20 weeks pregnant: what can I expect?
At 20 weeks you have reached the halfway mark in your pregnancy. The average gestation week is 40 weeks. After 37 weeks you can deliver the baby anytime, the due date you have been given is just a guesstimate. Simply put, after 37 weeks it’s considered you have carried your baby full term.
Your posture will change significantly throughout your pregnancy. As your belly grows, you will find yourself slouching or walking with your belly up front. This is because your center of gravity changes and to avoid discomfort you tend to slouch more. But slouching will lead to more back ache and other discomforts. Maintain good posture while sitting, standing and climbing stairs. You could easily use pillows or comfortable chairs to sit while at work.
Physical changes in you at week 20
- The placenta is called the after-birth. In a 20 week ultrasound scan there are chances your doctor might find you have a low lying placenta. After 28 weeks the lower part of your womb grows, because of this the placenta moves. Due to this in most cases a low lying placenta is not a problem.
- The top of your uterus will be in level with your belly button and you would have gained some weight this week. Expect to gain a kilogram in every two weeks from now on.
- Hemorrhoids and varicose veins are so common during this time that they are now considered pregnancy symptoms. They occur because of the hormonal and physical changes in your body. Preventing constipation is a good start to preventing hemorrhoids. Drink plenty of water and prune juice. Fruits and veggies are high in fiber and will prevent constipation. To prevent varicose veins avoid standing for too long and don’t cross your legs when you sit. Like most pregnancy symptoms varicose veins and hemorrhoids usually disappear after you deliver.
- Heat rashes are common during pregnancy and you might get them under your breasts. Combined with hormonal changes and an already overheated body, continuous friction can make your skin perspire and damp. The result is rashes on your skin. To prevent rashes wear cotton clothes. Another option is to use calamine lotion on affected areas. Perspiration is the root cause for rashes so it’s a good idea to dry your skin with a towel.
- Another downside of pregnancy is the appearance of dark spots on your face. This is caused by increased pigmentation due to hormonal changes. It’s often referred to as the mask of pregnancy and more than 70 percent of women get it. Increased pigmentation will make your skin sun sensitive. It’s important to wear a sunscreen with high SPF when you head outdoors.
- Dizziness is not uncommon during pregnancy. Your growing uterus will tend to put pressure on your blood vessels and make you dizzy. Standing too quickly, lying down for too long and not eating enough are all reasons that can increase your dizziness. To avoid feeling dizzy get up slowly and don’t spring up from your chair or bed.
Emotional changes in you at week 20
- Now that you have hit the halfway mark in your pregnancy, you may start getting anxious about labor. If this is your first baby you might feel more threatened because you don’t know what to expect. Speak to a midwife about your concerns or join antenatal classes to deal with any issues you might have.
- If you had an ultrasound this week, you might be over the moon looking at your baby’s face even though it was through a screen. Your head will be filled with images of all the wonderful things you are going to do when your baby arrives.
- Don’t blame your partner if he doesn’t feel as connected to the baby as you do. It’s only natural, because you are carrying the baby. He will be excited once he sees the baby kicking.
- A lot of women including you often walk putting their hand on their pregnant bellies. This is mostly done unconsciously. There’s a reason for doing it, it’s mostly an outward sign to guard the baby.
How’s my baby doing?
- This week your baby will measure 16.5 centimeters from crown to rump. Your baby’s skin will still be coated with vernix that will protect its skin from getting dry and from the amniotic fluid. The vernix is the coating you usually see on newborn babies.
- Your baby will be swallowing more this week and this is a good practice for its digestive system.
- Your baby’s ears are well developed by 20 weeks and its hearing is acute. Your baby can hear your voice when you talk to it. You might have noticed grandparents and relatives talking to pregnant bellies, because they know the baby can hear them.
- In the coming weeks your baby is going to be very active and it’s going to get hard for you to sleep.
Useful tips for you this week
- Celebrate reaching 20 weeks by pampering yourself. Indulge, by eating something you love.
- Continue eating fruits and veggies to deal with hemorrhoids.
- Use support stockings to prevent varicose veins.
- Pay attention to your posture to avoid back aches. Don’t try and be a super woman. Ask your partner to help you with all the heavy lifting.