Motherhood & Parenting
Congratulations on officially having made it through half the journey so bravely! You used to feel like time was taking forever to pass and yet, now it feels like you blinked and somehow found yourself here. Where did all those early weeks go? Does it feel like you are a different person than who you were when you first started? Well, that just goes to show how much you have grown.
As you step into being 20 weeks pregnant, you may find yourself gently caressing your belly and marveling at the progress, because even your tiny one has grown so big, haven’t they? There are no longer staying quiet like those initial lonely weeks when it all felt like a dream. Now they’re moving around, kicking, sucking, punching, and even hearing your voice!
So yes, every time you’ve vulnerably expressed your love and nervousness for what is about to come, your tiny confidante has held onto these secrets safely. They may not know what the words mean, but then gentle affection stored inside each syllable is something no school needs to teach. As with every prenatal appointment and ultrasound you have been getting to know your baby, your baby has been getting to know you, too.
The good news is that if it feels like time has gone by swiftly so far, then the next few months until your baby’s arrival should go just as fast, too. You’ll be holding them in your arms before you even know it.
The size of the baby at 20 weeks is around 6.5 inches, weighing approximately 10.2 ounces. This means that the baby is around the size of a banana. Remember when those fruit sizes seemed so tiny? Now you may be marveling at how big your baby has grown.
The baby is completely covered in a substance called vernix caseosa, which is a protective layer that keeps your baby’s skin soft as well as protects it from any infections, The baby may also experience hiccups due to an immature diaphragm, making you feel the sensation of their movement. This is a normal symptom and not anything to worry about. Slowly, your baby is becoming a proper part of the world, by showing signs of their existence more and more with each week.
The size of the baby at 20 weeks is big enough to make your bump more obvious. Your 20 week baby bump may be nicely showing under your new maternity dresses. Along with just becoming more visible, starting from your current 20 week baby bump, your belly will be measured by your doctor each prenatal visit.
The doctor will measure the fundal height, which is the distance from the pubic bone to the top of your uterus. When measured in centimeters, your fundal height should match the week of pregnancy, plus or minus 2 centimeters. This means that the 20 week baby bump of your belly should measure between 18 to 22 centimeters. With each week after this, it should grow by around one centimeter. If there is any lack of growth or overgrowth, this may be an indicator of certain problems such as gestational diabetes.
For those pregnant with twins or more, fundal height cannot be measured as an average is hard to fix. Thus, close attention will be paid to your weight gain instead, to make sure it is proper and gradual.
Thus, from now on, you need to take extra care of your body.
With the continuation of certain older symptoms, your 20 weeks pregnant symptoms will need to be given proper attention, so you can do what is needed to ease the discomfort. As your belly comes to life with the sensation of your baby kicking, you might just be willing to put up with whatever secondary pain that the symptoms with it bring. You may choose to focus on the positives. But remember that you need to keep an eye on your bodily changes too, so you can report any concerns to your OB immediately.
Here are the 20 weeks pregnant symptoms that you may experience:
1. Vaginal discharge
Due to heightened hormone levels, vaginal discharge can increase up to the weeks leading to delivery. This is perfectly normal, but keep an eye on the color and inform your OB if the discharge is yellow, green, or even foul-smelling.
2. Leg cramps
Painful spasms in your leg can occur due to a variety of reasons such as dehydration, certain deficiencies such as that of magnesium, etc. Light stretching along with drinking plenty of water can help with this.
3. Swelling of limbs
Edema, which is the swelling of feet and/or hands due to the accumulation of body fluids in tissues can be annoying and uncomfortable. However, this will go away after pregnancy. In case the swelling is severe, inform your doctor about the same.
4. Heartburn and Ingestion
The large amounts of hormones can cause the relaxation of muscles in the gastrointestinal tract, which can cause harsh digestive juices to move from the stomach to the oesophagus, causing heartburn. As your baby grows and begins to crowd your digestive system, this can get worse. So, watch what you are eating, and keep the spicy and acidic foods limited.
5. High energy
You may experience a surge of energy this week, so take advantage of this, because the third and final trimester can bring with more fatigue once again.
6. Shortness of breath
Your growing uterus can push against your lungs, causing shortness of breath, especially if you are 20 weeks pregnant with twins or more. Don’t strain yourself, and sit down and breathe properly, if you feel like you are short of breath.
7. Food cravings
Food cravings can peak in the second trimester, which may make you want specific combinations of food, no matter how odd. If you are craving food that is high in sugar and fats, remember to eat in moderation, because you should not gain more weight than recommended by your OB.
Your 20 weeks pregnant ultrasound could be your mid-pregnancy ultrasound as it is conducted between weeks 18 and 22. If that is the case, then the 20 weeks pregnant ultrasound will be a rather detailed one, with you glimpsing parts of the baby such as chambers of their heart, kidneys, and brain hemispheres. The OB and technician will observe the baby’s body in detail to make sure that the development is on track without any hindrances.
For those pregnant with twins, the size of the babies’ heads will be checked to make sure that both are equal.
If you have chosen to find out your baby’s biological sex, you will find out at this point, which can be a magical feeling in itself. Now the picture of your baby in your head is growing clearer and clearer, soon to be a reality held in your caring embrace.
At this halfway point, reflect on your self-care checklist to make sure you are following each point the best you can and make a note of a few new reminders.
Eat healthy food
The purpose of maintaining a good diet is not just for the sake of nutrition of you and your child. You also have to be at the recommended weight for the week. If you started at a normal BMI, you will probably be recommended to gain around one to two pounds per week. If you had a lower or higher BMI, your OB will make the weight gain plan accordingly and you should be sure to follow it. Make sure to get low-strain exercises such as walking, as well. Continue with your prenatal vitamins as well.
Eating foods that help in relieving heartburn, such as almonds, can help as well.
Research on childbirth classes
If you haven’t done it already, research the childbirth classes near you and choose the one which uses the method you find the most comfortable. Classes on various aspects of childcare such as breastfeeding, baby safety, CPR, labor techniques, natural childbirth, etc, are available as well.
Your hospital might conduct tours of the labor and delivery floors as well, and you can attend these to ask about the various facilities provided, and what the process would be.
Decide about baby shower
Baby showers can be an amazing way to celebrate your pregnancy with the people you love, as long as you are comfortable. Think and decide if you would want to have a baby shower.
Make a list of baby products
It can be nerve-racking to decide what all you want to buy for your baby, especially since you just want to give them the whole world. Talk to friends who have experience with this as well as family members like your mother and grandmother. Read up on all the latest items and the safety of each product. Research about what would be necessary for a baby, twins, or multiples and make a list with a decided budget accordingly.
This week, practice positive affirmation to calm your nerves. Remind yourself that you made it this far with even less experience than you have now. At 20 weeks pregnant, you are equipped with new knowledge and courage. The road ahead is scary, but your determination and love are even more powerful.