The 20th week marks the half way mark in your pregnancy – 20 down and 20 to go. Many pregnant women have felt their baby move by now – described by women variously as tiny bubble like movements, or like the fluttering of butterfly wings.
However first time mothers may not have experienced it yet; that’s OK too and is nothing to be alarmed about. Soon the movements will be keeping you up at night; so enjoy the peace and quiet right now.
Changes in the baby
Baby is concentrating all resources on simply growing and laying down fat stores. Once the half way mark is past, the baby has some chances of survival if born prematurely. Those chances get better and better, the longer baby stays inside the mother’s uterus.
- Baby is now nearly 7 inches in length and weighs about 10 ounces.
- If you’re having a girl, the uterus has developed and the vagina is taking shape.
- If it’s going to be a boy, the testes are starting to descend into the scrotum.
- Baby is also starting to develop some type of sleep pattern now, and will alternate between sleep and wakefulness.
- There is a lot of swallowing practice happening about now. Right now it’s only amniotic fluid; later it’s going to be milk.
Changes in the mom to be
If you were of normal weight before your pregnancy, and have gained weight as expected, you are likely to have put on about 10 pounds by now.
- You can probably feel the top of the uterus (fundus) near your belly button by now. If measured with a measuring tape, it would be about 18 to 22 cm.
- The hair and nails may seem thicker and stronger but may also seem drier and more brittle at this time. You may even find that you have more facial hair, and hair at places where earlier there was none!
Tips for the 20th Week
One of the reasons why you gain weight in pregnancy is that the sheer volume of blood coursing through your veins increases significantly. Since the body is making more blood, it needs more iron as well.
- Be vigilant about getting sufficient iron. Red meat, lentils, iron fortified cereals, and dark colored poultry meat are good sources of iron.
- You may want to think about starting childbirth classes now, which you can go to by yourself or with a partner. These will tell you what to expect and how to prepare for the rigors of childbirth.