Being 20 weeks pregnant represents the middle of the 2nd trimester and the pregnancy. This is an easy period for most women because now the pregnancy isn`t affected too much. It`s also the perfect time to take trips or going on vacations, but you still need to be careful at your diet. It`s not recommended to consume foods from unsafe sources because an infection at this stage of the pregnancy, regardless of how severe it might be, can still be harmful for both you and the baby.
Now it`s the right time to think about the way you want to give birth no matter if we are talking about a normal pregnancy or one with complications. Such a planning will increase your confidence and will help you react better in case of emergencies. You can start to make breathing exercises which are very good for relaxation. Massages and gymnastics are also good, although the last may need supervision.
If by now you didn`t made a priority from taking the necessary tests specific to the stage of your pregnancy, now it`s the right time to do it. They`ll be able to detect any possible issues with your pregnancy.
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Changes with the Mother`s Body
The edge of the uterus is now at the level of your navel. You have probably gained around 4 – 5kg by now and you should expect to gain around 200 – 500g each week until the end of the pregnancy. You`ll gain more or less kilos depending on the weight you had before you remained pregnant. Your doctor will tell you with every prenatal consultation if you are in the normal limits of the pregnancy or if you need to adapt your diet and level of physical activities to have a healthy weight.
While the baby is growing, some women have trouble breathing properly because the lungs, as most of the organs, have less space to function. This isn`t a major issue, but it may turn into a discomfort at this stage of the pregnancy.
20 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms
Many women notice stretch marks on their skin and muscles and this is mostly because during this period the baby is continuing his development and needs more and more space. Other signs which appear (or continue) during this week are frequent urination, indigestion, burning and constipation.
However, these symptoms aren`t too severe, but can become more pronounced as the pregnancy progresses. Itching happens quite frequent at this point and appear because the skin tends to dry. It`s essential to drink lots of liquids even though you may feel heavy or bloated. Another cause for itching can be an adverse reaction of prenatal vitamins or a problem of the liver. If itching appears because of a change of the pH, you can put a cold compress over the affected area or you can make pasta using baking soda and water which you can then apply on that specific area. To prevent infections, you need to always be clean and dry.
How to Become Comfortable
As the pregnancy progresses, it may become more difficult to have a restful sleep because of the change within your body, some more obvious than others.
- You may start to snore for the first time (if it didn`t happened by now). This is mainly because of the increased level of estrogen which will cause a swelling of the nasal mucosa and will stimulate the mucus production.
- Heartburn will make it even less comfortable to lie down on your bed. To avoid heartburn, try to eat small portions of food more often – around 5-6 meals per day – and drink lots of liquids between meals. Try to avoid spicy, fatty or fried food as well as soft drinks or citrus juices, and wait at least 1 hour before going to sleep after eating. If these precautions won`t help, ask your doctor to prescribe you a treatment that is safe for your pregnancy or advise you towards a proper diet.
- Muscle cramps in your ankles may prevent you from having a deep and restful sleep. If a muscle cramp had appeared, stretch your leg on the affected side (at first your heel) and then pull your fingers` legs towards the ankle. Walking for a few minutes and then keeping the legs lifted can help to prevent cramps. Also, a hot shower or a massage with ice can help.
- You should rotate from one side to another during your sleep to find a more comfortable position. Try to sleep on one side, preferably your left one because this position increases the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and baby. Keep your knees bent and place a pillow to your back and one in front of your chest for support. Placing a pillow between your legs can also help you sleep more comfortably on one side.
- You might find it difficult to get out of bed because of your increased belly and because your center of gravity has changed. It`s recommended to rotate on one side so you can reach with your face the edge of the bed. Get your legs also as closer to the edge of the bed and use your arms to push yourself out of bed. Place your legs on the floor facing forward to stand up easily.
20 Weeks Fetus
During the last 4 weeks the baby has grown quite a lot and now his weight is 4 times bigger. Moreover, because of his increased size you`ll be able to feel him moving. From his movements you can even tell if he`s awake or he`s sleeping.
The fetus has now around 300g and has a length of 25cm to 28cm. Even though his lungs aren`t fully mature to allow breathing, the little one already starts to practice the act of breathing. Since now, the body of the baby is covered with a fine hair called lanugo, and the hair on his head is growing fast. Also, the baby is able to hear almost anything that happens around him because his ears are fully developed. Furthermore, if the baby is a girl, her uterus will start to develop.
By now, the baby`s organs are fully formed, and he`ll continue to grow without suffering any more internal or external changes. The little one is covered with a substance called vernix caseosa which protects his skin from irritations during his stay in the amniotic liquid and also helps the baby at birth.
The baby starts to produce meconium, a dark green substance formed from dead cells and amniotic liquid which has been swallowed along with digestive secretions.
What to Expect during this Period?
During this period you are probably feeling better both mentally and physically. Be careful to continue your healthy diet and physical exercises as you did until now. Also, be careful to consume food rich in nutrients, especially iron, to prevent anemia. A deficiency of iron can lead to premature birth or a lower weight of the baby at birth. You`ll need iron to compensate the increased level of blood, but also to prepare your body for the blood loss from birth. Good sources of iron are, chicken eggs, dried fruits, oatmeal, spinach, vitamins and supplements.