Baby Growth at 20 Weeks Pregnant
Congratulations, you’ve made it halfway through your pregnancy! You are now 20 weeks through your pregnancy and in the middle of your fifth month. It’s probably started to kick in that you are really pregnant as you notice your belly beginning to take shape as the uterus grows to align with your belly button.
Your baby at 20 weeks is now the size and weight of a large sweet potato. They are measuring in at 8-9 inches long and weighing about 11 ounces. The limbs continue to develop and are now more proportionate to the rest of the baby’s body.
The baby’s hair follicles are becoming more prominent forming your baby’s eyebrows. A fine hair called lanugo begins to cover the baby on their head as well as other parts of the body but will vanish near the end of your pregnancy. The baby is now encased in a waxy substance called vernix caseosa to counter the drying out effect of the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby. Vernix when combined with lanugo is even theorized to play a role in the production of your baby's hormones.
Have you waited long enough to know the gender of your baby? The wait is finally over! It’s time to head in for your anatomy ultrasound scan this week! This is an important milestone in your pregnancy journey as you will better understand how your baby has been developing and ensure all is growing as expected. Expect this scan to be longer than your previous ones and encourage your partner to attend with you, if they are able. Your sonographer will do a full assessment of your baby from looking into the heart, how limbs are developing along with heart and head measurements and evaluation. Many women like to bring along their partner to this scan because they will learn the baby’s size, facial features, sex, placenta location, and amniotic fluid levels. It’s a special time to share with your partner and often helps the partner who is not doing the “growing of the baby”, feel more involved in the pregnancy process and enhances feelings of excitement for your baby’s birthday.
You and Your Baby at 20 Weeks Pregnant
Feeling a little more pregnant this month? Your baby bump is bumping, and you have likely gained around 10 pounds since conception. As the weeks progress, the recommended weight gain is about a one-half to one pound per week until delivery. Are you unsure if you have gained this much, or are you concerned that you’ve gained more or not feeling your bump is far enough along at this point? Don’t worry, that is a normal feeling! This is only a guideline to follow and your weight gain should be based on your BMI and starting weight, which can be discussed with your obstetrician.
As your baby continues to grow and the limbs get bigger, this may be the week that you are truly able to feel your little one’s movements. Although movements can be felt earlier than 20 weeks, you are more likely to notice them now and they will continue to strengthen as the weeks progress.
Typical Symptoms at Pregnancy 20 Weeks
Are you cramping more than usual, especially in your legs? Your baby is pushing on different blood vessels and nerves so while uncomfortable, is not abnormal. This can be uncomfortable and may disrupt your sleep schedule. If you do have trouble sleeping, consider adding a few extra pillows in bed with you to elevate your head, support your belly and legs to make a more relaxing sleep environment and keep you comfortable in side-lying positions.
Swelling in the feet and ankles is another common symptom you may experience. Excess water retention present in your body and the uterus enlarging interrupts your body’s blood flow to lower extremities, resulting in a swelling known as edema. To alleviate the discomfort, try wearing compression stockings and supportive footwear with arch support. It’s also important to elevate your feet throughout the day to help your body remove some of the fluid.
As your baby continues to grow, your uterus needs more support from other muscles and ligaments. The expansion of the uterus also may press against your stomach causing acid and undigested food to move back up into your esophagus. All of the extra support needed for your uterus may cause you stomach pains, increased heartburn and possible indigestion.
Still feeling nauseous at this point? Only about 10-20% of women will still experience nausea beyond week 20. If you are concerned or have questions about any of your symptoms, it's best to always consult your physician.
Pregnancy Week 20 Tips & Advice
If you know the gender of your baby, you can begin planning for your gender reveal party! Whether you make a grand spectacle of your baby's gender or if a simple gender-colored sweet treat will do, this will be a turning point knowing how close you are to birth.
Love surprises? Are you waiting till the end of your pregnancy to be surprised on the sex of your baby? Invite your friends and family members to join in on a baby betting pool for your due date! Have everyone throw in a few dollars wager for each guess of the gender. Whoever guesses correctly gets part of the pot or it goes to the new parents as a gift. This will help involve everyone in the excitement of your baby’s birth!
With only 20 weeks left to go, it's time to fill out your baby’s registry. This should be a fun and relaxing time for both you and your partner as you begin to look at newborn essentials like baby clothes, strollers, car seats and cribs. Use this time to really think about what you need to buy for yourself and what can go on your registry. Look online and in-stores to register and sign up for multiple registries as most places will provide discounts and freebies for joining their rewards programs. Also consider checking out second hand stores and online baby consignment companies to up-cycle baby gear (most baby items you’ll only use for 6-12 months).
With your appetite increasing along with your energy, it's a good time to begin doing 20 minutes of daily prenatal exercise that will not cause stress on your body. You can take a walk to grab some fresh air, perform some water aerobics or even sign up for a prenatal yoga class. 140 minutes of weekly exercise can help reduce pain or swelling that any soon-to-be mother may experience while also improving your overall mood, sleep and body flexibility.
Do not let ‘pregnancy brain’ catch you off guard. It is time to schedule your next prenatal checkup 4 weeks from now. For the rest of your second trimester, these checkups will be monitoring your baby's development, listening to the heartbeat and assessing the baby’s positioning while checking in on your blood pressure, weight and testing your urine for infections or protein.
With just 20 short weeks left, you have made it through some of the toughest weeks of constant morning sickness (or all-day sickness) and raging pregnancy hormones. As your baby continues to grow and develop in the coming weeks, continue to track your symptoms and baby’s growth with the Premom app.