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Week 20 of pregnancy

During week 20 of pregnancy, you are halfway down the pregnancy journey. You will able to find the sex of the baby through an ultrasound scan. Now is the perfect time to sign up for birthing classes. In week 20 of pregnancy, the skin of the baby is covered with vernix, a creamy substance that protects the skin from the amniotic fluid

What does week 20 of pregnancy look like?

Now that you are in week 20 of pregnancy, your appetite is likely to be pretty good and your pregnant belly is probably going to show up more even now. All bumps are normal and beautiful, no matter how big or small.

As recommended, check in with your doctor if you are worried about something. The doctor will measure the fundal height at each prenatal visit could be the sign of pregnancy function. 

Recommended weight gain during your entire pregnancy is about 25 to 35 pounds. A growth issue may require further testing may be necessary in week 20 of pregnancy

Fetal development at week 20 of pregnancy

The baby now measures around 7 ¾ inch long and weighs about 9 ounces. The size of the fetus is about the size of a sweet potato. 

  • The skin of the baby is covered with vernix, a sticky substance, that covers the baby and protects it from the amniotic fluid. 
  • Meconium-  thick, dark-colored substance that makes up the baby’s first bowel movement. It is a mix of amniotic acid, digestive secretion, skin cells, etc.
  • The brain is rapidly developing.
  • Cartilage is now transforming into bones for the skeleton. 
  • The eyebrows are being formed.
  • The arms and legs are in proportion with the body.
  • The baby is able to swallow.
  • The genitals of the baby are forming.

Related articles: Week 19 of pregnancy | Week 17 of pregnancy

What are the symptoms at week 20 of pregnancy?

Making it to the 20 weeks pregnant might feel good. However, some women experience some set of annoying pregnancy symptoms.

Vaginal discharge

Many women experience vaginal discharge and are expected to increase until delivery. But if your discharge is yellow or pink and foul-smelling, it can be a sign of bacterial infection and should be informed to your healthcare provider. 

Indigestion and heartburn 

As the baby starts to crowd the digestive system, the symptoms relax the stomach muscles. As the muscles in the stomach relax, the acid may travel up to the esophagus and the acid may cause heartburn.

Leg cramps

For some women, the increase in overall body weight stresses out the leg muscles. Also, the blood circulation decrease and that stasis and pooling of blood in the leg might put pressure on the nerves or the blood vessels, which can cause leg cramps.

Swelling

As your uterus expands, nerves are pressed making some women experience swelling on the legs and arms because of the excess fluid retention in the body, accumulating in the hands and legs.

Breast changes

Hormonal fluctuation brings a change in the structure of the breast. Initially, with the rise in the pregnancy hormones, the breasts increase in size and are more sensitive

During the second trimester, the tenderness of the breasts reduces, but the milk glands in the breasts develop, and fat deposits increase. Small bumps are also formed around the nipples. It produces oil that stops the breasts from getting dry.

Self-care tips

Weight gain, swelling, and added pressure over the nerves are some of the significant changes that happen during the second trimester. The added pressure over the nerves can cause swelling and cramps. 

  • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
  • Avoid standing for a long time and continuously change the position in which you sleep.
  • Keep your legs elevated during sleep to relieve the pressure in the legs.
  • Take warm baths to soothe your nerves and reduce the pressure over it.
  • Stretching helps a lot with the pelvic pain and at the time of delivery it helps with short labor and lesser complications
  • Stretching your feet upwards helps to reduce leg cramps. The cramps and the swelling are a part of pregnancy and are completely unavoidable.
  • Choose healthy and short meals throughout the day rather than a few heavy meals.

Visit the doctor

Week 20 of pregnancy

The sole purpose of amniocentesis is to locate if there are any chromosomal abnormalities. 

It is important to check if you require genetic testing or any other prenatal screening that is right for you. 

Some of the tests that the doctor can recommend in the case of genetic testings 

  • Ultrasound scans 
  • Amniocentesis
  • Chorionic villus sampling  
  • Umbilical cord blood sampling
  • Alpha-fetoprotein test

Early diagnosing and locating of medical abnormalities can help the mom-to-be and the healthcare provider to take steps to support a complicated birth. In some cases, treatments can also be done before the delivery. 

Prenatal appointments usually happen every four weeks. So if you have a prenatal visit this week, then you would most probably have the next prenatal visit in week 24. 

Important checklist for week 20 pregnancy

  • Continue prenatal supplements 
  • Stay hydrated and have enough fluids
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Practice more pelvic exercises

Bottomline

Congratulations on reaching another milestone. You have completed half of the pregnancy journey and are now ready to make progress towards the finish line. Take care of yourself, do exercise regularly, and have a balanced diet.  

Reference:

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Written by Neetu Verma

I am a certified Nurse in General Nursing - Midwifery. I am currently fighting coronavirus in a government hospital in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India as a nurse on special duty. I have a special love for writing and write as and when time allows me to do so.

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