You have reached the halfway mark of your pregnancy. This is when major weight gain begins to take place. Your waistline continues to expand, and indigestion, heartburn and constipation probably occur more frequently. You may experience itching. You’re also making more trips to empty your bladder.
Making it to 20 weeks pregnant probably feels pretty darn good. After all, your energy’s high, your sex drive is high, and as long as your partner is up for it too, things are probably happening between the sheets. Of course, it wouldn’t be pregnancy if you weren’t experiencing some annoying symptoms. Right now, it’s likely swelling, heartburn, leg cramps, and more:
- Vaginal discharge You can expect the discharge to keep increasing until delivery. It’s just your body’s way of keeping the area clear of bacteria. But let your doctor know if the discharge is yellow, green, or foul smelling.
- Leg cramps Do stretches regularly, and drink plenty of water to prevent your legs from cramping.
Heartburn and/or indigestion As baby starts to crowd your digestive system, it might not work exactly as it did pre-pregnancy. Watch what you’re eating—acidic and spicy foods can cause tummy troubles.
- High energy Enjoy this energy (and libido) surge while it lasts! You might find yourself more fatigued in the third trimester.
- Swelling Don’t worry unless the swelling is sudden or severe. Mild swelling is normal and should subside after delivery. In the meantime, put up your feet whenever you can.
- Shortness of breath As your uterus expands, it pushes against your lungs, causing you to feel short of breath. You might find this to be especially true if you’re 20 weeks pregnant with twins. Don’t push yourself too hard, and sit down and rest if you feel yourself gasping for air.
Development of Baby
At 20 weeks pregnant, baby is the size of a banana. He or she weighs about 10.5 ounces (300 grams) and measures about 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) from crown to rump. (Starting next week, baby will be measured from head to toe.) Baby’s still got a lot of growing to do but has an excellent start.
Your 20-week fetus now has working taste buds. He or she is gulping down several ounces of amniotic fluid each day—that’s significantly more than before.
He or she will be swallowing more fluid to aid the functioning of the digestive system. Meconium is being produced and will be stored in the bowels. This black substance is usually seen in the first few soiled nappies.
Your baby is growing rapidly, which means you will need extra iron to keep up with both you and your baby’s increased demand. The best source of iron is found in red meat, spinach, legumes, prune juice, raisins and soy-based products.
This is the time for you and your partner to sign up for childbirth classes, to mentally and physically prepare for labour and delivery.
If you haven’t already had your mid-pregnancy ultrasound, you will very soon, since this prenatal test happens between weeks 18 and 22. In a 20-week ultrasound, you’ll see parts of baby you might not have dreamed possible, including the chambers of his or her heart, the kidneys, and the brain hemispheres. The technician and OB will look to see that everything seems to be developing properly and that baby’s growth is on track.
If you’re 20 weeks pregnant with twins, the ultrasound technician will check to see if babies’ heads are approximately the same size. If they aren’t, more measurements will be taken to be sure neither twin is having growth problems.
The technician will also likely be able to tell you baby’s gender, so let them know if you want to find out if you’re having a boy or a girl. Ask for printouts of the ultrasound photos. These are wonderful keepsakes of your rapidly developing baby.
Starting around 20 weeks pregnant, your doctor will measure fundal height at each prenatal visit. Fundal height is the distance from the pubic bone to the top of your uterus. In centimeters, the fundal height should match your week of pregnancy, give or take two centimeters. So for example, your 20 weeks pregnant belly should measure around 18 to 22 centimeters. It should continue to increase about a centimeter each week. A higher or lower fundal height could be the sign of a pregnancy condition such as gestational diabetes, a growth issue, or a breech baby, so if it doesn’t appear to be average, further testing may be necessary.
At 20 weeks pregnant, weight gain is happening slowly yet surely. You may have gained around 10 pounds by now. Remember: You’re aiming to gain about 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Recommended pregnancy weight gain for moms of average BMI is about 25 to 35 pounds. If you began pregnancy with a high BMI, your OB will likely advise that you gain a total of 15 to 25 pounds. If you were at a low BMI, 28 to 40 pounds will likely be the recommendation.
If you’re 20 weeks pregnant with twins or other multiples, don’t expect your doctor to measure your fundal height. That’s because it’s harder to say what’s average for moms-to-be carrying multiples. Instead, your OB will likely put more emphasis on your weight gain. Now that you’re 20 weeks pregnant with twins, you should aim to put on slightly more weight each week. In the first half of a twin pregnancy, the recommendation is about 1 pound per week, and in the second half, it’s about one to two pounds. That’s because healthy weight gain is gradual. Most OBs advise that twin moms-to-be of average BMI gain about 35 to 45 pounds total during pregnancy.