Baby development at 20 weeks pregnant
Congratulations — you’ve made it halfway through pregnancy! You are starting to get to know your little one better. At this point, you know the sex (if you opted to find out) and have been able to clearly see your little one’s features!
Your 20-week-old baby now measures 6.5 inches long (165.1 millimeters), which is about the size of a bell pepper.
Your baby now has fully formed taste buds and is swallowing amniotic fluid. At around week 20, baby will start developing sleep and wake patterns. Their skin is also starting to thicken and become less translucent.
Now that you’re 20 weeks pregnant, you may have had a recent ultrasound. If not, that will happen in the next two weeks to measure your baby's growth and ensure you’re on track to a healthy delivery.
Week 20 pregnant belly
Your baby bump is really beginning to take shape! Show it off with some cute, form-fitting maternity clothes. Your doctor will continue to measure the fundal height, which is the distance from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus. A measurement too little or too large could indicate an issue like gestational diabetes or a baby in breech position.
Common pregnancy symptoms at 20 weeks
You have reached the halfway mark! You likely have a healthy appetite and are still feeling pretty good. However, you may have begun to notice some minor aches and pains cropping up here and there. That’s totally normal — your body isn’t used to the extra weight and strain of carrying another human around 24/7.
- Heartburn and indigestion: Heartburn may continue or grow worse as you follow your pregnancy journey. Be sure to avoid foods that can trigger heartburn, and it's a good idea to always have some antacids on hand.
- Braxton Hicks: Marked by a tightening sensation in your stomach, Braxton Hicks contractions are your body’s way of practicing labor. As long as these contractions are irregular and aren’t causing you serious discomfort or pain, they’re nothing to worry about. However, it’s a good idea to contact your health care provider for a checkup (or at least some reassurance) if you experience more regular contraction sensations or pain.
- Fetal movement: Also known as quickening, that little butterfly sensation you feel in your belly is your baby moving around.
- Leg cramps. As you begin to gain more pregnancy weight, your muscles may start to feel it. Don’t forget to stretch, stay hydrated and avoid staying in any one position for too long.
- Sleeping discomfort. Transitioning to side sleeping can be an adjustment if you’re not used to it. As your belly size increases, this new sleeping position supports your body and your baby.
- Backaches. As your baby continues to grow, your back pain may increase. Make sure you’re getting proper support where you need it and check your posture to ensure you’re keeping your spine straight while sitting and standing.
Pregnancy checklist at 20 weeks
If you haven’t had this appointment already, your 20 week ultrasound should be coming up soon! This usually takes place between the 20th and 22nd weeks of pregnancy. Your next appointment after the 20 week ultrasound will be your 24 week prenatal checkup. This week, take into consideration the following suggestions as you prep for the arrival of your baby.
- Attend your 20 week appointment. At this appointment, you will get a good sense of what your baby is going to look like and you’ll be able to see their tiny formed organs. The purpose of this appointment is to view all of your baby’s anatomy and determine if everything looks normal. Additionally, the 20 week ultrasound provides details about the uterus, placenta and amniotic fluid.
- Will you have a baby shower? Your friends and family are likely just as excited as you are about your baby’s arrival. If your friends or family have offered to host a shower for you, decide if you’d like to have one. If so, get started on that registry!
- Involve your partner. It may be hard for your partner to feel as connected to the baby as you do at 20 weeks pregnant. Involve your partner by taking classes together, having a joint shower or finding a baby-related activity to do together (like reading to the baby).
- Finalize travel. Now is still a good time to travel. Make sure to get in your last-minute vacations and finalize plans for work travel. As you enter your third trimester, you will likely not want to be far from home or your doctor.
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