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20 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms, Baby Development, And Helpful Tips

20 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms, Baby Development, And Helpful Tips

17 Dec 2016 | 10 min Read

Sudeshna Chakravarti

Author | 193 Articles

Cheers mum-to-be, you’ve officially hit the halfway mark of your pregnancy journey. At 20 weeks pregnant, you are considered five months pregnant, and only have 18 more weeks till you hold your little bundle of joy in your arms. 

With each passing week, your baby grows stronger and bigger and achieves growth milestones inside the womb. In addition, you will continue to experience certain pregnancy symptoms like slowed digestion and headaches, and bodily changes like weight gain and tender breasts.

In this post, we give you more details on the common symptoms experienced during the 20th week of pregnancy, and also discuss your baby’s growth and development at this stage. 

Your Baby’s Development at 20 Weeks

At 20 weeks of pregnancy, your baby grows at a rapid pace and your uterus continues to expand to accommodate them. Starting this week, you may also begin to feel strong foetal movement, as your baby begins to twist and turn inside the womb. Their other bodily functions continue to develop, with some of them being fully functional.

Continue reading to learn more interesting details about your baby’s developmental progress in the 20th week of pregnancy. 

How Big is Your Baby at 20 Weeks?

At 20 weeks of pregnancy, your baby will be the size of a banana and usually measure around 25.6cms (10.08 inches) from head to toe and weigh approximately  300gms (10.58 ounces). 

To get a deeper insight into your baby’s size, development, and growth progress, you can follow the pregnancy week-by-week by BabyChakra, which are rich in information, and contain all details about foetal growth and development at different stages.

Foetal Development at 20 Week Pregnancy

20 weeks pregnant
By this time there is increased foetal activity and your baby will also begin to respond to sound / Image source: Medical News

In this section, we have listed how your baby will develop at 20 weeks of pregnancy, and what developmental and growth milestones you can expect them to achieve during this time.

  • Skin: The oil glans, also known as sebaeceous glands in your baby’s skin will begin to work. Their skin will also be covered with vernix.
  • Ears: Your baby will now be able to hear muffles sounds. This means you can start communicating with them and even sing to them. 
  • Fingers: By this time, your baby will have developed fingerprints.
  • Head: Your baby’s head will be covered with hair.
  • Larynx: The larynx is developing and starts moving by the 20th week of pregnancy.
  • Genitals: Your baby’s genitals will continue to develop. For baby girls, the uterus is formed with eggs in the ovaries.
  • Heart: Your baby’s heart will start beating at 120-160 beats/minute, and you can even listen to their heartbeat during an ultrasound scan.
  • Brain nerves: The brain nerves continue to develop in this week.
  • Muscles: Your baby’s muscles will also continue to grow.
  • Teeth: During this week, permanent teeth start to develop beneath the gums. 

Common Symptoms That You Will Experience This Week

20 weeks pregnant
You may experience common symptoms like headaches and dizziness during the 20th week of pregnancy

At 20 weeks of pregnancy, you will experience symptoms similar to those of early signs of pregnancy as well as the ones experienced during the previous weeks. During this week, you will also notice the onset of a new set of symptoms, which we have discussed below. You will notice:

  • Increased food cravings: Due to hormonal fluctuations, you will have increased food cravings, and also develop a liking or disliking toward certain food items.
  • Weight gain: Your weight gain should occur as per your BMI. On average, an additional weight gain of 500gms per week during the second trimester is considered safe. However, if your weight gain is considerably lower or higher than the recommended rate, consult your doctor right away for dietary modifications and advice.
  • Vaginal discharge: You will also experience some amount of vaginal discharge during this time. This can help prevent infection-causing bacteria from entering the uterus through the vagina. In case the discharge has a foul odour, consult your doctor immediately.
  • Leg cramps: It’s common to experience leg cramps during pregnancy as the expanding uterus restricts blood flow to the veins in your legs. However, sometimes leg cramps during pregnancy are a result of calcium and magnesium deficiency. So, make sure to consult your doctor and incorporate supplements into your diet if needed. 
  • Slowed digestion: Your body produces progesterone hormone during pregnancy that relaxes your digestive tract and slows down your digestion. 
  • Heartburn: Due to the growing uterus, your stomach is pushed upwards, making gastric acids enter your oesophagus. This causes acidity and heartburn, but it can be prevented by avoiding spicy, fatty, and processed foods.
  • Shortness of breath: During this time, hormonal fluctuations cause your mucous membranes to relax and constrict your nasal passage. This can cause nasal congestion, which can further lead to shortness of breath.
  • Swelling in hands and feet: Your body retains a lot of water during pregnancy, and that can cause swelling of your hands and feet. However, sudden or excessive swelling could be an indication of pregnancy complications like preeclampsia.
  • Varicose veins: The excess blood flow toward the lower part of your body causes a pooling of blood in your leg nerves, resulting in varicose veins.
  • Dizziness: At this time, the blood flow to your lower body increases and this leads to deprivation of blood flow to the brain, causing dizziness and lightheadedness.
  • Haemorrhoids: Pressure on your rectal and pelvic nerves due to the expanding uterus can cause swelling or haemorrhoids.
  • Constipation: Due to slow digestion, there is a drop in intestinal activity, leading to constipation. To avoid this, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and include fibre-rich foods in your diet.
  • Headaches: Hormonal fluctuations during this week may cause headaches.
  • Disrupted sleep: Increased frequency of urination, leg cramps, and body aches may interrupt your sleep at night.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions: This condition causes painless and irregular contractions that prepare your body for labour.
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS): During this week, you may develop restless leg syndrome, where you can feel a tingling sensation in your legs and an urge to move them in an uncontrolled manner. It could be due to low haemoglobin levels, low folate, or a history of RLS before conception. 

Your Body at The 20th Week of Pregnancy

The bodily changes that you experience this time will be similar to the ones felt in the previous weeks, but more rapid than the changes that occurred in the first trimester. Common physical and emotional changes that you may experience during the 20th week of pregnancy are:

  • Enlarged breasts as your body prepares for milk production
  • Blue or green veins around your veins due to increased blood flow
  • Darker areola and nipples due to pigmentation
  • Enlarged belly due to the expanding uterus and the navel protruding outward
  • Nail and hair growth as a result of hormonal fluctuations
  • Stretch marks on your belly and other areas of your skin like hips and breasts
  • Darkening of the linea nigra (the line running from your belly button to the pubic bone)
  • Increased mood swings
  • Anxiety and fear of labour, health, and parenthood

20 Weeks Pregnant Belly

At 20 weeks, your uterus will continue to expand and your belly will appear protruded. You may wonder if your baby has enough space to move in the womb but fret not, because there is ample space inside for your little one to make movements. 

Apart from wiggling and kicking, your baby may also start to suck their thumb (which you can notice during an ultrasound), and they may also develop a regular wake-up and sleep pattern by this week.

Curious to know more about your baby’s activity inside the womb at different stages? Use the pregnancy month calculator to find out more details. 

Do You Need an Ultrasound at The 20th Week Of Pregnancy?

When you are 20 weeks pregnant, you will have a regular prenatal checkup. The doctor will measure your weight, blood pressure, and also conduct a urine test. The doctor will also conduct an ultrasound scan also known as an anomaly scan during this week.

The anomaly scan gives a detailed scan to help determine the development of all the organs and growth of your baby. This scan will also help notice any physical problem, such as spina bifida in your baby.

Self-care Tips for 20 Weeks Pregnancy

20 weeks pregnant
Ensure to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and fatigue

We have listed a few self-care tips that you should follow during the 20th week of pregnancy to maintain good health and well-being.

  • Avoid consuming deep-fried and fatty foods as they worsen heartburn. Instead have nutritious and home-cooked meals that effectively fulfill your caloric needs.
  • Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water regularly to maintain hydration.
  • Try to maintain proper posture to prevent backache. Use comfy cushions and pillows for support while sleeping or sitting.
  • Find a sleeping position that lets you sleep comfortably.
  • Engage in physical activities like walking and prenatal yoga.
  • Keep stress at bay and get plenty of rest.
  • Sleep with your head elevated to soothe nasal congestion.
  • Read pregnancy books and search for educational childbirth classes in your area.
  • Indulge in self-care activities that make you happy and spend some time with your family and friends.

Pregnancy Checklist at 20 Weeks

A set of checklists for the 20th week of pregnancy:

  • Call your ob-gyn’s office and set your next prenatal appointment.
  • Book an appointment with your sonographer for regular ultrasound checks.
  • List down questions that you want to ask your doctor during the next visit.
  • Start purchasing all the essential babycare items and clothes.

What to Ask Your Doctor?

By the time you reach your 20th week of pregnancy, your baby’s development will be more rapid, and you may be more curious to know what lies ahead. You can ask the following questions to your doctor:

  • Is my baby growing at a healthy rate?
  • Can my baby hear my voice now?
  • How do I know that my baby is sleeping inside the womb?
  • Should I sing to my baby?
  • Do I need to make any dietary modifications?
  • Should I take vitamin supplements?

Conclusion

When you are 20 weeks pregnant, you enter the second trimester and are considered five months pregnant. This week is a phase of various developments, with most of your baby’s essential organs forming, and some being fully functional.

You may feel increased foetal movement starting this week, as there is enough space for your baby to move around. Additionally, you will have certain physical and emotional changes like increased food cravings, vaginal discharge, and mood swings.

Make sure that you are eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, and taking your prescribed medications regularly to maintain good health.

FAQs

Is 20 weeks considered 5 months pregnant?

Yes, at 20 weeks, you are five months pregnant. 

Is my baby fully developed at 20 weeks?

Most of your baby’s organs have formed by 20 weeks and they continue to develop till the coming weeks.

Where is my baby at 20 weeks in the stomach?

Your baby is inside the membrane sac, within the uterus, and high within your abdomen.

Can I feel my baby’s kicks at 20 weeks?

Yes, as there is enough space inside the uterus now, you will feel your baby’s kicks and movements more frequently.

What should I be doing at 20 weeks of pregnancy?

At 20 weeks of pregnancy, you should be taking adequate rest, consuming a well-balanced diet, and engaging in light physical activities to maintain optimal health.

When can my baby feel my touch inside the womb?

Your baby can feel and respond to your touch inside the womb at around 26 weeks.

Also read:

21 weeks pregnancy symptoms: Check out this post to learn about the different symptoms experienced during 21 weeks of pregnancy.

Ovulation calculator: In this post, we have listed the benefits of using an ovulation calculator. 

Featured image: Freepik.com

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