Those butterflies in your stomach may be more than just wind
In the next few days, you might feel your baby’s movements for the first time. The little flutter can be such a tiny sensation that many women put it down to wind. But what a wonderful moment when you realize the truth! If you want to find out the sex of your baby, it could be revealed on the ultrasound scan you have this week.
1.The eyebrows have thickened and are clearly visible.
2.The baby’s body has a covering of fine hair, called lanugo hair. Most of this hair disappears before birth, although it may still be present in very premature babies.
3.The spine is now quite straight. Your 20-week scan will reveal each vertebra.
4.At 20 weeks the average crown to heel length is 16.4cm (6.5in) and the average weight is 300g (10.6oz).
5.Abdominal organs, including the stomach, intestines, and liver, are fully enclosed within the abdominal cavity.
6.Tooth buds, for both the milk teeth and the underlying permanent teeth, are now in place under the gums.
Congratulations for completing the halfway mark of your pregnancy! By the size of a small cantaloupe, weighing in at about 10.5 ounces your baby might be doing summersaults inside you, while your growing uterus reaches your navel.
Your baby’s development
At around 6.5 inches in height, when measured from head to bottom, by now your baby is the size of a small banana. This measurement is made from crown to rump as the baby’s legs are all curled up during the first twenty weeks. It is only after this week that the baby can be measured from head to toe.
By the 20th week of pregnancy, your baby is swallowing so much more, which in turn is helping him or her to build a healthy digestive system. By now, your baby is also secreting meconium, which is a black, sticky-by-product meant for digestion. This gooey substance is accumulating in his or her bowels, which will be released in the first soiled diaper.This is nothing but a harmless mixture, which is released in the amniotic fluid. It is meant to produce digestive secretion and dead skin cells that will from your baby’s first bowel movement. However, having said that please note that some babies tend to pass meconium in the womb itself or during the course of delivery.
By now, your baby will be having fun kicking and twisting in somersaults, which is in all probability going to take you by surprise. Even though your tiny bundle of joy is growing bigger and stronger by now, there are some key developmental processes happening in this stage. The nerves in the brain that will be controlling the senses are now developing, soon that will enable them to develop their sense of touch, hear, taste and touch.
Another peculiar thing in the 20th week of pregnancy is how your baby will be developing layers under the vernix. This layer is developing on his or her skin in order to prevent the amniotic fluid from pickling. This cheesy, varnish coating is a protective substance that now covers your fetus’ skin. If visually seen, it appears white, greasy and is made up of lanugo (that downy hair), dead skin cells and oil from your baby’s glands. His or her nails and development of limbs also continues to happen.
Changes in you
Many-many congratulations for now you have hit the precious halfway mark of your pregnancy! By this 20th week in pregnancy, your body’s uterus is right at your belly button. You might have gained a minimum of 5 pounds by now, and in all probability you must expect to grow your weight by a pound or two each week by now. Make sure you are eating enough iron as it will help in making haemoglobin – the part of red blood cells, which helps in carrying oxygen to all parts of the body. In the non-vegetarian sources, expectant mothers should think of eating more of red meat and poultry (more of dark meat). Non-meat sources of iron consist of soy-based products, legumes, raisins, iron-fortified cereals and spinach.
By now, it will also advisable to read up on childbirth by signing for a childbirth class, especially when you are a first-timer. This will help in preparing you and your partner for the happiness and challenges of labor and delivery.
In the 20th week of pregnancy, you might also encounter an ache in tummy as your tummy continues to bulge. This is due to the stretchy ligaments on each side of your womb, which happens because your baby is getting bigger and bigger. This might result into getting uncomfortable when sitting or sleeping in bed, which can have a direct result by interrupting your sleep. You must buy special pregnancy pillows by now as they can help you get a good night’s sleep at night. Not only this, these pillow are also useful in the post-pregnancy phase for breastfeeding too.
As soon as you reach the 20th week of pregnancy, you might also witness that your nails become all the stronger and your hair growth is faster than your normal growth. This is all because of pregnancy hormones, which tend to trigger a sudden surge in the circulation, imparting extra nutrients to hair and nail cells. Having said, your nails also might become more dry and brittle. Do brush and massage with olive oil on them at night on daily basis.
The biggest good news by this stage for your body is that your body’s organs are now beginning to adjust to the normal places. Your intestines have already shifted due to the enlarged uterus. Another interesting change by now is that your intensity and rate of visiting washroom for urination might slow down. However, vaginal discharge might slowly spike up during the 20th week of pregnancy. This must be consulted with your doctor as you might be at an increased risk of vaginal infection. At this stage, you might also suffer from round ligament pain – a round ligament is the one that is holding your uterus and as and when it stretches and thickens, the pain increases.
Nutrition for you
- Fill up your dietary needs with Omega 3fatty acids: When choosing Omega 3 fatty acids, think of fishes like herrings, mackerel and sardines. They help in developing your baby’s brain, while aiding in the eye development. As far as eating oily fishes are concerned, make sure to not eat more than two portions in a week, also go for small-sized oily fish as it might have less content of mercury when compared to the bigger fishes.
- Vegetarians fill of Omega 3 fatty acids: Vegetarians should opt for foods, such as tofu, walnuts, soy beans, milk, sesame seeds, leafy green vegetables and eggs. You could also try popping in a fish oil supplement with your doctor advise, which has been especially formulated for pregnant woman.
- Importance of iodine intake during this stage: By this time, your baby’s thyroid glands are forming and so are his or her hormones, hence it is important to have adequate intake of iron in your body. Rich sources of iodine include haddocks, mackerel, prawn, salmon and sardines. Vegetarians can opt for dairy products, like paneer, butter, yogurts, along with mushrooms, onions and spinaches.
- Consume a variety of food groups in a day: By opting for food items that are nourishing your unborn baby, you are making sure to have a healthy baby in the future. It is recommended by experts to include a minimum of 2 to 4 servings of fruit in a day, 4 to 5 serving of dairy products, 3 to 4 servings of proteins, 6 to 11 servings of breads and grains, while 5 to 110 servings of fresh, cooked or raw, vegetables.
- Opt for Kegel exercises: A great way to give extra boost of strength to your lower abdomen is by performing Kegel exercises before, during and even after pregnancy. It not only helps in strengthening the vaginal muscles, but Kegels is also a great exercise for women to given easy births while it also tones the muscles for post-delivery shape up.
Nutrition for baby
- Fight the dilemma of being constantly in the hunger zone: Do you perpetually find yourself in the hunger zone? You are not alone, dear mother-to-be! This is because post weeks of nausea and food aversion, by now your body would want to accommodate the lost eating time. However, do note that before you give into that all-you-can-eat buffet, make sure to keep it healthy, short, frequent and clean. This helps in keeping the pesky second-trimester stomach aversions at bay, such as heartburn and indigestion, and also helps in ensuring that your baby is getting amount supply of calories, when he or she needs the most.
- Pain in the pelvis region: Some expectant mothers might also develop a peculiar pain in their pelvis region, which is also known as pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PRGP) or symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). These common pain occurs in the expectant moms and is nothing to be feel dangerous about. These pains might be uncomfortable, and can treated through proper exercises, physiotherapy and support girdles, however if it is too painful for you to handle, do consult your gynaecologist for it.
- Edema, also known as swelling of ankles and feet: By now, your body tissue would start to accumulate a lot of fluid – after all, your pregnant body requires fluid to support the growth and development of you and your baby. This might have a direct consequence on your ankles and fluid as fluids tend to accumulate there because of the law of gravity. You can reduce water retention in your feet by not standing or sitting for a longer period of time. Also, try and keep your legs elevated when lying down in order to tackle swelling efficiently. Avoid wearing tight shoes and opt for comfortable and slightly lose shoes. Switch to slipper as soon as you come back home. Totally avoid tight socks or pantyhose as they can totally disrupt your healthy blood flow. The trick is to let the fluid flow freely in order to minimise swelling in your lower extremities.
- Stuffy nose: High levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body can even boost up your blood flow to your mucous membrane of your body, including your nose which leads to softening up and swelling often. Using a warm-mist humidifier will help you in easing up your breathing!
- Pain in the legs: If you tend to feel a snuggly, but periodic, pain in your legs then it is most likely because your baby is putting pressure on the sciatic nerve – a nerve that runs right from the under of your uterus to the legs. In order to relieve the period pain in your legs, try warming it with a heating pad or using back stretches to ease the pain.
- The shape of your navel changes: During the 20th week of pregnancy, you might see that your inner belly navel morphs into an outer navel. This happens just because your uterus is pushing your abdomen forward. Do note that these changes are totally temporary, and as soon as you will give birth to your baby, soon after that your navel will go back to its original shape.
What do the experts suggest?
“The 20th week of the pregnancy is the midpoint of your entire journey. By this week you are able to feel the movements of your baby more strongly. Your nails and hair start growing faster than usual. The common symptoms experienced during this week include indigestion, nausea, dizziness, leg cramps, heartburns and edema.
Your appetite restores to normal or it might increase as well. Food cravings might differ from one pregnancy to another. By this week you witness regular routine of eating. Enjoy foods that are high in nutritional values. Also, try to do kegel exercises which are simple exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to help you prepare for your delivery.”
Dr.Birbala Rai, M.B.B.S., M.S. in Obstetrics & gynaecology, Senior Consultant at PSRI Hospital, New Delhi
Seasonal Pregnancy Care
Summer – Carry a cute handmade fan with your wherever you go and try and stay in cool shades during peak summer hours. Cover your head with a dupatta or scarf whenever you have to go outside. You should make it a point to go for outside walks only when it is relatively cooler outside, say early morning or late at night.
Monsoon –Your body hygiene holds prime importance during the wet and humid monsoon seasons. Make sure to bathe a minimum of twice in a day with neem water. Keep your skin hydrated by spraying rose water on your face. Do dry yourself well after a shower and keep your umbrella, raincoat, socks and footwear clean. Ensure they are fully dried and free from moisture before you any sort of clothing or monsoon accessory, as wet objects in monsoon especially can be a ground for germs and moulds. And yes, most importantly, avoid coming in contact with an individual who is suffering from conjunctivitis or a seasonal viral infection.
Winter – However tempted you might be, avoid giving in to the idea of saunas and hot tubs during winter and just feel relaxed by a warm, deep bath. Exposing your body to extra hotness might make your already extra sensitive body prone of dizziness and faintness. Not only this, some research has also shown that high body temperature during pregnancy might also interfere with your baby’s development of nervous system. Apart from this, when wearing woollens make it a point to wear woollens made of wool or fleece. Make sure the outer layer of your sweater is waterproof and accessorise enough in the form of scarves, socks, hats and gloves.
| Jul 21, 2017
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