How Your Baby Grows Inside You: Week 20
Guess what? You’re halfway through your pregnancy! Time flies, doesn’t it? You will also be happy to know that your baby now weighs about 250 grams and is about 20 to 25 cms in length from crown to rump.
Till now, your baby was curled up like a little ball, hence all measurements were made from crown to rump. Post this week, your baby will be measured from head to toe as s/he will straighten out her body more often.
Your baby’s sebaceous glands (glands under the skin) now secrete a waxy substance called vernix caseosa. This protects your baby’s fragile skin from the surrounding amniotic fluid.
The vernix caseosa will stay on your baby’s skin as a protective layer and will even be present at birth. This is why your baby’s skin at birth will look as if there’s a layer of paste on it.
Your baby is super active in the womb now – from kicking and somersaulting to swallowing and also sucking her/his thumb, s/he sure is busy!
You would be surprised to know that though your baby pees into the amniotic fluid, s/he never passes stools in the womb. Stools are collected in your baby’s bowels. This is called meconium which will be passed soon after birth.
Signs and Symptoms
From this week onwards, your weight gain will be more rapid. Remember to eat healthy!
Sleep might become a bit difficult now that your belly is larger. It’s a good idea to invest in a wedge pillow to help you sleep comfortably and support the growing weight in your abdomen.
You might also start experiencing cramps around your legs around this time.
Your uterus will have reached your belly button at this point. Your waistline will continue to grow steadily from now on too.
If you find yourself getting up in the middle of the night with severe pain in the calves, then the first thing to do is ensure that you are consuming enough water. Ideally, you need to consume at least 8-12 glasses of water every day.
Watch out for cramps in the lower abdomen which are intermittent and come and go at periodic intervals. These could be pre term contractions and an indication that the cervix is starting to shorten ahead of time.
If you experience such cramps, contact your doctor. The doctor may recommend a cerclage, which is a cervical stitch to hold the cervix in place and help carry a pregnancy to full term.
Old Wives’ Tales
Your grandmother might tell you to not stretch your arms over your head as this could get the baby entangled in the umbilical cord. This is a complete myth.
On the other hand, doing some overhead arm stretches every day might help you relieve the discomfort in the ribs especially in the last few weeks of pregnancy.
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