The 20th week of pregnancy means you are in the middle of the second
trimester. This is one of the easiest periods as you do not face the difficulties of either stages of pregnancy and are quite comfortable with your pregnancy status by now. Traveling plans can be made at this stage, however precautions need to be taken about eating outside food as getting an infection at this stage can cause harm to the baby as well as you.
You can start creating a birth plan. This involves giving details about your preferences for the birth of the baby and the procedure to be followed in a normal delivery or while handling complicated situations. A birth plan gives you confidence and helps you gain control of the situation in an emergency.
Your Symptoms: Brief stabbing pain on one or both sides is caused by stretching of the round ligament and is nothing to be concerned about.
Baby’s Development: The liver, intestines, and stomach are now fully enclosed in the abdominal cavity. Baby is swallowing more amniotic fluid and beginning to make meconium.
Baby’s Size: 22 cm (size of a banana) 190 g.
To Do: Start thinking about baby names.
You can start practicing relaxation by carrying out breathing exercises, massages, yoga under supervision or light exercises to relieve stress. If you have not done so by now you can conduct the pregnancy tests required for detecting abnormalities or defects. You can have a baby wellness kit ready which can include all information about the delivery and the baby as well as taking care of the baby in the initial stages after birth. This can prepare you for the delivery as well as keep you informed well in advance about what to expect.
In the last four weeks, the baby has grown quite a bit and its weight is almost four times more. The baby is big enough for you to feel the fluttering or quickening movements on a regular basis. From the baby’s movements, you can tell whether the baby is awake or asleep. The baby weighs about 300 gm or 11 ounces and is 25-28cm or 6.5 inches in length. The baby now starts practicing breathing even though the lungs are not mature or strong enough to breathe enough air to allow the baby to survive outside the womb.
By now the baby is covered with fine hair on the entire body called as lanugo and the hair on the scalp is also growing quite fast. The baby can enjoy all uterine sounds by now as the ears are fully operational by now. If you are having a baby girl, her uterus begins to develop. The rest of the organs and structures are ready and the baby will henceforth experience a period of simple growth. The baby is covered in a white substance called vernix caseosa which protects its skin from becoming irritated when immersed in the amniotic fluid. It also aids the baby in passing through the birth canal smoothly. The baby has begun to produce meconium which is a dark green sticky substance consisting of cell loss and amniotic fluid which has been swallowed along with digestive secretions.
Changes with your body
As the baby keeps growing in size, some women experience trouble taking deep breaths. This is because the lungs become restricted with the internal organs. Women with small body frames have this problem moreso than others. This is not a serious issue but can be very uncomfortable nevertheless. You will be relieved of this problem only in the last month of the pregnancy when the baby drops into the pelvis getting ready for the delivery.
The top of the uterus is the same as the level at the belly button and you could gain around 8 to 10 pounds at this point. After this point, you can expect to gain around ½ pounds to one pound per week. You need to get a regular feedback about your weight gain from your medical practitioner to find out if there is any need of alterations. Many women notice stretch marks at this time as the abdominal muscles are being stretched and pushed apart as the baby keeps growing. The normal changes which occur during this period are frequent urination, constipation, indigestion and heartburn. These symptoms are pretty mild now but will become more profound later as the pregnancy advances.
Itching is quite common and occurs due to dry skin also known as xerosis which can occur due to dehydration. It is important to increase your water intake even if you feel bloated and heavy. Other reasons for itches can be a liver abnormality or a reaction to prenatal vitamins or even yeast infections which are quite common. If the itching is caused by a change in your PH levels you can place a cold compress on the itchy part or make a paste of baking soda and water and apply on the itchy areas. To prevent fungal infections one needs to keep oneself clean and dry at all times.
What to expect
You are in a better frame of mind by this stage . Make sure that you continue with a healthy pregnancy diet and exercise pattern. Be sure to increase all the nutrients in your diet especially iron to avoid anemia which can lead to low birth weight and premature delivery. You need iron to compensate for the increase in the volume of blood in the body as well as prepare the body for the massive loss of blood during delivery. Good sources of iron which can be included in your daily diet are eggs, chicken, dried fruits, wheat germ, oatmeal, spinach and other leafy vegetables. Grains fortified with iron, dates, dried beans and other dark fruits and vegetables along with vitamin supplement or through natural food to aid iron absorption. If you experience breathing difficulties or heartburn you can practice walking or other such light exercise to improve the blood circulation. You can start paying attention to looking through books for baby names if you already know the sex of the baby by now. You can even start making preparations for preparing the baby’s room or cradle as later on you might not be as mobile or free.