Pregnancy Week By Week : 20 Weeks Pregnant - What To Expect
How amazing is this? You have made it to the 20th week of your pregnancy and half way through to giving birth to your precious little baby....
At week 20 of your pregnancy, an ultrasound can demonstrate the visible signs of sex determination. In the case of a girl, her uterus would have formed and the vaginal canal is in its initial stages of development. If you are carrying a boy, the testicles will have started their descent. The scrotum also starts forming, although it is not before a few more weeks that the development will be complete.
This is totally adorable. With the ossification of the bones and strengthening of the muscles and tissues in the arms and legs, your baby's movements have become more prominent this week. If its little hand comes close to its mouth, it may begin to suck on its cute little thumb. The sucking and swallowing motions will be mastered soon as your baby prepares itself to suckle your breasts once it is born.
Your baby is breathing
Amazing as it may sound, by this time of its growth, your baby would have started breathing. Its lungs are still developing and in a matter of days, it will have fully functioning and well-developed lungs.
Hair on the scalp
The hair growth had started a few weeks ago and the baby's delicate skin is covered in lanugo and meconium. But this week will witness a steady growth of hair on the scalp region. Some babies will be born with a head full of hair and some will appear bald at birth, but take a close look at the latter and you will see fine hair strands even on the seemingly bald head.
Your baby is becoming heavier
Your baby has grown quite a bit in the last few days and now weighs around 11 ounces. That's quite a jump from its weight last week. The baby is the size of a cantaloupe and is very baby like now. Your baby's height is anywhere between 6 and a half inches to 7 inches when measured from head to rump.
Body Changes & Common Symptoms
Weight gain: By the middle of your second trimester, most pregnant women gain about 12 to 15 pounds and it is totally expected. Don't blame everything on your eating habits as the weight can also be attributed to your growing uterus and your baby inside it. As your waistline keeps expanding, you can expect a gain of a pound each week going forward.
Frequent restroom trips: Remember how a couple of months ago you were making trips to the bathroom every now and then? The need to relieve yourself frequently would have come back by now as your big uterus is creating more pressure on your bladder. Also, the increased blood flow may make you feel like urinating quite often.
Iron deficiency: A lot of pregnant women, even the healthy ones may find a marked drop in their hemoglobin levels during this time. This is because your baby is rapidly using up the iron from your blood to grow. You may find the blood test reports to show a below normal red blood cell count, despite eating a good amount of iron rich food. Make sure you take your iron supplements diligently so that matters don't get worse as your pregnancy progresses.
Added nutrients for hair and nails: Have you noticed that your nails are growing longer too quickly? And your hair is growing thicker these days? The reason for these changes is the increased production of pregnancy hormones. These hormones tend to improve and increase circulation in the body and as a result, your nails and hair receive more nutrients than usual for a surge in growth.
Pregnancy hunger sets in: Your body needs a lot of nutrients to keep you and your baby healthy and growing. This is the reason why a regular meal may not suffice anymore. It is fine if you feel hunger pangs a couple of hours after a normal meal. You are pregnant and have all the rights to eat to your heart's content when you feel like. In order to avoid acidity and digestion problems, eat healthy snacks and fibrous foods in between meals.
- Be alert while traveling: It is best to avoid riding or driving this time onwards till the end of your pregnancy. Dizziness and fatigue can seriously affect your alertness and distract you from focusing entirely on the road. If you have to drive or ride, avoid long distances. If you have to commute on a daily basis, consider carpooling instead of traveling on your own.
- Try to avoid salty snacks: Salt can aggravate the condition of edema and cause swelling in your extremities. So try to keep snacks such as potato chips at bay that have an excess amount of salt in them.
- Beware of MSG: Monosodium glutamate is a BIG NO. When you are snack shopping at a supermarket with a large array of munchies on display, make sure to look for MSG in the ingredients list and drop off anything that contains it.
- Don't remain hungry: Your baby is growing a little every hour. And your body needs a lot of nutrients to sustain a healthy growth. If you go hungry for long periods of time, it may affect your baby's development. Eat small portion every 4 to 5 hours. Don't blame yourself for a lasting feeling of hunger even if you have had a good meal. It is your body's natural way to make sure you are eating what is needed for your pregnant body.
Now that you are halfway through the journey, continue with the good habits that you have included in your daily life and sacrifice a few things such as coffee and cold cuts for the sake of your little one. If you are thinking about talking to your gynecologist about a birth plan, get started by this or next week. The excitement will only soar from here on.
Image Source: 1, 2