In this article
At week 20, the uterus is already in line with the pregnant woman’s navel and the top of the uterus will grow towards the rib cage at a rate of 1 centimeter per week. This is also the best week for parents to start putting together for the baby registry.
The mother in week 20
A pregnant woman will notice that her nails are getting stronger and her hair grows thicker and lustrous than usual. This is because the pregnancy hormones are furnishing more nutrients to the hair and nail cell. However, this will end after labor.
Week 20 symptoms
At week 20, below are the following symptoms a mother-to-be is expected to experience:
Extreme hunger or increased appetite is the female body’s way to nurture 2 bodies at the same time during pregnancy.Pregnancy week by week
Pregnancy-induced heartburn happens when the muscles at the top of the stomach (esophagus) relaxes due to the increased levels of progesterone. When the muscles are relaxed, the gastric acid splashes back to the esophageal valve up to the throat.
Colon congestion (widely known as constipation) happens in pregnancy because the gastrointestinal muscles are relaxed. This is also caused by the increased levels of progesterone.
The occurrence of occasional headaches during pregnancy is also caused by the pregnancy hormones. Aside from that, below are the other causes of this symptom:
- Pregnancy fatigue
- Extreme hunger
- Nasal congestion
Leg cramps occur when the blood vessels are compressed. Apart from that, below are the various theories that causes the symptom:
- Pregnancy fatigue
- Pregnancy weight gain
- Excessive intake of phosphorus
- Lack of calcium
- Lack of magnesium
- Pregnancy hormones
Innie belly button becomes an outie
The belly button (navel) which is used to be an innie becomes an outie in week 19. This happens because of the rapid expansion of uterus which pushes the belly forward.
Leukorrhea (also called as vaginal discharge) increases due to the high levels of estrogen. This hormone increases bloodflow to the pelvic area and stimulates the mucous membranes.
Dizziness during pregnancy stems from a lot of causes such as:
- Insufficient blood supply to fill up a rapidly expanding circulatory system
- Expanding uterus pressures the blood vessels
- Increased bloodflow towards the baby and vice versa which in turn, drains bloodflow to the brain
- Low blood sugar
Edema (widely known as swollen feet and ankles sometimes, even hands as well) occurs when the body fluids increased to nurture pregnancy and accumulate the tissues.
In addition to that, edema is also caused by the increased bloodflow and pressure of the growing uterus in the pelvic veins and the vena cava (large vein on the right side of the body that circulates blood from the lower limbs to the heart.
Shortness of breath
As the uterus expands, it pushes and takes up the space of the lungs. Thus, shortness of breathing occurs. This symptom usually strikes during the 3rd trimester.
High energy and libido
Gone are the days of feeling over-fatigue and, nausea and vomiting. Since a pregnant woman’s energy is back, this means she is back in the game of having a high libido (sex drive).
Since a pregnant woman is currently in the mood of having sex, her sensitive cervix is in the risk of getting irritated. This is because the cervix is more sensitive during pregnancy.
Round ligament pain
Round ligament pain is widely known as abdominal achiness. As the uterus expands, the ligaments which supports the belly stretches and thins out to accommodate the growing baby. The ligaments are being pulled to its limit, thus the round ligament pain.
Rapid weight gain
Rapid weight gain happens because the female body is carrying another live human being inside her.
A mother-to-be feels itchy all the time because her skin becomes dry and stretched during pregnancy.
A pregnant woman will most likely be infected with fever in week 20. This is because her body is currently vulnerable to viruses and germs.
Pregnancy-induced brain fog
Pregnancy-induced brain fog (widely known as being forgetful) is when she experiences memory lapses. Apart from that, below are the following sources of forgetfulness:
- Lack of sleep
- Physical and emotional stress
The baby in week 20
If a pregnant woman is carrying a girl, her uterus is fully formed and her vaginal canal is beginning to develop.Plus, she already houses atleast 7 million egg cells in her tiny ovaries now.
On the other hand if she’s carrying a boy, his testicles are still located in the abdomen waiting for the scrotum to finish its development so they will have a place to drop into.
Apart from these, below are the step-by-step procedures which takes place in week 20:
- The growing baby measures about 6.5 – 10 inches long from crown-to-heel and weighs around 9 – 10.2 ounces. By now, he constantly moves and wiggles in-uteor. He is also adding more weight this week and throughout the pregnancy journey. In a like manner, the baby still needs a lot of development and maturity. But there is no need to worry since the journey is halfway done.
- The baby’s body has a more proportionate physique, with his elongated arms and legs which balances out his head.
- Sweat glands are beginning to form.
- Immunities are beginning to transfer from the mother to the developing baby.
- His entire skin is coated with vernix caseosa, a white and cheesy substance which prevents the baby’s delicate skin from getting irritated or chapped. Vernix is a Latin word for varnish while Caseosa is a Latin word for cheese.
- The connections between the brain and the baby’s sensory responses are now fully established.
- The baby’s facial features are already functioning. In line with this, his eyes and ears are already in their respective positions.
- Regarding the ears, the baby is already identifying voices and hearing noises in-utero such as – blood rushing around, air circulating in and out the lungs, heartbeat, and stomach grumbles. A protective coating made up of fat and protein called the myelin sheath begins to cover the nerve endings. Did you know that if a person lacks of myelin sheath will lead to loss of movement? This sheath aids in the quick transmission of nerve impulses from the baby’s brain up to his ears.
- This is the week where the baby’s eyelids are going to open.
- Fingernails and toenails continually takes form.
- Hair on his scalp continually grows.
- The baby’s taste buds begins to function.
- The baby is now swallowing and gulping down several ounces of amniotic fluid each day unlike last week. After the baby takes in the fluid, his body absorbs the water in the liquid and moves the remains into the bowel. These movements serves as a good practice for his digestive system.
- The baby begins to accumulate meconium, a sticky by-product which is made up of digestive secretions and amniotic fluid. This will later be in the baby’s first ever fecal waste after conception.
Pregnancy tips for Week 20
The pregnancy journey is halfway done there and all a mother-to-be needs to do is to take care of herself and be mindful with what she eat and what she does. Below are the following things she needs to consider doing while pregnant.
Things to do during the 20th week of pregnancy
Calf and back massage
When leg cramps occur, ask the spouse to give her a calf and back massage to ease the pain and discomfort.
Wear maternity clothing
Opt to choose maternity clothing that are loose fitting and easy-to-shed layers.
Get plenty of iron
The growing baby needs enough iron supply to make red blood cells (RBCs), that is why it is necessary for a pregnant woman to get plenty of iron. Aside from taking iron supplements, below are the following foods that are rich in iron:
- Lean meat
- Iron-fortified cereals
Aside from having a massage, a pregnant woman could stretch her calf muscles before going to bed and waking up in the morning to minimize the cramping.
Prop up on pillows
Pregnancy is accompanied with a lot of body pain, to alleviate the severity. Prop up on pillows under the stomach and between the legs. Especially when the following body parts are aching:
- Hip pain
- Round ligament pain
Drink for atleast 8 glasses daily. Staying hydrated during pregnancy is necessary, it brings a lot of benefits such as:
- Prevents pregnancy-induced heartburns
- Reduces the occurrence of leg cramps
- Prevents colon congestion
- Washes away excess sodium and waste products
- Minimizes edema
- Flushes out toxins in the body
Starting at week 20, a pregnant woman is recommended to have her fundal weight measured. A fundal weight is the distance of the pubic bone up to the top of the uterus every pre-natal visit.
Attend childbirth classes
For first-time mothers, she must consider attending childbirth classes. This is to educate herself about child labor and calm her anxieties.
Hire a doula
A doula is a person who lends support to mother-to-bes and their families, Hiring a doula provides encouragement and information throughout her pregnancy journey, childlabor and birth.
What to avoid in week 20
Caffeinated food and beverages
Caffeine is a diuretic which is very harmful during pregnancy. It interrupts the sleeping cycle of both parties. Plus, it can contribute to birth defects. Aside from coffee, below are the following food and beverages which consists of caffeine:
- Chocolate bars
Vices are strictly prohibited for pregnant women as it can cause harm on both parties. Below are the following vices she must consider avoiding:
- Smoking cigarettes
- Drinking alcoholic beverages
- Taking illegal drugs
To prevent the occurrence of the said symptom, avoid heartburn-trigger foods such as:
- Highly-seasoned food
- Spicy foods
- Greasy and/or fatty foods