Congratulations! You are halfway to meeting your baby. It seems like it was only yesterday when you got that positive pregnancy test. And now, your baby is swimming around in your belly, and they’ll be here before you know it!
At 20 weeks pregnant, you’re near the end of your 5th month of pregnancy. Only 20 more weeks left to go before your due date! As your baby grows bigger inside your womb, there are still lots of changes going on in your body. Read on to find out more about what you can expect when you’re 20 weeks pregnant.
Your 20-week baby has grown a lot, but it still has enough space to do somersaults and jumps inside your womb. Baby's legs have almost straightened, so from now on, he/she will be measured from head to toe.
If you hadn’t been able to feel your baby’s movements before, week 20 of your pregnancy could change things. Your 20-week baby has grown a lot, so their movements will become more obvious during this week.
Your baby is now practically fully formed. In the coming weeks, it will mostly keep growing and gaining weight. Getting stronger is essential for your baby before it comes into the word. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no exciting fetal development at 20 weeks pregnant!
How big is your baby at 20 weeks pregnant?
The size of your 20-week baby is comparable to a large banana or a bell pepper. The 20-week baby weighs 10.6 oz (0.3 kg). This week, he/she is about 6.3 in (16 cm) from the top of the head to the coccyx and about 9.8 in (25 cm) from head to toe. Your baby will gain approximately 1 centimeter in length each week during this month.
Pregnancy week 20 fetal development
Your baby’s senses and reflexes are developing quickly. Your baby is breathing, sucking, and swallowing constantly now. Inside the womb, your 20-week baby’s limbs have grown longer. If your baby finds his or her thumb, they’ll even start practicing how to suck their thumb!
Your 20-week baby’s brain is also growing fast. They now respond to different noises, such as your voice or different songs. Your little one’s sleep cycle is becoming more defined, and loud noises could wake them up. Your baby can even get the hiccups now! This could manifest in a rhythmic flurry of fetal movements.
The baby’s skin was completely translucent up until a few weeks ago. Now, the different layers that make up human skin are beginning to form. That means that your baby’s skin will become more pigmented and less translucent in the coming weeks.
Well hello there, baby bump! Your 20-week pregnant belly is more noticeable than ever. By now, those uncomfortable first trimester symptoms are long gone. You’ll even start to experience some positive 20-week pregnant symptoms!
20 weeks pregnant belly
Fun fact: between weeks 20 and 30, your baby bump will have the same size in centimeters as your current week of pregnancy. So from your pubic bone to the top of your bump, your belly should be measuring 20 cms now. This is called the fundal height.
At 20 weeks pregnant, your uterus is approximately the size of a cantaloupe or a melon. If you touch the top of your belly, you’ll notice that your uterus now reaches your belly button.
20 weeks pregnant symptoms
Listed below are some of the 20-week pregnant symptoms that you can expect:
- Constipation: your growing uterus is putting more pressure on your bowels. This, combined with pregnancy hormones, can slow down your intestinal traffic.
- Stronger hair and nails: the hormones that caused all your morning sickness during the earlier weeks of your pregnancy have other effects. Your hair is fuller and thicker, and your nails are getting thicker. You won’t be shedding hair during your pregnancy, which is why it looks so full right now. Enjoy these months, because hair shedding will return to normal after delivery.
- Swollen feet or ankles: this is normal as long as the swelling is mild. Severe or sudden swelling can be a symptom of preeclampsia and should be evaluated by a doctor.
- Lower back pain: your 20 weeks pregnant weight gain can cause some back pain at the end of the day.
- Forgetfulness: some women refer to their newfound lack of concentration as “pregnancy brain”. It might sound crazy, but your brain cell volume actually decreases during pregnancy. Don’t worry, things will go back to normal after delivery!
- Heartburn or indigestion: your baby is putting more and more pressure over the rest of your abdominal organs. That can cause acid reflux, especially after meals.
- Shortness of breath: that same pressure is also reaching your lungs by now. Your growing uterus can make it harder for you to breathe comfortably. This can also cause some dizziness.
- Snoring: this could happen even if you’ve never snored before. Your mucous membranes are swelling due to your pregnancy hormones. This makes it more likely for you to snore.
- Increased vaginal discharge: your body is producing more discharge to get rid of any unwanted bacteria. As long as your discharge is clear, odorless, and doesn’t itch, it’s perfectly normal.
If you haven’t had it yet, you could be scheduled for your second-trimester ultrasound during this week. This ultrasound is done between weeks 18 to 22. Your 20-week ultrasound or “anomaly scan” will allow your doctor to look at the baby’s size, shape, heartbeat, and organs more clearly.
The doctor or ultrasound technician will take a detailed look at the baby’s heart, brain, spine, kidneys, stomach, intestines, and limbs. This will allow them to make sure that your baby doesn’t suffer from any physical abnormalities.
They will also check the baby’s size during your 20 weeks pregnant ultrasound. If you’re carrying twins or more babies, their heads will be measured to make sure their heads are all a similar size. If they’re not, different growth abnormalities will have to be ruled out.
Your placenta will also be examined. A low-lying placenta can be diagnosed at this stage. However, there’s still probably nothing to worry about. In most cases, your placenta will go up as your uterus grows bigger. And if the baby’s gender hasn’t been determined by now, your 20-week ultrasound will reveal whether you’re expecting a boy or a girl.
Your bump is getting bigger, so this is the perfect time to adopt some habits to make the rest of your pregnancy more comfortable.
- Wear a belly band: these bands resemble a tank top - without the straps - and they can help support your burgeoning baby bump.
- Avoid high heels: your feet are swelling and your legs are cramping. So it’s a good idea to give your feet a break and wear more comfortable shoes for a while.
- Eat smaller meals: try to keep your 20 weeks pregnant diet as healthy as possible. Additionally, eating smaller — but more frequent — meals can help you avoid acid reflux. This way, you’ll also maintain a steady nutrient stream for your baby.
- Involve your partner: whenever possible, it can be helpful to have your partner attend medical appointments and ultrasounds. This can help them feel more connected to the baby.
Sex at week 20 of pregnancy
You know what we’re going to say. Yes, you can have sex at week 20 of pregnancy. Studies have shown that sex is safe all throughout pregnancy and doesn’t increase the chance of miscarriage or premature delivery.
Week 20 of pregnancy can also be a good time to plan a romantic evening with your partner. You’re feeling more energetic, your bump isn’t too big yet, and that uncomfortable morning sickness is gone. Make your intimacy a priority, since late pregnancy and the postpartum period can be stressful for any couple.
- Schedule your 24-week appointment.
- Plan a weekend getaway or a trip with your partner or friends.
- Get a belly band.
- Think about baby names — now that you have a gender, these names could be a reality soon!
- Talk about maternity leave with your coworkers or boss.
- Enjoy some me time. This could be a spa day, a manicure, or getting a new haircut.
- Start planning your nursery or working on it!
Being halfway through your pregnancy can be a bit overwhelming! So much has happened already, and you still need to get everything ready before the baby comes. But it’s also important to take care of yourself, adapt to any new symptoms, and marvel at what your body is doing. Your 20-week baby will be bouncing in your arms soon!