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The 20th week of pregnancy: what happens to the baby and mom

In the 20th obstetric week of pregnancy, people around the future mother pay attention to the roundness of her waist and notice how beautiful she looks. The middle term provides an opportunity to feel the baby’s movements and to experience the wonderful feeling of its first kicks.

Nearly five months have passed since the first good news about the future addition to the family, and during that interval the mother and baby have undergone a number of changes – let’s look at them closely.

The size and development of the fetus in the 20th week of pregnancy

Height and weight of the fetus

Pregnancy week 20 sizeIn this week of pregnancy the baby has grown to the size of a large fruit, such as a coconut or papaya.

The weight of the fetus in the 20th week of pregnancy is close to 270 grams, and the height from the head to the coccyx is between 14 and 17 cm, from head to heels is approximately 25 cm (about the length of the average banana).

Whereas until the fifth month it was possible to determine only the crown-to-coccyx length of baby, due to the fact that the legs were in a bent position, now it is measured like an adult person – from the head to the base of the feet.

The organs’ formation and baby’s behavior 

During the twentieth week of pregnancy, there are signs of body hair (lanugo fuzz in place of eyebrows and eyelashes) and there are nails on the tiny fingers of the baby. The child begins to be more active, he turns in the womb, makes grasping movements with his hands, twists the cord around them, kicks his legs, does somersaults in the mother’s belly, puts fingers in his mouth, and even yawns.

The development of the fetus at 20 week of pregnancyThe baby experiences his first reaction to light, blinking when light shines in his eyes. The sebaceous glands produce a special secretion, protecting the sensitive skin of the baby while he is floating in amniotic fluid.

The baby’s organs are changing – two weeks after the gestational “equator,” his lungs make their first attempts breathing. A doctor can already clearly hear the baby’s heartbeat. The body develops a blood-producing organ – the spleen.

The intestine continues to grow and shows signs of releasing the first stool (meconium, which looks like dark-colored glue). Baby makes more frequent swallowing motions which contribute to the development of the digestive tract.

Twins in the 20th week of pregnancy

Development of twins and even triplets occurs exactly in the same way as a single fetus. But, there is a difference – moms, who are blessed with a double happiness, have a belly a bit bigger than those who bear one child, and the babies’ weights are slightly smaller. When listening to the heartbeat, there are two distinguishable rhythms that beat in unison.

What’s going on with a mom in the 20th week of pregnancy

Photos of mothers` bellies at 20 weeks of pregnancy

First of all, the uterus is changing, and it shifts slightly higher and increases in size. The belly itself becomes more noticeable, rounder, the navel is more protruded. There is a risk of stretch marks during this period. The mom’s weight has increased in average by 3-4 kilograms, and should continue to increase by about 300 grams per week. See above a photo of tummies in the 20th week of pregnancy.

[attention type=yellow]Breasts may swell and secrete a yellowish translucent substance – colostrum. Squeezing it out is not recommended, simply blot the nipples with a paper towel. Such colostrum is the first training of the female body to a high-grade milk production for the baby. More about it here.[/attention]

What sensations accompany the future mom

  • There is a probability of lower back and spine discomfort. Do not worry, the growth of the tummy increases the load on the body, and sometimes this causes pain, which is a natural process.
  • Also, there may be cramping in the legs – result of the increasing pressure on the limbs.
  • Abdominal pain is an alarming sign! If you feel something of that nature, especially if accompanied by vaginal bleeding, it is crucial to contact your doctor.
  • You may experience sudden hot flashes, especially at night, accompanied by perspiration. Hot flashes are the result of hormonal changes experienced by the mother during pregnancy.
  • It is possible in some cases to snore – this can also be blamed on hormonal changes that affect the nasal passages during sleep.
  • Increased vaginal discharge in the 20th week of gestation is called leucorrhea. Just as colostrum from the breast, it is an absolutely normal process, not associated with infection or a disease. Usually, it is white, or yellow, with a thick consistency. This process is a side effect of an intensive blood supply to the uterus. More about secretions here.
  • There are heart rate changes (increase by 8 – 12 strokes per minute), reduced pressure (systolic at 4 – 6 mm Hg, diastolic: 8 – 15 mm Hg, pulse at 6 – 10 mm / Hg.).
  • The most pleasant sensation in the 20th week of pregnancy is the wiggling baby. Precisely  during this period, he first kicks and demonstrates locomotor skills.

Emotionally, it is important to remain cheerful and upbeat!

Analyses, examinations and ultrasound in the 20th week of pregnancy

Photo fetal ultrasound at 20 weeks of pregnancy

From the very beginning, the pregnancy should be under a doctor’s supervision! Analyses in the first and second trimesters are done once a month on a mandatory basis, and after the 20th week – twice every 30 days.

In the 16-20th weeks of pregnancy there is a second prenatal screening for congenital birth defect (CBD) and to detect anomalies; for that purpose a blood test for alpha-fetoprotein and human chorionic gonadotropin is required. Both enzymes are serum proteins and their increased content in the blood may be an alarming signal of the beginning of a chromosomal disorder in the baby. This analysis is symptomatic only within the period of 16th – 20th weeks, before or after this period the results are not indication of abnormality.

Also, urine and blood tests are required in order to control the blood glucose  level.

According to the plan in the 20-22th week it’s necessary to undergo a fetal ultrasound screening. This test not only determines the sex of the future child, but also analyzes the state of the placenta, amniotic fluid, and any deviations, etc. Using an ultrasound, the doctor determines whether the child meets the criteria appropriate for his gestational age and watches the function of the internal organs, carefully studying the heart of the baby for changes or pathologies.

Mothers often come with dads to find out together the sex of the baby on the ultrasound, and to see their future child; to look into the face of the baby and watch his first movements. We invite you to watch the video of a fetal ultrasound in the 20th week of pregnancy and above you can see a photo.

Possible abnormalities, treatment of miscarriage

Unfortunately, there is always a risk of problems during pregnancy and cessation of fetal development. Results of analyzes can point to three common complications that accompany the maturation of the fetus.

Low placenta, or placenta previa in the 20th week of pregnancy is characterized by the dropping of placental tissue and blockage of the cervical canal. One symptom of this deviation is bleeding from the vagina. If placental abruption occurs under the pressure of the fetal weight, there will be heavy bleeding. In a case where the placenta covers the exit out of the uterus, surgical intervention is necessary. Low placenta is of the following degrees of seriouseness:

  • the placenta is located at the bottom of the uterus, but does not block its entrance and  birth is possible;
  • only one edge of the placenta touches the uterus, and chances of a successful birth are  still high;
  • part of the placenta covers the cervix, and there is a need for caesarean section;
  • the cervix is completely covered by the placenta, and delivery is possible only surgically.

Oligohydramnion in the 20th week of pregnancy is a deficiency of amniotic fluid. At various stages of pregnancy the amount of amniotic fluid is different and may not be sufficient for all stages of pregnancy. There is a table designed by physicians to help compare the mom’s existing volume of amniotic fluid with a permissible standard level. However, lack of fluid is not a dangerous diagnosis for the baby and mother – it is rather a feature of fetal development, which needs to be corrected.

Increased uterine tone. This deviation may cause a miscarriage. The causes of hypertonus usually are:  psychosomatic due to mother’s worries;  unhealthy lifestyle of the expected mother. Read more detailed info here.

Nutrition and exercise in the 20th week of pregnancy

In general, nutrition in the 20th week remains the same. All components of healthy food should be present: good balance, sufficient volume, freshness and quality of products. It is important to take vitamins and minerals intended for pregnancy. It is desirable to use a fractional diet – eat small portions, but often. On the list of mandatory products these ones must find a place: vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy.

Physical exercises

Exercises at 20 weeks of pregnancySport, especially in the fresh air, not only brings no harm to the expectant mothers, but rather strengthens their health. Especially useful for pregnant women are prenatal yoga, pilates, gymnastics, aerobics.

By training your body, you prepare it for future delivery, helping the baby to develop rapidly, and preserving your self-confidence.

[attention type=yellow]Classes help to relieve tension from the legs and lower back, to stretch your muscles to prevent contractions, to improve sleep and mood. However, it is necessary to monitor your well-being during training, and prevent fatigue. It is desirable to consult an expert on this subject before starting classes.[/attention]

Clothing and shoes

With the current wide assortment of maternity wear, it’s not difficult to find a suitable outfit. The main thing is that the material should be pleasant to the skin, not causing allergic reactions and unnecessary friction. Elastic stretchy fabric is optimal. Maximally comfortable underwear should be made from natural fibers, and not fit too snug.

Low-heeled shoes, such as walking shoes, will reduce the possible edema of the ankles and varicose veins of future moms. In cold weather, choose stable footwear and warm clothes.

Sexual activity in the 20th week

 Sexual relations at the 20 week of pregnancy

If there are no contraindications from the doctor, intimate life is recommended. But it is important not to cause excessive pressure on the abdomen and create conditions suitable for sexual intercourse in terms of hygiene.

Happiness Hormones derived from sex, provide pleasure not only to the mother but also the baby. But if you feel uncomfortable during intercourse, it is a sign to stop the process.

Recommendations for the future mom

  • Despite the fact that this is the middle trimester you may have a desire to “move mountains” and take on a lot of things at the same time – try not to overwork.
  • Pay attention to your body, if you find any of the above -mentioned warning signs be sure to contact your doctor to prevent complications.
  • Create conditions for moral comfort, it is important that you feel happy and enjoy every ray of sunshine. This is helpful especially for your child.
  • Take vitamins (in consultation with your doctor) and calcium – it is essential for the formation of baby’s bones.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle. A set of special exercises + good nutrition + wonderful mood = marvelous well-being.
  • Buy a brace that supports a growing tummy, it will serve you for a few more months.

Video about the 20th week of pregnancy

We invite you to watch a video regarding issues arising in the 20th week of pregnancy. Experts provide competent advice to moms about traveling by car, using household appliances, choosing the right clothes, working schedules. The video is a brief tour for those who wish to receive  concise information about how to behave better in the prime of pregnancy.

[attention type=yellow]We invite all future moms to share impressions of their experiences in the 20th week of pregnancy. What impressions emerged from the baby’s first kicks? Who craved which sweets, salty foods, or an unusual combination (chicken + caramel)? Let each other be a source of experience, anecdotes and useful information.[/attention]

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