20 weeks marks the midpoint of your pregnancy. Way to go mommy! You are halfway there! Time will fly and very soon you will be able to hold your baby.
Fetus development at 20 weeks
The fruit of the week is a banana! Don’t think in weight terms, since a 20-week fetus weighs somewhere around 11 ounces (310 grams). The banana reference is related to your baby’s length, about 7 inches (17 cm) from crown to rump.
There are a few developments with the fetus at 20 weeks. One of them would be the fact that your baby now has fingernails and toenails. They started to grow earlier in the pregnancy, but now they are fully grown. Don’t worry, they will not grow very big, your baby will not scratch his or her way out. They are too soft anyway.
The baby’s hair will also start to grow, but this time on the rest of the body. Up until now only the scalp hair and the eyebrows grew, and let’s not forget about lanugo, the tiny, fine hair, but from now on hair will grow on your baby’s legs and hands. It’s peachy, of course. Also, the skin lost it translucence and it’s now beginning to get thicker and thicker
If up until now you were able to hear your baby’s heart only by having an ultrasound, from now on you can hear it with a stethoscope. That’s right! Your baby’s heart is so strong that it can be heard just as easy as yours. It wouldn’t hurt, though, to have a 20-week ultrasound. You get to see your baby, and that is always a win.
Another important aspect happening with the pregnancy at 20 weeks concerns the nervous system. The nerves in the brain which control the senses are still forming, eventually making it possible for your baby to see, smell, hear, taste and touch. Even though the senses are still in the process of development, don’t think that your baby cannot hear you. It’s quite the contrary actually. Not only your baby can hear you, but he or she recognizes your voice and your partner’s voice. This will come in handy in soothing the baby after birth.
At this point, your baby can still have some fun in the womb by turning somersaults. The space in the womb still allows it, but soon he or she will grow too big for it and will have to settle for learning combat techniques. You will see what I’m talking about. If you have a 20 weeks pregnant ultrasound, you will notice that the baby has little to grow until he gets to occupy the entire amniotic sack. It will get pretty stuffed in there.
Your baby is now in the rapid growth stage, and though it is still small and fragile he or she could possibly survive if born at this stage. God forbid, of course. Just so you know.
Symptoms at 20 weeks of pregnancy
As far as you are concerned, being 20 weeks pregnant may bring some aching in your belly. This is caused by ligaments in each side of your womb stretching as your baby grows bigger and bigger and your bump continues to increase. This is absolutely normal, but if you find yourself worrying too much, you can talk to your midwife, she will certainly soothe you.
Some women develop pains in their pelvis during pregnancy. These are called pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PRGP) or symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). These conditions are not harmful, not for you nor for your baby, but they can become really uncomfortable. They can be easily treated with physio or support girdles.
Another struggle you may encounter is getting comfy while you sleep, or trying to sleep at least. This may cause sleep interruption and you may wake up even more tired than you were when you went to bed. There are solutions for that, the most efficient being a specially shaped pregnancy pillow. You can buy them at a maternity store, or better, order one online. They are not very expensive and you can still use them after you give birth to breastfeeding.
Now maybe an excellent moment for you to think about how to introduce the new member of the family to your pet if you have any. You can read a ton of things on the internet, or you can talk to your vet, but nobody knows your pet better than yourself. You must know how it reacts to babies or strangers, so prepare accordingly.
20th Week Ultrasound
As for your anomaly scan, I said in a previous post that it is upcoming. 20 weeks is the best time to do it, most women do. You may have concerns about it, but women who do this say that they are very relieved afterward. Basically, the doctor checks the baby from head to toe, looking at the baby’s anatomy in detail. This is very useful for detecting various conditions. Spina bifida is discovered in almost all cases at this anomaly scan. Also, half of the heart conditions can be caught. Knock on wood, I hope you don’t find anything wrong, but no matter how hard would be for you, remember that some of these conditions can be easily fixed if found early. It’s what’s best for your child, and for you. If everything is ok, on the other hand, you will feel reassured. So don’t be afraid and do what you have to do.
I wish you good health and good luck!