Welcome to Week 20 of Your Pregnancy!
What’s Happening With Your Baby During Week 20?
So at this time, Baby’s growth has actually slowed down but Baby is still has a lot of maturing to do. The organs and systems have long been in place but need to further develop before baby is ready to be born.
This week’s major milestone is that baby is developing thicker skin. Our skin is developed in layers. The outer layer is the epidermis. the middle layer that makes up most of the skin is called the dermis and the deepest layer, made mostly of subcutaneous fat is called the hypodermis and if you remember from week 19 the skin is protected by the wax like vernix.
At 20 weeks, there still isn’t a lot of fat there but small areas of what is called “brown fat” is being deposited in around Baby’s body such as behind the neck, behind the breastbone in the groin and around the kidneys. This fat is important because it produces heat by burning fatty acids which help to keep Baby warm.
If we could peek inside the womb this week you would see a very baby like fetus with hair, nails, thin little eyebrows and well developed limbs that are now in proportion to the rest of the body. Baby weighs a little over half a pound or somewhere around 300 grams and has come a long way since the fragile first trimester.
Also, baby’s nipples, called areola are beginning to appear over the mammary glands on Baby’s chest. Babies airways are branching out and the air sacs are multiplying. If your baby is a girl, her uterus, fallopian tubes and cervix are all in place. If your little one is a boy his testes and penis are now recognizable.
What’s Happening With You This Week?
At this stage you may start feeling some movements. If you do, its a good idea to mark down the date you felt your first movement… it’s an amazing experience and some doctors like to record this in your health records.
It’s at this time that you may be offered a detailed anomaly ultrasound scan. This scan is done for medical purposes and assesses Baby’s organ development. This includes looking at the heart, body, measuring the size of the head, the abdomen and thigh bone amongst others things. This scan can give you and your doctor important information about Baby’s health and growth or may reveal possible complications.
A very exciting part of this ultrasound is that, at this stage, babies can demonstrate a wide variety of facial expressions. They can grimace, smile and yawn… it’s a very exciting time!
Studies have shown that being able to see your baby with ultrasound is proven to help the parents develop an emotional connection with Baby before he or she is born. And I know lots of you have been waiting for this! At this scan, you’ll also be able to find out if you’re having a baby boy or girl. I know some of you might want to know ahead of time so you can prepare while others might want to wait for the surprise on the big day! Either way it all very exciting. When you have your scan just ask the person doing your ultrasound to tell you the news… or to just keep it top secret!
The placenta continues to be the life support system for your baby. Up until now the placenta weighed more than the Baby but from this point on Baby’s weight will overtake that of the placenta. During your 20 week scan it is quite a common finding for the placenta to be low lying but this is of little concern at this stage. The lower segment of the uterus starts to form in preparation for delivery and grows faster than the placenta, so when it’s checked later, usually the lower edge of the placenta has moved up and away from the birth canal. For more info about the placenta check out our placenta video.
So lets talk a little bit about how You’re doing this week!
By now you have likely shared your news with most of your friends and family. Not to mention that your bump will be difficult to hide now. Your friends and family or even strangers might want to talk about your pregnancy. Like so many woman you may enjoy this closeness with others. Sometimes they might want to pat your tummy. I know because it used to happen to me all the time when I was having my babies. Then there are Moms that regard their pregnancy as a very private time and this is normal too… don’t be afraid to say, ‘hey, hands off the bump ”
I want to mention that during your second trimester you may experience dizziness and headaches. These are a common complaints. This is usually due to increased blood volume that is circulating in your body and should pass after quickly. If symptoms persist make sure to mention this to your doctor as it can may indicate the development of high blood pressure.
Now, just before we finish up, I know being pregnant is a special moment of your life but some may also feel occasional pregnancy “blues”. You may have concerns about what kind of parent you’re going be or how you’ll cope with labour and delivery. This is a time to use some positive thinking…concentrate on all the positive aspects of being pregnant and how special it is to be able to create a a new life. Becoming a parent is the most important job in the world so be proud of your pregnancy, the life you’re creating inside you is a unique and magical!
Well, that is it for week 20! if you have any questions or comments please let us know or join us in the forums. I can’t wait to tell you what’s happening in week 21!
Until then, enjoy this pregnancy journey of yours….These are the precious moments our lives are made of.