20 Weeks Pregnant: What You Should Know?

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

In the 20th week of pregnancy, this is the best time for parents to conduct a routine ultrasound to help figure out the sex of the baby. This article provides* an overview on the fetal development, maternal changes, signs and symptoms and some interesting facts about the 20th week of pregnancy.

Did you know that a baby girl at 20 weeks of age has a fully formed uterus and seven million primitive eggs on her ovaries?

Height of the baby: 10 inches
Weight of the baby: 10.5 ounces

Fetal Changes and Development in the 20th Week

Week 20 Fetus

As mentioned above, one of the most significant changes that happen to a fetus at 20 weeks of age is the development of his or her sexual organs. Ultrasound, which can be done between the 18th to the 22nd week, will be of great help to determine the possible gender of the growing baby inside a mother’s womb. Other developments of the fetus during the 20th week of pregnancy are the following:

  • The baby is getting bigger, weighing in approximately ten ounces and has the length of around six and a half inches already.
  • The fetus is swallowing more than he or she does in the past weeks. This happening is a good practice for the ongoing development of his or her digestive system.
  • Meconium, which is black and sticky by-product of the baby’s digestive system, is also being produced at this age of pregnancy.
  • The vernix caseosa begins to cover the skin of the growing fetus. This covering is a whitish and fatty substance that will protect* the skin of the fetus while immersed in amniotic fluid. In the long run, this substance will ease* birth.

Maternal Changes in The 20th Week of Pregnancy

Maternal Changes in The 20th Week of Pregnancy

As it usually goes, it is not only the fetus that undergoes changes during pregnancy. Even the mother can experience physical changes. Most of these changes are mainly due to the pregnancy hormones and increase* in circulation. More of the physical changes in the mother are the following:

  • The pregnant woman will observe that her nails are getting stronger*, which can turn dry and brittle.
  • The hair all over the body can be found to be fuller and thicker than the usual.
  • Heartburn or indigestion is a common symptom.
  • There will be an increase* in the vaginal discharges, which can be beneficial to the mother.
  • Occasional headaches can be experienced especially during hot days and the lack of proper ventilation.
  • A protrusion of the navel can also be noticed.
  • Ankles and feet are found to have mild swelling due to the retention of water in the lower extremities.

20 Weeks Pregnant

Helpful Tips During The 20th Week of Pregnancy

Tips During The 20th Week of Pregnancy

Because of the changes during this week of pregnancy, below are some of the helpful tips can be followed so as not to experience too much discomfort.

  • For some mild heartburn or indigestion, chewing a sugarless gum after meals can be helpful. The increase* in saliva can neutralize gastric acids.
  • As much as possible, expose yourself to proper lighting and ventilation to prevent experiencing headaches and dizziness.
  • For some who experience leg cramps and swelling, elevating the legs and drinking enough fluids will be good for the relief* of these symptoms.

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Author

Expert Author : Peony C Echavez (Consumer Health Digest)

Peony is a registered nurse, and former Director of Nursing services for a large nursing facility. She has written web content for a large health education website, and currently creates content for a number of health practisioners.