20th Week of Pregnancy: Changes, Symptoms, Foods & Care Tips

Congratulations! Week 20 marks the milestone of completing half of your pregnancy. There are only 20 more weeks until you meet your baby for the first time. It seems only a few days ago that you found out about your pregnancy and it is already halfway complete.

By this week, your baby has grown considerably and it will only continue to develop and mature. You will start to notice a lot of changes in your body and your weight.

What can you expect in the 20th week?

  • The feeling of tiredness will continue even through this week. 
  • Your little one will crave more food, thereby making you hungry.
  • Your breasts will start getting heavier now and will enlarge in size.
  • Leg cramps and heartburn can be extremely common.

Common pregnancy symptoms in week 20

By now the annoying early pregnancy symptoms must have faded away considerably. Your energy and sex drive both have probably reintroduced themselves in your life. But there are always some pesky symptoms or the other that will be there to bother you throughout your pregnancy. This week such symptoms will include:

Swelling of hands or feet

This condition is also known as Edema. Don’t worry if this swelling isn’t sudden, severe or extremely uncomfortable. However, if it is a sudden change after headaches then consult your doctor right away. Keep your feet elevated whenever you can and wear comfortable shoes.

Heartburn

This pesky symptom is very common during pregnancy. If you feel every bite is setting your guts on fire, then try the simple home remedies of eating slowly and chewing thoroughly, sitting up straight after meals, eating smaller and frequent servings than one big meal, and sleeping with your head propped up, etc.

Nose bleeds and stuffy nose

This is another symptom that you may have started experiencing already or it may happen this week. This symptom happens due to excess pressure on your veins in the nasal cavity. Keep an ice pack handy to stop the bleeding. You may even apply pressure and tilt your head up for 5 minutes to stop the bleeding. You may even start to snore nowadays due to the swollen mucous membrane.

Leg cramps

This can be a sign of dehydration. So you need to increase your water intake and stretch regularly.

Constipation

As your uterus is expanding it is going to put a lot of pressure on other organs including your intestines. This pressure could lead to constipation. Include fiber-rich food in your diet and hydrate with lots of glass of water to improve the situation. This symptom is common in the 13th week of pregnancy as well. 

Forgetfulness

You are probably experiencing the case of what is called pregnancy brain. Most women suffer from forgetfulness during pregnancy. It could be due to stress or biological predisposition or even due to a decline in the brain cell ratio that happens during pregnancy.

Heavy breathing

Pregnancy hormones may cause your lungs to get filled with fluid which makes breathing difficult. This problem will later subside when your expanding uterus puts pressure on your diaphragm. 

Increased appetite

It is okay to indulge in a bit of chocolate sometimes but it is very important to keep an eye on your diet. Maintain a diet rich in proteins and nutritious carbohydrates and fats. Avoid trans-fat foods and foods with high sugar levels. Eat small servings and at regular intervals to keep your appetite in check. Increased appetite starts right from the Second week of Pregnancy. 

Increased discharge

The thin and milky vaginal discharge, called Leukorrhea, will continue this week. It is your body’s way of preventing vaginal infection, so don’t wash it away. Consult your doctor if this discharge is colored, bloody, or has a bad odor.

Occasional Headaches

You might notice your headaches coming back when you are in a stuffy environment or when you are overheated. Take a few fresh-air breaks at regular intervals throughout the day. Also, you should dress comfortably in loose-fitting apparel to prevent getting overheated. 

Backache

With expanding uterus and rapidly growing baby, your body is under a lot of pressure. This causes the muscles in your back to start aching and makes it painful. You can wear low-heeled shoes, do some gentle exercises such as stretching your back and you can even wear a belly support band to ease your discomfort.

Belly button comes outward

Your cute belly button may transform into an outie. This is because your uterus is expanding and it is pushing the abdomen forward. The navel goes back to being an innie after delivery.

Some other symptoms that may persist are dizziness, indigestion and bloating, and oral problems.

Your Baby’s Development in Week 20

By this week, your baby’s reproductive system is significantly developed. If your baby is a female then now your baby has millions of egg cells in her ovary. The number of eggs is the highest around this week. This number will start to decrease from now on and it will continue to go down throughout the life of your child.

If your baby is a male then his testes are in the abdomen and they’re preparing to move down to the inguinal area. The testes normally descend to the scrotum around the third trimester. The other developments will include:

  • The baby’s skin is no longer completely translucent but different layers are beginning to develop which will later become the human skin. In the coming weeks, your baby will continue to be more pigment.
  • The hair follicles will continue to get longer.
  •  The sweat glands are beginning to form by now. 
  • The gallbladder has already started producing bile. 
  • Your baby is now quickly developing sensors and various reflexes. 
  • The limbs of your baby have grown considerably and your baby e is now a thumb sucker. Your baby will practice sucking thumb if it can find the thumb. 
  • The brain of your baby is also growing and developing. 
  • The sleep cycle of your baby is also becoming regular. Be careful, as your baby can now hear sounds, any loud noise can wake them up. 

Size of your baby

Your 20 weeks old baby is now approximately 16 cm long from its head to rump or coccyx and around 25 cm long from the head to toe. Your baby weighs approximately 0.3 kg and is about the size of a grapefruit or a large-sized banana. During this 5th month of your pregnancy, your baby will continue to grow by approximately 1 cm per week. 

Body of the mother at week 20

From this week you will probably start to feel the punches and kicks off your baby now that your baby has started moving around in your uterus. The process of feeling your baby’s movements is also known as quickening. Few changes are similar to the Fifteenth week of Pregnancy.

Both the timing and the sensation tend to vary across women and that is why it is rightly said that every pregnancy is unique on its own. You are also likely to start detecting rhythmic jerking in your belly which will indicate that your baby is hiccuping in your womb. 

Pregnant belly at week 20

If you have a prenatal appointment during this week then your doctor will measure the distance between your pubic bone and the top of your uterus. The uterus is also known as fundus and this fundal height measurement provides information regarding the growth of your baby. Around week 20, the top of your uterus will reach the navel. Your fundal height by now would be around 18 to 22 cms. 

Fun fact: The fundal height in centimeters is also roughly equivalent to the number of weeks that you are pregnant. By week 20, your uterus has expanded approximately to the size of a melon or a cantaloupe. Also during this week you are slowly and gradually gaining weight.

You probably have gained over 10 pounds by now. Keep an eye on your weight gain. Your doctor will provide you with the recommended weight gain according to your BMI.

20 weeks ultrasound

If you haven’t had it yet, you will have probably your second prenatal check-up this week. The second prenatal checkup is generally known as a dating scan because it provides a reliable idea of the expected due date and your doctor will also confirm the number of babies that you have in your womb. 

This scan is also sometimes known as an anomaly scan because it provides a detailed picture of the baby’s appearance and other developments. During this scan, your baby’s growth and progress will be measured. The doctor will check the development of major organs. The fetal heart rate, placenta location, and the amniotic fluid will also be checked. 

You may get a chance to see your baby make movements and adorably yawn or make facial movements during this scan. During this time your technician will be able to inform you about the sex of your baby with greater certainty.

Sex at week 20 of pregnancy

It is again the same suggestion this week. If your doctor doesn’t advise you otherwise, it is safe to have sex during pregnancy. Sex during this phase of pregnancy will not increase the chances of miscarriage or premature labor. While some couples continue to engage in regular sex, some couples don’t feel up to it. You and your partner may also explore different ways to get intimate. 

The later pregnancy months and the postpartum phase are often stressful with very little opportunity for romance and intimacy. Therefore, now would be the best time to make time for romance. Before that baby bump becomes too big, now would be the time to plan an intimate getaway. 

Tips and reminders for week 20

  • In addition to eating fresh and healthy, include iron in your diet. Foods such as beans, soy, oats, barley, dried fruits, spinach, etc., are rich in iron. If you suffer from iron deficiency, talk to your doctor about iron supplements. Try eating smaller meals to reduce heartburn. Also drinking lots of fluid and hydrating is mandatory.
  • You have to keep exercising but only moderately. Avoid jumping or bouncing, backbends, dancing, and other moves that may make you overheated.
  • Try to sleep on your sides to boost circulation.
  • As your baby has already developed the ability to hear your voice, start collecting baby books to read to your baby. Be wary of loud noises as it can potentially wake up the sleeping baby in your womb.
  • Plan a trip or getaway with your partner to indulge in some romance. Bring your partner to the checkups and appointments so that they feel more connected with the baby.
  • Spend a good time with the loved ones
  • Invest in a belly band.
  • If you know the gender of your baby, start working on the final baby name list and the nursery.
  • Talk to your employer about maternity leave.
  • Schedule your 24-week prenatal check-up.

Here are Important Frequently Asked Questions for 20th Week Pregnancy Tips

How many months is week 20?

In week 20, you are in the fifth month of pregnancy. It is the second month of your second trimester. 

How many weeks to go?

Only 20 weeks to go. You are already halfway there

Can I hear my baby’s heartbeat?

Yes, if you get your second prenatal ultrasound in week 20. You will hear very fast, almost twice than yours, heartbeats of your baby.

Can I feel the baby’s movement at week 20?

Your baby has started moving the tiny arms and jerking the legs and you may be able to feel them. However, most first-time pregnant mothers mistake the initial subtle baby flutters for gas or muscle twitches. If you get an ultrasound in week 20, you will also see your baby moving around and probably sucking on its tiny fingers. 

When to call the doctor in 20th Week?

You should call your doctor if you experience severe nausea, bleeding, severe stomach pains, fluid leakage, or blurred vision. Seek medical help if you feeling overwhelmed by your pregnancy or suffering from anxiety. If you start to feel your baby moving every day and then notice no movement for about 12 hours, even though it might be nothing but still it will be best to call your doctor and get a check-up.

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