20 Weeks Pregnant-A Complete Guide To Your 20th Week
You're halfway through your pregnancy already – it's all happening so fast. Not all women happily accept their changing body shape, even though they're overjoyed to be pregnant. But bump doesn't have to mean frump. You've got a good excuse to treat yourself to a few attractive maternity clothes or to indulge in some pampering, perhaps by having a gentle massage. Keep up your exercise routine, because you'll feel energized and all the better for it.'
Week 20 – Overview Of Development
Here are some of the changes that are happening during week 20 of your pregnancy-
- The developing brain is picking up electrical signals from the baby's body about sensations such as pressure and temperature. At this stage, a baby's nervous reactions are not conscious but simply reflexes
- Fingernails are beginning to grow. There's no danger of the baby scratching himself, as his skin is covered in vernix, a protective waxy coating
- In girl babies the ovaries have descended from the abdomen into the pelvis
- At 21 weeks the average crown to heel length is 26.7cm (10.5in) and the average weight is 360g (12.7oz)
- The baby is regularly swallowing the amniotic fluid in increasing amounts
- Now your baby should be about 8-10 inches tall and would weigh around 350 gms
- By now you should be feeling your baby's movements, which the doctors refer to as 'quickening'. That movement actually feels like butterflies fluttering inside your tummy
Your Baby's Development – Week 20
Did you know that your baby's stomach is now capable of absorbing most nutrients from the amniotic fluid (Amniotic fluid is a clear, slightly yellowish liquid that surrounds the fetus during pregnancy. It is contained in the amniotic sac. It is a protective layer and helps in bone growth and lung development) he's swallowing?
- When your baby swallows a bit of amniotic fluid for nutrition and hydration, he's also practicing swallowing and digesting—skills he will need when he is born
- Some experts say that by this week your baby has developed taste buds too - so chances are, if you eat cake, your baby's going to get a taste of it as well
Note: Most of your baby's nourishment is still coming directly from the placenta (The placenta is an important organ in the uterus of a pregnant woman that plays a crucial role in pregnancy. The main function of the placenta is to supply the baby with adequate nutrition).
Changes In You – Week 20
The baby's not the only one experiencing huge changes. It's time for you too, to say goodbye to your favourite heels and slip into comfortable footwear!
- With you carrying more weight, your centre of gravity has changed. Your ever-growing uterus will start affecting your fingers, toes, and other joints. They will loosen up, thanks to those pregnancy hormones
- Backaches may be your new friend. If you can, then indulge in prenatal massage given by a trained professional
- Noticed some red/purple marks on your tummy and thighs? Those stretch marks are a sign that your baby's growing inside your body and making space for himself. Good news is that these stretch marks are usually hereditary. So if your mom didn't get them, chances are your skin will be clear, too!
Lifestyle Changes – Week 20
Pregnancy may require you to make slight changes in your lifestyle.
- If you've been a regular at yoga, swimming, walks and other light exercises, you may continue doing them after consulting your doctor. But please be careful as you're more prone to injuries thanks to loosening of your joints
- While at work, try and keep your feet elevated, to avoid swelling. Also, support your back with an extra cushion. In case your work requires long hours of sitting, do take short breaks to stretch your legs to keep the blood circulation working smoothly
Nutrition – Week 20
The second trimester of pregnancy often marks the beginning of the kind of insatiable hunger. Your growing baby starts craving a variety of foods. But it's a myth that you need to eat for two.
- Stay hydrated. We may stress on this point every week, but it's necessary. You should ideally take about 8-10 glasses of water or other nourishing liquids every day. You can also introduce fresh coconut water in your diet
- Stock up on nutrients. You should now focus on eating healthier foods
- If you feel hungry, munch on some ground nuts or dry fruits instead of that oh-so-tempting bag of chips. It's best to avoid temptations
- If you're a vegetarian, eat all kinds of greens – palak, methi and pudina and soya. If you're a non-vegetarian you can eat eggs, chicken and fish
- Your doctor may ask you to up your protein intake in this trimester. Soya, eggs, chicken, fish, and all kinds of dal are rich in proteins
- Did you know that cholesterol is essential for keeping your placenta healthy? So tweak your diet in a way that you get maximum nutrients in a day
- Please do not skip your prenatal vitamins. Vitamins are very important for your baby's growth
Common Worries That The Expecting Mom Has
With excitement comes a little bit of worry too. It is not uncommon for expectant mothers to stress about something or the other during pregnancy.
- Stretch Marks: This week usually sees mothers worrying about those stretch marks. Once they appear on your body, the best way to treat them is by keeping your skin hydrated. Have lots of fluids and apply oil/stretch mark removal cream on those marks. Did you know a simple virgin coconut oil is your best bet?
- Baby Movements: Each pregnancy is different. A first time mother may not feel the baby movements just yet, whereas a second time mother would be fairly aware of the quickening. Keep calm and visit your doctor regularly for update on baby's movements
What Do Our Experts Say?
"Second trimester is the important period in a pregnant woman's life. If you're in this phase, keep a check on vaginal bleeding. Most women think vaginal bleeding is normal, but sometimes it can be a cause for concern. Never take it casually. Rush to your doctor immediately to rule out any complications."
Dr Sangeeta Malhotra, Medical Superintendent,
CGHS Maternity and Gynea Hospital, R. K. Puram, Delhi
It's always nice to share your thoughts and worries with other moms. Would you like to know what other mothers faced?
Himadri Gulati, 30, had a bicornuate uterus (The uterus has a wall inside and a partial split outside) which led her to a have a complicated pregnancy. She says, "I suffered from vaginal bleeding a couple of times in my pregnancy. I rushed to hospital and both the times it was nothing to worry about. It's best to rule out any complications rather than them lightly."
Alankrita Juneja, 27, an expectant mother shares her experience. "I had heard from my friends that baby movements are felt by this time, but till week 21 I did not realise that they were movements. I felt butterfly tingling in my tummy for a week, but towards end of week 22 they transformed into proper kicks! The feeling was just amazing!"
Seasonal Pregnancy Care
Pregnancy requires care, despite any season, but sometimes you need extra attention.
- Summer: Keep yourself hydrated during this season. Increase the intake of water, coconut water, and fresh juices in your diet and limit the intake of tea and coffee. It's best to wear cotton and linen clothes as these fabrics breathe better. You may feel slightly dizzy during this week so avoid standing in the sun for too long
- Monsoon: This weather can lead to oily skin, so invest in a good face wash. Also keep yourself safe from any type of allergies. Avoid drinking outside water as monsoon is a season that carries water borne diseases. Ensure that your house is free of mosquitoes as Dengue is a disease that knocks on most doors during this season. Get a good umbrella/raincoat and keep yourself safe from the rains. Do not wear closed footwear during this season as you can get fungal infection. Wear plastic shoes or gum boots instead
- Winter: For some, pregnancy can lead to dry skin and this situation can worsen in winters. So keep your skin and yourself well-hydrated in the season. Also, the coldness can add to the depression or pregnancy-related mood swings. So, catch up frequently with friends and family, go out with your spouse often, listen to cheerful music or watch chick-flicks to keep the mood upbeat
We wish you a happy, healthy pregnancy!
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