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Week 20 Pregnancy (2nd Trimester): Symptoms, Baby Development (Size & Weight), and More

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By week 20 of pregnancy, you would have completed month 5 of pregnancy, and you have only 4 more months to go. This week, the baby is as big as a sweet potato or a banana, with its activities increasing day by day- kicking, punching, twisting, curling movements that can be felt by the mother as well.

The mother-to-be can check with her doctor on prenatal genetic testing done on or before the 20th week of pregnancy if she wants to go for it and check the genetic status of her fetus.  

While you march into month 5 of pregnancy, know more about the pregnancy symptoms, fetal developments, and tips in store this week further in the article. 

Also Read: Week 19 Pregnancy (2nd Trimester): Symptoms, Baby Development (Size & Weight), and More

Baby’s Development @ Week 20 of Pregnancy

With only 4 more months to go, your baby by week 20 is around 25.5 cm long, weighing nearly 300 gms. The thumb sucking, twisting, punching, kicking actions are keeping the baby engrossed. The other developments seen in the baby this week includes:

Waste generation from the digestive system

The fetal digestive system starts producing a greenish-black sticky waste called meconium (the baby’s first stool) which accumulates in its digestive tract. The baby will pass this stool the first few days after birth. 

Also Read: Leg Pain During Early Pregnancy: What does it indicate, and how can you reduce it? 

Sensitive ears

Your baby’s ears are getting sensitive to noise. It learns to respond and wake up to noises of the environment while developing a sleep-wake cycle responsive to the surrounding noises.

Mom-to-be @ Week 20 of Pregnancy

By this week, the mom-to-be can sense constant jerking movements- maybe the baby’s hiccups. And if you haven’t felt any of the baby’s movements yet, you can do it this week or the upcoming weeks.

Also Read: NT NB Scan During Pregnancy: What is It, When is It Done, What Will You Find Out from the Scan?

While you are registering the memorable activity milestones of your baby, you may experience the following pregnancy symptoms.

  • Hair and nail growth is faster than usual. The pregnancy hormones can fasten blood flow, pumping up the nutrient intake by hair and nail cells.
  • As the overall body muscles stretch during pregnancy to accommodate the growing baby. Stretch marks over the belly, hips, breasts are visible that gradually fade after delivery. 
  • Pigmentation spots, the mask of pregnancy, oily, greasy skin are high because of the changing hormones. Some women also get freckles when exposed to the scorching sun.
  • Appetite increases as the baby’s steady need for nutrient supply becomes paramount.
  • Heat burn, indigestion, abdominal bloating, and gas
  • Swelling of feet and ankles- Edema due to water retention
  • Cramping of legs
  • Accompanying backaches
  • Occasional headaches and dizziness

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Things to consider at Week 20 of Pregnancy

At week 20, you are halfway down the pregnancy journey, and it is more than reality as you feel the movements of your baby in the womb. Nonetheless, you will need to ensure continual nutrient supply to your little one and follow the below-given tips.

  • Your belly is growing. Keep a check on your nutritional intake. Maintain a good appetite. Inculcate small and frequent meals. And continue with your prenatal supplement intake. 
  • Include sufficient calcium, iron, vitamin D, Vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acid fortified foods or supplements during your pregnancy term. Talk with your doctor about your dietary requirements during pregnancy.  
  • Keep your feet in an elevated position as much as you can and have plenty of fluids to alleviate the cramping of your legs.
  • You must have healthy, fresh, and nutritious foods during pregnancy. Be wise and choose healthy food alternatives.
  • Including nuts and dried fruits while pregnant can lower the risk of many diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and oxidative stress. They are rich in vitamin E, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other vital minerals like copper, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and calcium. Having them in moderation can improve the child’s neurophysiological functions. 
  • Choose buying “non-comedogenic, unscented, oil-free, mineral-based, paraben-free” makeup and skincare products.  

What is the fundal height? When is it measured?

Fundal height is the measurement between the top of your pelvic bone to the upper part of your uterus. Your doctor will start measuring the fundal height during every prenatal visit from week 20 of pregnancy. Fundal height helps the doctor assess the fetal growth rate, size, and position during the second half of pregnancy. 

Can I get an anomaly scan or prenatal genetic testing done at week 20 of pregnancy?

An anomaly scan, 2D or 3D sonography to evaluate the normal functioning of the fetal organs, is done between week 18 to week 19 of pregnancy. Prenatal genetic testing or amniocentesis to eliminate Down’s syndrome, Patau’s syndrome, sickle cell anemia, and others can be performed anytime between week 16 to week 20 of pregnancy. Your doctor will recommend these tests and scans if you have a family history or had a previous child with genetic disorders or congenital deformities. Non-Invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) can also be a genetic diagnosis option after week 10 of pregnancy.  

Conclusion

At week 20 of pregnancy, while you begin the latter half of your pregnancy journey, take care of yourself, your eating habits, exercise regime, walks, and sleep routines. You may observe sudden aches in the claves or mild abdominal stretching pains as a part of normal pregnancy. However, you will need to seek immediate medical attention in case of intense and painful contractions accompanied by spotting or vaginal bleeding. 

 

Reference

Overview | NHS

Pooja N Swamy (M.Sc Biomedical Sciences)
Pooja Holds Master's Degree in Biomedical Sciences from Vellore Institute of Technology. She believes in strong research and clear understanding over the subject. Always determined and focussed with a thirst to learn new things. Hardworking, flexible and grounded to align with the goals.

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