You are now finally well into the second trimester and probably enjoying your pregnancy journey with some extra time on your hands now that you’ve gotten used to your baby bump. Some women might see their weights soar as they are relaxed and are able to eat more. In Week 20, how is the fetus changing even as the belly size changes?
20 Weeks Pregnant: Watch weight gain
The uterus is now three times as big as the pre-pregnancy uterus. The fundal height, the distance from the top of the pubic bone to the top of the uterus, is now 19–25 cm. Some women might have already received a stern warning from their OB-GYN about their weight gain. Although weight gain is also due to the fact that the fetus needs nutrients for growth, too much weight gain can lead to preeclampsia. Keep an eye on your weight gain and try to avoid eating too much fatty food.
Fetus’ shield: Amniotic fluid
In Week 20 of pregnancy, the amount of amniotic fluid in the uterus is about 350 mL, and it will continue to increase to about 800 mL in Week 33. Amniotic fluid is rich in nutrients necessary for the baby’s growth, directly influences the development of the lungs, kidneys and digestive tract, acts as a shield protecting the fetus from external shock and bacteria.
The amount of amniotic fluid can be confirmed via ultrasound. When the amount of amniotic fluid is not in the ideal range, it means that the risk of having a baby born with congenital anomalies, the risk of having a breech baby or the risk of a miscarriage increases. An ultrasound scan will tell your OB-GYN if you have oligohydramnios (too little amniotic fluid) or polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid).
If your ultrasound scan results say that you have oligohydramnios or polyhydramnios, have an in-depth consultation with your OB-GYN to find out what treatments you can get or what you can do to increase your chances of having an ideal amount of amniotic fluid.
20 Weeks Pregnant: Fetus is hiccuping?
The fetus starts hiccuping in Week 20. Although this differs from individual to individual, some moms feel the area below their navel twitching. This is a sign of your baby hiccuping! You might be startled the first time it happens as it is different from the usual fetal movement.
There is no explanation for the fetal hiccuping yet, but it doesn’t do your baby any harm. On the contrary, it’s a sign that the fetus’ body is working fine, so don’t worry over the twitching you feel in your belly.
20 Weeks Pregnant: Sonogram of fetus in your belly
Fetus: Length and body proportion
The fetus is 17–23 cm long and weighs 220–350 grams. The organs in the body are more or less completely formed, and the detailed parts of the organs will form. The baby is now the same proportion as it will be at birth, and the development of its five senses continue.
- Bones and teeth grow
The fetus is able to hear clearly
The body is covered with lanugo (fine, soft hair)
The heart beats vigorously and can be heard through a fetal Doppler
The muscles and bones strengthen and the fetus moves each limb actively
The eyelids are almost completely formed and facial features become more distinct
The fetus starts to develop a sleep-wake cycle, alternating between periods of rest and activity
20 Weeks Pregnant: Solve dental problems
The increase in hormones like estrogen and progesterone may affect the periodontal tissues in the mouth and lead to gingivitis(gum inflammation) and periodontitis(gum disease). Considering that morning sickness could be prompting you to eat more sweets, it can also create the perfect breeding ground for a tooth decay. There are painkillers you can’t take in the third trimester, so deal with your teeth problems as soon as possible – remember a stitch in time saves nine.
Belly grows bigger: Losing balance
When the belly grows bigger and protrudes more, you will not be able to see your feet and might lose your balance more easily. When you head out, do wear shoes with shorter heels and if you find navigating the long roads on your own too physically tiring, opt for public transport instead!
20 Weeks Pregnant: Enjoy fetus’ reaction!
Your baby’s auditory senses are developed and Baby can hear sounds from the world outside the womb. If you stroke your belly or gently pat it, your baby might just react to that. As Baby’s sense of touch is now developing, the warmth from your hands will reach your baby, giving Baby a good stimulus. Get your partner or family to join in the “conversation” – it will be a good family-bonding activity.