Week 20 of Pregnancy
Your Baby in Week 20 of Pregnancy
Curious about whether that melon-sized belly contains a boy or a girl? Now’s your chance to take a peek! Your second trimester ultrasound, scheduled for anytime between 18 and 22 weeks, gives your practitioner a chance to see how things are going in there. And, wow, are they going! If you’re having a girl, her uterus is now fully formed and her ovaries are holding about seven million primitive eggs. If you’re having a boy, his testicles have begun their descent from the abdomen to their ultimate destination — the scrotum. And while your baby is definitely getting bigger (weighing in at about ten ounces and measuring six and a half inches), there’s still plenty of growing room in there, which allows him to twist and turn (and allows you to feel his acrobatics!).
Learn more about your baby in week 20 and finding out the baby’s gender.
Your Body in Week 20 of Pregnancy
Now that you’re at the midpoint of your pregnancy (20 weeks down, 20 more to go!), that little cantaloupe (aka baby) you have in your belly is becoming more of a reality as you feel his movements and draw smiles from passersby who see your baby bump. You might also be noticing that your nails are stronger (though they could also turn dry and brittle) and your hair (all over your body) is thicker and fuller than usual — all thanks to pregnancy hormones and increased circulation, which furnish extra nutrients to hair and nail cells. But while the hair on your head may be lovelier than ever, you might not be digging those sprouts on your chin. This situation is indeed temporary, but feel free to tweeze!
Learn more about your body in week 20 and hair and nail growth during pregnancy.
Week 20 Pregnancy Tip: Appetite
Are you in the Hunger Zone? With weeks of nausea and food aversions behind you, you may be more than ready to make up for lost eating time (move over crackers, hello four-course meals!). But before you dig into that all-you-can-eat buffet at lunchtime, here’s something you might want to consider. The grazing approach that was your mealtime MO during those queasy months is still the best way to feed yourself and your baby now that food’s no longer a four-letter word. Not only does it help fend off pesky second-trimester tummy troubles (like the heartburn and indigestion that’s sure to set in by your second trip to the buffet), but it also ensures that baby’s getting a steady supply of calories when he needs it the most. In fact, studies show that moms who eat at least five or six small meals and snacks a day are more likely to carry to term. So bring on the grub when pregnancy hunger hits, and lots of it — just bring it on a little at a time.
Learn more about the pregnancy diet.
Week 20 Pregnancy Symptoms
Heartburn or indigestion: If you’re looking for a simple heartburn fix, try chewing a piece of sugarless gum after meals. The increased saliva it produces neutralizes gastric acids and helps force fluids back into the stomach.
Increased vaginal discharge: As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll notice an increase in vaginal discharge. While it can be uncomfortable, this discharge actually helps protect the birth canal from infection and maintains a healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina.
Occasional headaches: Do you find that your headaches crop up when you’re overheated, in windowless, stuffy spaces, or under fluorescent lighting? Be sure to take fresh-air breaks outside a few times a day, and dress in layers to avoid getting too hot, which could trigger a headache.
Occasional faintness or dizziness: Stuffy, hot rooms can be the cause of light-headedness (not just headaches), especially when your body is already generating lots of heat with that little bun you’re cooking in your oven. Stay cool by taking frequent breaks for fresh air and wearing loose-fitting clothes.
Leg cramps: Experts aren’t clear on what causes leg cramps during pregnancy, but one theory is that they are caused by compressed blood vessels in the legs (a consequence of extra weight and swelling). Help the blood circulate throughout your body more easily — and minimize cramping — by putting your feet up when you can and drinking plenty of fluids.
Mild swelling of ankles and feet: If water retention in your ankles and feet is causing you pain, be sure to wear comfy (not tight!) shoes while you’re out, and switch into slippers when you get home. Also, avoid tight socks or pantyhose that can cut off blood flow — you want to keep fluids flowing freely to minimize swelling in your lower extremities.
Protruding navel: Your cute little innie belly button may suddenly morph into an outie as your uterus pushes your abdomen forward. If you don’t like the new look, don’t worry — your navel will go back to being an innie after delivery.