20 Weeks Pregnant: What to Expect

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You’ve made it halfway through your pregnancy. This week you will finally notice that your little one is big enough to move or push. However, there is enough space in the uterus to spare for your baby to dance around, allowing you to feel the movements. Here is a list of suggestions and answers to any questions you might be having about your 20th week.

Your Baby’s Growth during Pregnancy – Week 20

At this point, you will be around 4 kg heavier, with an extra kilogram or so added every two weeks. If your foetus is a girl, her uterus has fully formed by now with millions of eggs already in production. If it is a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend out of his abdomen, with the process finishing in a couple of weeks. Your baby has begun to swallow more, allowing the digestive system get some much-needed experience. This is the time when babies begin to produce stool, a black gooey substance known as meconium, which will collect in their bowels. The milk teeth are present at this point, and the permanent teeth are beginning to form as well. As the baby is perennially suspended in amniotic fluid, it tends to be covered with an oily substance called vernix, which protects its skin from cracking.

What is the Baby’s Size

At 20 weeks pregnant the baby’s size is around 16-17 centimeters from top to bottom, weighing approximately 300 grams. Until this point, foetuses are measured from crown to rump, as their legs are tightly wound against their upper bodies. However, at the 20th week, it becomes easier to find out its size from head to toe.

Common Body Changes

At the 20th week, you will notice a few more body changes during pregnancy than usual:

  • Oedema: Your feet will now begin to swell due to water retention.
  • Snoring: The increase in oestrogen causes the inner membrane of the nose to swell up, leading to snoring.
  • Noticeable pregnancy bump: At the 20th week, people are going to start noticing that you are pregnant.
  • Faster hair and nail growth: The hormones coursing through your veins also promote the growth of hair and nails.
  • Vaginal secretions: Your vagina will start producing larger and larger amounts of discharge as a means to keep the groin area protected against harmful bacteria.

Symptoms of Pregnancy at Week 20

Reaching this point in pregnancy is a wonderful accomplishment, except for the challenging problems that may accompany it. In addition to the changes happening in your body, there are a few more symptoms you will experience:

  • Extreme energy: The hormones in your body will give you a jump in your energy levels as well as your sex drive.
  • Difficulty breathing: As the foetus grows, the uterus exerts pressure on the lungs, forcing you to expend more effort to take breaths.
  • Limbs start cramping: Your legs and arms find it more difficult to stay limber and flexible.
  • Indigestion and heartburn: These problems occur as the foetus pushes around the digestive system making it difficult to have a good night’s sleep.

While mild to moderate headaches are consistent with hormone fluctuations during pregnancy, if you find yourself having severe headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, vision problems or swelling of the extremities it is advisable to call your doctor as soon as possible, as this might indicate preeclampsia or high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Belly at 20 Weeks of Pregnancy

At the 20th week mark, your uterus is parallel to your navel and is around 18-24 cm in diameter. It will continue to push outwards by about 1-2 cm every week. As this causes stress on the joints and ligaments, the doctor might prescribe you a hormone called relaxin which alleviates this stress. If you experience pains in the pelvic or pubic region, notify your doctor as it could be symptomatic of larger problems.

20 Weeks Ultrasound

This is the right time to have your mid-pregnancy ultrasound scan. The level of detail you will see in this scan is unbelievable, which include the heart, brain, lungs, and kidneys. You will also be able to see fingers, toes, nails, hair, ears, eyes, and nose. This is also when the sex of the baby can be determined, although it has to be noted that the procedure is illegal in India. The ultrasound this week will also be able to locate the position of the placenta in order to check if it is blocking the cervix. If it is, there is no reason to worry as uterine growth generally tends to pull the placenta back toward itself.

What to Eat?

There a few things you might want to make note of regarding the

With your uterus, placenta, and foetus rapidly growing in size, iron is one of the prime requirements of your body. Iron is essential in making blood, so consuming enough of it is very important. The best sources are red and white meats, but for vegetarians options such as beans peas, soybeans, and spinach will suffice.

    • As your baby’s bones are getting stronger and thicker, make sure you consume enough calcium as well. Dairy foods like milk, cheese, yogurt and veggies like leafy greens, spinach and beans are rich in calcium.

If necessary, you can ask your doctor to prescribe a vitamin or mineral tablet to supplement your nutrition. To stave off indigestion and heartburn, try eating smaller meals multiple times a day rather than a few large ones.

Tips & Care

There are a few things to do, and a few to avoid during your 20th week of pregnancy:

Dos

  • Regularly tilt your pelvis back and forth to alleviate any pain. If the pain is extreme, try holding your pelvis forward for a few seconds and repeat the process several times a day.
  • Make sure your already swollen feet don’t have to suffer by wearing flat-soled comfortable shoes. Avoid high heels or any shoes that are too tight.
  • Regularly visit a physiotherapist. They suggest exercises as well as help you manage severe back, rib or pelvic pain that comes with pregnancy.

Don’ts

  • Under no circumstances must you lift heavy weights, but if you must do so lift while bending your knees.
  • Don’t stand on one leg more than the other. Use your abdominal muscles to support your back and stand up straight.
  • Try not to sit down without supporting your back with a cushion or pad.

What You Need to Shop

At this point, it is time for you to shop for baby carriers which you can carry your little one in. It is also a good idea to start looking for some stylish maternity dresses for your changing body. Sign up for antenatal classes to help learn how to care for your child right now, as the good ones tend to have a long waiting list.

With the right precautions and preparations, pregnancy can be more about enjoying the impending birth of the baby and less about the pains that come with it.

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