At 20 weeks, your baby is about 17cm long and weighs about 320grams. Additionally, your uterus has expanded so much that it’s reached the height of your belly button. At this stage, it’s essential for you to stay well hydrated and to look after your skin as it stretches.
Drinking water has never been so important. In order to keep your baby healthy, be sure to drink about 2 liters of liquid (water, coconut water and natural juices) per day. This will help keep things moist as the vernix increases in order to protect the baby.
Your baby’s development
Your baby is almost completely formed now, with arms, legs, hands and fingers all in evidence. Hair has begun to grow and should be visible in an ultrasound now. Additionally, your baby’s skin is starting to change from the pink of new skin to a darker color. Your baby is now in the gaining weight and growing phase. In fact, in an ultrasound, you’ll notice that your baby looks a lot chubbier.
Your baby’s internal organs are also developing rapidly in this period. However, its lungs are still not working. At 20 weeks of gestation, your baby will begin to swallow amniotic fluid as its digestive system starts working and getting ready for the outside world.
Another important milestone during this stage is the fact that your baby is now starting to produce meconium in its intestines. This is the first stool that your baby will release after birth and is made up of what it swallows in the amniotic fluid, bile, mucus and epithelial cells from the developing intestines.
This is also the period when your baby starts to really get active for the first time. When it isn’t sleeping, your baby will be moving around in your uterus. You’ll most likely feel kicks and fluttering sensations. In an ultrasound, you’ll likely be astounded as you watch your baby moving its hands, touching its face and even playing with the umbilical cord.
How is mom feeling?
At 20 weeks gestation, you’ve probably gained around 6.6 pounds at least and feel the need to eat around every three hours. You’ll likely also be craving foods that are rich in calcium and vitamins, such as white cheese, yoghurt, cereal, fruits and juice.
You are now halfway through your pregnancy and are going to see some rapid physical changes. Up until now, your stomach has likely been growing slowly, but now it’s starting to look bigger and rounder.
Along with this growth, you’ll start to experience some discomforts from the extra weight. Your back may start to hurt and you’ll find that you need to make more regular trips to the bathroom thanks to the baby pushing down on your bladder. Shortness of breath is also a common symptom at this stage. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you are worried about any of these symptoms.
The main discomforts you’ll experience
Aside from the discomforts caused by the extra weight, there are various symptoms that you may well experience. One of the main things that women report is heartburn. Try to avoid fatty or acidic foods that will exacerbate the problem. You can also try eating icy foods as the cold will give some relief to the pain.
You may also notice that your belly button is starting to become more pronounced and even starting to stick out. By the end of the gestation period, your belly button may be sticking out completely. This will go back to normal once your baby is born, don’t worry.
By this stage, people should easily be able to see that you are now pregnant. The weight may be making life a little difficult, but it’s important to control your weight gain through portion control and doing light exercise.