Week 20 of pregnancy

Week 20 of pregnancy

Article reviewed by Dr. Anca Panaitescu, specialist obstetrics-gynecologist, Clinical Hospital Philanthropy

Week 20 of pregnancy marks the middle of pregnancy. You're halfway there - congratulations! You probably feel great, you are full of energy and you got rid of the distressing symptoms of the first trimester. Those around you begin to notice that you are pregnant as your belly grows. The bottom of your uterus has now probably reached the navel, and you have weighed about 3-4 kilos. Expect to gain weight on average 450-500 grams per week from now on.

How big is the baby in the 20th week of pregnancy

This week, your baby is the size of a banana, weighing approximately 270-300 grams. It measures about 15 centimeters in length cranio-caudal and about 25 centimeters from head to heel.

In the first weeks of pregnancy, the doctor measures the distance from the head crest to the fetus coccyx (CRL or the cranio-caudal length), and from the second trimester of pregnancy the fetus is measured by measuring other parameters (diameter of the fetal head, abdomen circumference, bone length). thigh).

Pregnancy at 20 weeks: how your baby grows

If you have not yet felt the baby's movements in your tummy, now you will surely feel them. These feel like beating the wings of a butterfly or as weak pulses repeated in your lower abdomen. The fact that you feel the movements of your baby will bring you a unique feeling of happiness and will make you attach yourself even more to your tummy and the future baby.

Write down the date you first felt it and tell the doctor at the next consultation.

A greasy white substance called vernix caseosa begins to cover the entire body of your baby to protect its skin during the long period of time it is immersed in the amniotic fluid (this slippery coat also eases its passage through the birth canal). In the absence of this substance, the skin of the fetus, and so fragile, would wrinkle and be affected by the surrounding fluid.

Under vernix protection, the skin of the fetus begins to thicken and develops several layers. These include the epidermis (the most superficial layer), the dermis (the middle layer, which forms 90% of the skin) and the hypodermis (the deepest layer of the skin, consisting mainly of fat). At this point the skin is still quite transparent and thin.

Your baby now swallows more fluid, which is a good exercise for his digestive system. The ingested fluid reaches the stomach, is absorbed into the circulation, then reaches the kidneys, after which it is excreted in the urine; thus the amniotic fluid recirculates. The face also produces meconium, an opaque, sticky substance that is made up of dead cells, digestive secretions and swallowed amniotic fluid. However, it will not be removed until after the birth, representing the first baby seat.

Hair and nails continue to grow. He already looks very good with a baby, has eyebrows, hair on the head and well-developed limbs.

Around this week, most doctors recommend performing the morphological ultrasound of the second trimester, which has the role of detecting possible anomalies of the fetus. During this ultrasound, the organs and systems of the fetus are thoroughly evaluated.

Read: What the baby looks like in your tummy week 20 of pregnancy?

What you need to know: Every baby develops slightly differently - even in your body. Our information is intended to give you a general idea about the development of your baby.

How many months is 20 weeks pregnant?

20 weeks means 5 months of pregnancy, the period being considered the middle of pregnancy.

What is happening in your body during the 20th week of pregnancy

As the tummy enlarges, the skin of the abdomen is stretched so that local itching and stretch marks may occur. Use a moisturizer to prevent discomfort.

As for eating, you may have already found that you eat more than when you were pregnant.

A woman with an average Body Mass Index (BMI), ie normal weight, should accumulate between 11 and 16 kilograms. A woman with a high BMI, which is slightly overweight, may receive a doctor's recommendation to gain between 7 and 11 kilograms, and a woman with a low BMI may recommend between 13 and 18 kilograms.

Choose healthy foods, but give way to cravings, you're just pregnant. Don't overdo it, though!

Make sure you get enough iron in your food, which is especially important for the production of hemoglobin (that part of the red cells that has the role of carrying oxygen). During pregnancy, your body needs more iron to develop the fetus and placenta and to keep up with the increased blood volume.

Foods rich in iron are:

  • Beef, lamb, liver, dark-colored chicken;
  • sardines;
  • Cereals fortified with iron;
  • Integral bread;
  • Grain vegetables: peas, lentils, beans;
  • Green vegetables: broccoli, salad, green onion, spinach;
  • Cashew nuts;
  • Sunflower seeds;
  • Dried fruits: peaches, plums;
  • Baked potatoes;
  • Eggs.

The liver is high in iron, but some doctors recommend limited use because it contains large amounts of vitamin A. Excess vitamin A can be harmful to the developing fetus. Beta carotene, however, which is also a type of vitamin A, and found in carrots, is safe even in large quantities.

Liver paste is not recommended in pregnancy because it is one of the foods that can cause listeria infection, a bacterium that can be harmful to the fetus. Delicates from properly prepared meat, such as smoked ham, raw salami, smoked salmon, are not recommended for the same reason.

In most cases, pregnant women who have a balanced diet will not need to take iron supplements. Some pregnant women, however, have problems with assimilating iron in their diet and will need supplements to avoid getting sick and protecting the baby. Many pregnant women are diagnosed with anemia in the second part of pregnancy. At birth, the pregnant woman loses about 500-1000 ml of blood, which can worsen anemia. Therefore, some doctors recommend iron supplementation in pregnancy.

Common symptoms at 20 weeks of pregnancy

As the pregnancy progresses, it will be harder to rest all night. There are many reasons that prevent you from having a good sleep. You will notice that it will be more difficult for you to sleep on your back, that you have to wake up at least once a night to go to the bathroom, that you have a stuffy nose, that insomnia may occur, that in certain positions your joints will ache and so on. . The problem can become really upsetting in the last quarter, so it is important to get some sleep discipline from now on.

Here are some things that can affect your sleep and some tips to avoid:

• Snoring. You may start snoring for the first time in your life, because of hormones that cause nasal hypersecretion and partially block the airways.

What you can do: Lie on one side with your head slightly raised and hydrate properly.

• Epigastric pain (pain in the upper abdomen), burns and indigestion caused by hormones and compression of the pregnant uterus can exacerbate the discomfort caused by lying down.

What you can do: try to sleep semi-comfortably in a comfortable chair or cushioned on the bed. Avoid eating too much in the evening or eating late, near bedtime.

• Muscular cramps in the legs can be so intense that they wake you from a deep sleep. This is because the muscles in your legs "protest" against the extra weight you have to carry.

What you can do: Relieve tension by stretching your feet, first your heels and then gently flexing your fingers in front. Ask your partner to massage you or put hot water bottles under your leg muscles. The doctor may recommend vitamins and minerals supplements for this problem. Announce it to the next control.

• You get up and suck all night trying to find a comfortable sleeping position.

What you can do: Try sleeping with a pillow between your legs or use a special pillow created for pregnant women. An optimal sleeping position is on one side, especially on the left. It is considered beneficial for baby's blood feeding. Many pregnant women report that they manage to sleep with a pillow between their legs, one under the belly and one in the arms!

• You have heat and sweat during the night. It is common for pregnant women to feel warmer due to changes in hormone metabolism and weight.

What you can do: Keep your bedroom cool and dress as needed - which can include a special bra and a belt that helps support your breasts and growing tummy. Keep some slippers and a bathrobe handy in case you need to go to the toilet.

• Getting out of bed is more difficult than ever!

What you can do: Turn left and lower your legs first. When your feet reach the floor, use your arms to sit on the edge of the bed. Then you get up.

• Wear a pajama or nightgown made of natural fibers such as cotton. Avoid synthetics that maintain moisture on the skin and create a feeling of moisture and coolness.

Also, if you have insomnia, try the following methods:

• Avoid caffeine after lunch;

• Try to drink a cup of warm milk sweetened with honey before bedtime; if you do not tolerate milk, drink chamomile tea sweetened with honey (however, avoid chamomile tea in the first trimester of pregnancy);

• If dreams that seem very real wake you up, try writing them down in a journal before going to bed; it is known that pregnant women have strange dreams, so do not scare you, you are not alone!

• Eat foods that contain tryptophan, magnesium and / or melatonin (all known for their ability to induce sleep); examples include: potatoes, turkey, almonds, cereals, cheese, fish, eggs, honey and bananas;

• Some women sleep better in the semi-sitting position;

• Try to use a sock filled with hot rice or a bottle of hot water (or ice cubes) when your back or hip hurts.

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Analysis and investigations in week 20 of pregnancy

Between weeks 18 and 22 of pregnancy, your doctor may recommend a thorough ultrasound evaluation of the fetus for fetal abnormalities (morphology ultrasound of the second trimester).

However, starting with the 20th week of pregnancy, the doctor may still use a method to check the development of the baby, namely measuring the height of the uterus.

The height of the uterine bottom is the distance from the pubic bone to the end of the uterus. In centimeters, the height of the uterus should generally match the number of weeks of pregnancy, plus minus two centimeters. For example, at 20 weeks the height of the uterus should be between 18 and 22 centimeters. A height that does not fit in this pattern could indicate (but not in all cases) the existence of a condition such as gestational diabetes, a problem related to development or a reverse positioning of the fetus.

If your doctor finds that the height of your uterus is not what you should be, he may recommend further analyzes and investigations.

What to do in week 20 of pregnancy

If you have not already registered for prenatal courses, you will probably want to see what this is all about. Even if you are pregnant for the first time or you were born again, you can benefit from structured courses that can help you prepare for the difficulties of labor and birth.

Also read: List of things to do in week 20 of pregnancy

Most hospitals and maternal centers offer structured courses either in the form of weekly classes or as an intensive session throughout the day. Ask the doctor to recommend such courses or enter the prenatal courses section.

At 37 weeks it is considered that you are on time, so plan everything so that you finish the courses by then.

Week 19 of pregnancy | Week 21 of pregnancy

Tags Pregnancy weeks Pregnancy nutrition Sleep pregnancy Second trimester of pregnancy