Your baby has now reached the size of a large grapefruit and produces his first stool – meconium. You’re half way through your pregnancy, your belly keeps growing, and so does your appetite!
20 Weeks Pregnant – Fetus
You’re half-way through your pregnancy! Your baby has now reached 6.5 inches/ 16.4 cm, the size of a large grapefruit, and keeps growing fast. Until now, the baby’s length was measured crown to rump, as his legs were curled up, making it harder to measure. From now on, he will be measured from head to toe. The baby weighs around 10.7 oz./ 303 gr.
Your baby’s taste buds are fully functioning and he is swallowing more amniotic fluid, practicing for future breastfeeding. He is also producing his first stool – meconium. Meconium is a black or dark green and gooey substance, and is composed of whatever your baby is swallowing in your uterus – amniotic fluid, vernix, lanugo, intestinal epithelial cells, mucus, etc. This is what you will see in your baby’s first diaper.
If you are carrying a boy, his testicles are still in the abdomen waiting for the full development of the scrotum. They will have begun their descent during this week. If it’s a girl, her vagina is starting to develop, and her uterus is already formed! By the time she is born, her ovaries will hold about two million eggs, wow! If you still haven’t seen your baby’s sex during ultrasound scans, you can definitely see it now.
20 Weeks Pregnant – Symptoms
You’re gaining weight and your belly keeps growing. You may still be experiencing leg cramps during the night, as well as heartburn and indigestion. Propping up against pillows and avoiding heavy meals right before you go to bed might help. Pillows (ordinary or pregnancy pillows) may become your best friends until delivery, as finding a comfortable sleep position becomes more and more challenging, tucking a pillow between your legs, under your belly or behind your back may save the day… or night.
Feeling hot? From now on, you may feel much warmer than usual due to changes in your weight, hormones and metabolism. You may also notice increased clear vaginal discharge – this is your body’s way to clear the vaginal area of harmful bacteria until you give birth, occasional headaches and shortness of breath – the growing uterus is pressing against the inner organs and lungs, making it harder to breath as freely as you used to.
You may also hear your partner complaining about your snoring one day. Thank pregnancy hormones for that. The hormones make the mucous membranes of your nose swell, causing you to snore and maybe develop pregnancy rhinitis. Try to sleep with your head elevated. Sleeping on your side may help as well.
Hungry all the time? As morning sickness is already gone, you can start making up for all the goodies you missed, but don’t eat for two! Small, frequent meals is the best way to eat without overeating and ease indigestion and heartburn that may come along with pregnancy.
You need around 30 mg of iron daily during pregnancy, so make sure your meals include lean red meat or pork, spinach, beans, oatmeal, wheat germ or grains fortified with iron. Dried fruit contain iron as well, but they also contain quite a lot of sugar, so don’t eat too much.
As your belly grows, your belly button may suddenly pop out one day. It may be annoying, but don’t worry – it will go back to its rightful place soon after delivery.
20 Weeks Pregnant – Questions
You still have 20 or so weeks to go, and a few prenatal tests still lie ahead. Let’s see what these tests are for.
1. What is an Anomaly Scan?
The anomaly scan is also called mid-pregnancy, or 20-week scan. This is a detailed, two-dimensional ultrasound scan, usually carried out between weeks 18 and 21 (later in some cases). The scan an optional one, and checks for major physical abnormalities in your baby’s body and at the position of the placenta. The technician (sonographer) and OB will look at the baby’s brain, head shape, face (to rule out a cleft lip) heart chambers, stomach and kidneys, kidneys, spine, hands, legs etc. You may also find out your baby’s gender if his position allows it. Bear in mind that the anomaly scan cannot detect all the possible abnormalities.
2. What is Fundal Height?
Fundal height is a measure of the size of your uterus meant to assess your baby’s development. Starting from week 20 of pregnancy, your doctor will start measuring fundal height at each visit.
Fundal height will roughly match your week of pregnancy, so at 20 weeks, your belly will probably measure around 18 – 22 centimeters. A higher or lower fundal height might be a symptom of medical conditions such as growth problems or gestational diabetes. In this case, your doctor will recommend further testing.