specialist in your area. Feel free to email me.
I hope this helps!!

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31 KERF April 30, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Thanks for the rec Hannah

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32 Ashley September 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Hi Kath!

I’ve been meaning to say congratulations to you and Matt. Mazen is precious and you all look like you are adjusting to family life just beautifully!

I searched this post because I am having trouble with my SI joint as well (for about the last 6 weeks. I’m 22 weeks now). Today it hurts so badly I want to cry – and I will probably break down and take a Tylenol this afternoon!

I have been going to a physical therapist for the last two weeks and she has been using massage, heat, and strengthening and stretching exercises. I am not entirely sure it is helping because it has gotten worse (although that could have happened anyway, as I get further along). I am considering a chiropractor and am going to ask my midwife this week what she thinks.

It stinks, because I am so excited to be pregnant and want to enjoy every minute… And this has been my first complaint. No morning sickness, etc. I know, I have been so lucky!!

I am curious as to whether your back pain has gone away now that Mazen is here… I cannot imagine having to carry anything around all the time with the way I’m hurting right now, so I hope when my hormone levels start to even out and my ligaments tighten up, this will not continue to be a problem. It is really beginning to interfere with my ability to do housework, and all the stooping and bending I do at work is not helping at all (I teach kindergarten)!

Again, congratulations on your beautiful baby boy – I can’t wait to meet my own! I’m off to take a warm bath!

-Ashley

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33 KERF September 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Hey Ashley,

I would definitely recommend a chiro. – mine did help. But the good news is around 30 weeks my back got SO MUCH better. In fact, my SI joint pain was pretty much gone in the third trimester. Hopefully yours will be too! Unfortunately it was replaced by bad rib pain, but that went away about 36 weeks. And now I feel all normal from head to toe!

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