Weekly update: What’s happening when you are 20 weeks pregnant?

20 weeks pregnant

Don’t hesitate to do a little happy dance to celebrate. Your baby’s development is going on at a steady pace, and your body is busy making more and more room for it. Let’s look into all that’s going on in the halfway mark of your pregnancy.

20 weeks pregnant - Signs and symptoms

By now, your uterus has expanded up to three times its original height, which means that it has reached all the way up to your belly button. Feels unreal, doesn’t it? Normally, the uterus will expand by 1 cm per week reaching all the way up to the ribcage, until it’s time for the baby’s arrival!

You will notice that your vaginal discharge is just increasing week by week. It’s nothing to worry about, as it’s how your body gets rid of all the bacteria in the uterus and vagina. However, if you notice a tinted (yellow, green or brown) and foul-smelling discharge, alert your gynaecologist immediately.

A lot of pregnant women experience frequent leg cramps around this time, due to the increase in blood supply and all the extra weight. Unless it’s extremely painful, this is completely normal and will subside eventually.

A steadily growing baby needs more and more room inside your body, and will eventually crowd your digestive system. This may lead to indigestion, acidity and even irregular bowel movement.

Many women experience pain in their pelvic region in this week, due to the increased pressure. This is temporary and completely normal, just a little uncomfortable.

Since your baby bump has grown larger, you may be struggling to sleep in a comfortable position, leading to erratic sleep and sluggishness.

As a lot of the blood and oxygen supply is going to the baby, you may develop mild forgetfulness, also known as ‘baby brain’. Relax, it’s nothing to get anxious about. Your razor-sharp memory will be back once the baby is born.

20 weeks pregnant - What’s happening to the baby?

Your baby has grown approximately 21.5 cm in length and weighs about 210-250 grams.

In this week, the baby is fully covered in vernix – the milky, gooey substance protecting its skin from the amniotic fluid. This will go away shortly before it’s time for delivery.

The baby’s sensory development is going on in overdrive! It’s now able to make sense of the world around it little by little. It can hear voices, music and other ambient sounds. In fact, your baby can eve

n taste the amniotic fluid now!Every now and then, you may experience a slight but rhythmic jerking in your belly. This is nothing but your baby’s hiccups in utero. These hiccups are completely normal and don’t cause the baby any harm.

Hair has begun to sprout all over the baby’s head, eyebrows and eyelids. The bones have more or less fully developed. The nose and nails are now sprouting out.

Slowly, the baby is forming definite facial features that will begin to resemble either one of the parents! Exciting, isn’t it?

20 weeks pregnant - What should I be doing during this time?

You may feel more easily out of breath now, so try not to push yourself too hard, despite higher energy levels. Do regular stretching exercises to relieve leg cramps and varicose veins.

If you experience frequent aches in your pelvic region, take up physiotherapy sessions to relieve the same.
In case finding the right position to sleep in proves to be a challenge, invest in one of those specially designed pregnancy pillows that are shaped just right to support your baby bump, and can actually help you relax better. These pillows can even help you sit more comfortably on a chair or a sofa.

You’re likely to experience strange, vivid dreams more frequently now. These are mostly a result of the pregnancy hormones along with the anxiety of becoming a parent. Try to relax, meditate or talk to your partner about what’s got you worried. Don’t read too much into these dreams and worry yourself even further.

This week is the perfect time for your mid-pregnancy ultrasound, wherein the doctor will check your baby thoroughly – right from measuring its height to checking all body parts, heartbeats, kidneys, lungs and the brain hemispheres! This ultrasound will also look for birth defects, count the fingers and toes, and help confirm your due date. It’ll also check if all is well with the placenta, umbilical cord and amniotic fluid. (Please note – sex determination via ultrasound or any other methods is illegal in India.)

Shop for some flat and comfortable shoes – you’ll find them handy in the coming weeks!

You can also sign up for antenatal classes, to help you understand your pregnancy better, learn breathing techniques and how to look after the baby once it’s born, and much more. This is also a great opportunity for you to bond with fellow moms and share this incredible experience with women who are on the same journey as you.

20 weeks pregnant - What should the partner be doing?

Make sure you accompany her to the ultrasound check-up as well as antenatal classes.

Since she now tires easily, you need to make sure she’s not moving around too much. Her exercises should include gentle movements, nothing too rigorous.

Work towards maintaining a calm and soothing atmosphere in the house. As any upheaval affects her sleep, dreams and overall well-being.

Have any questions and concerns regarding your pregnancy? Ask us in the comments below!  Know more about being 21 weeks pregnant here.


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