20 Weeks Pregnant: What have changed?
At 20 weeks pregnant, your baby is now around 6 1/2 inches long and weighs 10 1/2 ounces. His size is now about similar to a small banana. While your baby continues to grow bigger, your belly is also getting heavier! He is also making movements such as twisting and turning his body and you will feel that he is now frequently moving. You have also reached the halfway of your pregnancy now that you’re 20 weeks pregnant! Congratulations!
Your Baby's Development this Week
This week, your baby's gender can now be determined by your doctor through ultrasound. The external genitals are now visible; however, they are not yet fully grown. If you are expecting a girl, you will see that your baby now has a uterus while her vaginal canal is still developing.
She already now has 7 million primitive eggs in her ovaries and that will increase after she's born. If you are expecting a boy, your baby now has testicles, but still located in his abdomen as the scrotum is not yet fully grown.
Your baby's nerves in his brain are rapidly forming which gives him the capability to see, hear, smell and touch.
He is now beginning to swallow as this will make his digestive system work well. He is also beginning to produce Meconium in his poop. This sticky black colored substance is not harmful. This substance which contains amniotic fluid, digestive secretion, as well as dead skin cells which are being swallowed by your baby are not harmful. This will soon become your baby's first poop. But some babies release their meconium during baby delivery or while in the womb.
His muscles are also flexing and he is now practicing his reflexes by making small movements such as kicking and gripping.
His lungs are not yet matured but he can now breathe. He is also starting to hiccup due to the spasm in his diaphragm.
The tiny bones in his ears are now formed while his ears are working and can now hear your voice. Your baby may startle if he hears loud noises. The bone in his nose is also beginning to take shape.
Your baby remains covered with a white creamy substance known as vernix caseosa. This serves as the protection of your baby's skin, preventing to form a wrinkle caused by the amniotic fluid that surrounds him. His sweat glands are also forming. Hairs are beginning to sprout including the hairs on his eyebrows and hairs on his head while at the same time, his finger and toenails are getting longer.
Your baby is also making frequent movements such as rhythmic jerking as he is testing the limits of your womb.
Your Body Changes at 20 Weeks Pregnant
You are now about halfway on your pregnancy at 20 weeks pregnant. Your baby bump is getting bigger as your pregnancy progresses. You will notice many changes in the coming weeks and for this week. Looking at your belly, the top of your uterus is now at the same level as your belly button. You have also gained weight this week, around 8 to 10 pounds.
Your baby bump is growing and as a result, you can’t find a comfortable sleeping position. However, there are ways to solve this problem. You can lie on your side with your knees bent, and then place a pillow between your legs. You may also feel hot and becoming sweat while sleeping. This is due to the shifting of hormones in pregnant women as well as metabolism and weight. Keep your room cool or wear thin clothes. You may also feel exhausted and that you can’t get a wink of sleep. Other pregnancy discomforts you may be feeling are ligament pains and aching pelvis.
Other body changes
This week, you may also notice that your hair and nails are growing faster than usual. You will also feel that you are full and thicker. This is due to the pregnancy hormones that are working continuously to make changes in your body and give advantages for your baby.
The pregnancy hormones affect the circulation of nutrients, giving more nutrients to your hair and nail cells causing so much growth. Despite that your nails are lengthening, they can be brittle and dry. You may like your hair locks now as the effects of pregnancy hormones, but it will return to normal when you give birth.
During your pregnancy this week, you may find it hard to get a good night’s sleep. While you’re not noticing this, except your partner who sleeps next to you, your snoring is definitely louder. This is because your estrogen hormone is making your mucous membranes in your nose lining swell.
You will continue experiencing heartburn and indigestion which will make you feel uncomfortable when sleeping. Added to that is having leg cramps. If these pregnancy discomforts become severe, you can always ask your doctor for some relief solutions.
What to Think and Do this Week
Now that you are at the midpoint of your pregnancy, you are may be more and more inspired to continue to take care of your baby. It is also now the time to enter childbirth classes to learn more about child labor as well as ease your worries regarding your delivery. You may be feeling scared if this is your first time having a baby. During childbirth classes, you will meet many mothers as well as mom-to-be! You can share your worries with them or learn from them to boost your confidence.
Visit your healthcare provider to know your baby’s condition week by week. They will also measure the height of your uterus. The midwife will begin to measure your fundal weight or distance from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus. You can also get doula for extra support. Though they are not trained for baby delivery, you will learn more from them.
Ensure that you are eating the right food as some may be harmless for you, but not for your baby. Eat foods rich in iron as your baby need to produce more red blood cells in his development process. These foods are lean red meat, poultry, fish, lentils and spinach. Another vitamin that is essential for you and your baby is B vitamins.
Though it is still a long way to go to meet your little bundle of joy while you’re 20 weeks pregnant, now is the time to think of good names since you already know the gender of your baby. Have fun thinking!