20 weeks pregnant is a milestone to celebrate and savor. Find out what to expect when you’re 20 weeks pregnant, find out whether you can feel baby yet and what your uterus looks like. What size is a 12-week-pregnant uterus? What are the 8th week symptoms? When does baby start to move?
Your baby at week 20 of pregnancy
By week 20, your unborn baby is getting ready for the next developmental stage, which is filling out. His internal organs are settling into their new positions. His kidneys, in their usual bean form, have settled into place.
The corresponding female organ, the ovaries, have matured to their full extent in him. He still has a developing brain. In addition to the emergence of his first teeth, he has also developed the ability to swallow. If you haven’t already felt him move, you probably will in the following weeks.
20 weeks pregnant is how many months?
When you are 20 weeks pregnant, you are officially in 5 months of your pregnancy, just another 4 months to go! Congratulations, you’ve already made great progress!
How big is your baby at 20 weeks pregnant?
At 20 weeks your baby, also known as a foetus, is currently about 300.5 (10.6 oz) in weight and around 16 cm (6.3 in) in length from head to bottom which is about the size of a mango or heirloom tomato. They are growing quickly and are about to have a growth spurt. They will roughly almost double in size over the next month.
20 weeks pregnant baby position
At 20 weeks pregnant, the uterus has expanded to the level of the belly button. This gives the developing baby more room to move around. Head-down presentation at delivery typically doesn’t happen until the third trimester, so there’s still plenty of time.
20 weeks pregnant: baby’s development
The fetus becomes ready for life outside the womb between the start and end of the fifth month. There have been live births of infants as early as 19 weeks following conception (21 weeks gestation). Infants born at 20 and 21 weeks after conception are now receiving resuscitation and active treatment in many American hospitals (22 and 23 weeks gestation).
The fetus begins to move and breathe on a daily cycle in the fifth month, known as a circadian rhythm. It’s interesting to note that fetal activity, particularly breathing movements, peaks for about two hours following a mother’s meal before beginning to decline. The fetal heart rate also exhibits a daily trend.
Researchers discovered that fetuses sleep in cycles of about 45 minutes, or half as long as an adult sleep cycle, by studying continuous ultrasounds of fetuses between 18 and 38 weeks after conception.
At 19 weeks following conception, the amount of future eggs in the ovary peaks at about 7 million in females. Around 5 million of these cells die before giving birth once the ovary essentially stops producing oogonia. Several thousand primary oocytes, or egg cells, are produced by the remaining oogonia.
Your body at 20 weeks pregnant
You’re finally comfortable in your maternity clothes—your protruding baby bump proudly declaring you’re going to be a mom, soon. In fact, you’re halfway there! By now you’re feeling your unborn baby wiggle and kick—which may be caused by your baby experiencing hiccups.
Along with your progressing pregnancy, you may also notice more aches and pains. Your lower back and abdomen may be sore from your growing belly. Heartburn, indigestion, and flatulence are frequent as your expanding uterus allows less space for your stomach. Swelling, called edema, may make your hands and feet uncomfortable, too.
The Big Ultrasound
You should get an ultrasound around weeks 18 to 21 to make sure your unborn child is developing appropriately, to confirm your estimated due date, and to see your baby for the first time! (if you’re really curious) to find out if you’ll be buying pink or blue baby booties.
In order to learn more about your unborn child, your doctor may recommend an ultrasound, a painless and safe treatment. So that the high-frequency sound waves may penetrate your abdomen unimpeded, an ultrasound technician will apply a topical gel on your belly.
A transducer (a handheld instrument like a supermarket scanner) emits sound waves when the operator sweeps it about your stomach. An image is formed from these waves after being processed by the ultrasound device. In order to ensure that your unborn child is developing normally, the ultrasound technician will take multiple measurements of various sections of her body.
Expect to be asked to bring a full bladder to your ultrasound. Having a full bladder makes prenatal imaging simpler because there is less room for your unborn child to move around. The ultrasound technician may have to nudge your unborn child into a different position so that accurate measurements can be taken due of the tight quarters. The ultrasound, with a full bladder and the transducer pressing on your abdomen, may be uncomfortable, but the results will be well worth it.
Typically, the ultrasound will take about 30 minutes to complete. Your ultrasound facility may provide you with a recording of your appointment or at least a few photographs to share with family and friends. Calling ahead to see if the lab records ultrasounds for expecting mothers is a good idea is a good idea because not all labs offer this service. You can also inquire about purchasing a few photographs to take with you.
Your baby’s gender
Your ultrasound technician should be able to tell you whether you are having a boy or a girl in the majority of cases. In order to avoid accidentally seeing or hearing something you shouldn’t, let the technician know ahead of time if you don’t want to know. (Use our Gender Predictor to try and guess the gender of Baby!)
Results are typically accurate for women who do wish to know the sex of the unborn child. Usually. An ultrasound can accurately identify the gender of your unborn child between 80 and 90 percent of the time. Remember that in order to be positive, the ultrasound technician must obtain a clear image of all of your unborn baby’s “parts.” The technician will be checking for three tiny lines between a girl’s legs, which represent the female labia.
The technician will be looking for a developed penis and scrotum in young boys. Be warned: Some newborns fidget and squirm during this examination of their privates, making it difficult for the technician to accurately predict whether you are expecting a boy or a girl.
Is ultrasound necessary?
In spite of common practice, an ultrasound at 20 weeks is unnecessary. Dr. Joanne Motino Bailey, PhD, CNM says, “There is no value to performing an ultrasound if a woman’s pregnancy is otherwise normal and healthy.” Although routine ultrasounds have become the norm, there is no scientific proof that they benefit a baby’s health.
However, Dr. Bailey notes that most expectant moms find the ultrasound reassuring since it allows them to see their unborn children for the first time. Dr. Bailey observes that in certain countries, like Japan, ultrasounds are standard procedure for women during routine checkups. Even more frequently, in the case of many mothers carrying babies at high risk, visits to the ultrasound technologist may be required as frequently as once or twice weekly.
20 weeks pregnant tips and advice
Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated is important. Your body uses more water during your pregnancy to fuel your increased blood supply (necessary to get your baby-to-be plenty of nutrients) and other body functions. Taken to extremes, dehydration can lead to preterm labor pains. So bring a water bottle to work with you—and drink it.
Use the bathroom—often
Drinking more water means more trips to the bathroom. Add to that, your kidneys are working overtime to filter impurities from your increased blood supply. To avoid stares from coworkers, plan discrete potty breaks. Go when you first get to the office and take a break on the way from meetings or other times when you’re already up so your trips will be less noticeable. Putting off a trip to the bathroom is a bad idea—it makes you uncomfortable and puts stress on your bladder, which can lead to bladder infections.
Bring light snacks
Food may not be appealing, especially if you’re experiencing nausea. Skip a full-blown lunch and opt for lighter fare throughout the day. Keep in mind that some pregnancy comfort foods are dead giveaways, such as crackers. If you’re trying to keep your pregnancy a secret, try less notorious foods that still comfort nausea but that don’t shout, “I’m pregnant!” Opt for foods high in protein, such as string cheese, almonds, or milk.
Wear comfortable clothes
You’ve probably packed away your tight-fitting pants already. If you haven’t, now’s probably the time to say goodbye to your hip-hugging ensembles until after your baby’s arrival. Avoiding tight clothes isn’t just about hiding your baby bump. Your body may be retaining water to fuel your increased blood supply, and constricting clothes are not only tight on your skin, but the blood that’s trying to flow underneath.
Watch your posture
Take time to get off your feet and walk around. Staying in the same position for too long allows the blood to pool in the lower part of your body, potentially making you light-headed. Put your feet up whenever possible to keep your blood flowing properly.
Having Trouble Sleeping at 20 weeks Pregnant
Having difficulties sleeping is a common pregnant symptom, and it’s especially common in the second and third trimesters, when other pregnancy symptoms peak and a growing belly makes it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position.
When you’re 20 weeks pregnant, it could hurt to sleep on your stomach, but studies indicates that lying on your back puts more strain on the vena cava, the main blood vessel that returns blood to the heart.
Your blood circulation will increase if you sleep on your left side, which will also be good for your uterus, kidneys, and fetus. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try placing a pillow between your knees and another under your stomach. If the problem persists, consult your doctor.
20 weeks Pregnant: Wellness and Nutrition
What should you avoid during pregnancy? Doctors agree that you should avoid the following:
- Activities that may cause you to fall, or that place pressure or force on your belly
- Intense, overly vigorous exercise – if you’re too out of breath to talk, you’re probably exercising too hard.
- Drinking alcohol, smoking, and caffeine (ask your doctor how much caffeine you should consume each day)
- Sweeteners such as saccharine and herbal sweeteners (ask your doctor if artificial sweeteners are appropriate)
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications (check with your doctor about what’s safe during pregnancy)
- Paint, cleaning products, and solvents can expose you to chemicals and fumes. Acrylic and latex paints are generally considered safe. However, you should consult your doctor before helping around the house or in the nursery.
- Saunas and hot tubs
- Chemical treatments for your hair, such as dye and perms
Week 20 Unsightly Pregnancy Signs and symptoms
Your body undergoes many changes to give your baby-to-be enough room to grow. Some of these changes are comforting—your rounded belly and your full breasts, for example—while other signs can be troubling. Keep in mind that many of these physical changes will last only until your baby arrives.
You should expect to gain 25 to 35 pounds during your pregnancy. As distressing as weight gain can be for some women, those pounds are necessary for your growing baby. Much of the weight is extra fluids (such as blood), tissues (like your breasts), and of course, your baby. If you eat a sensible pregnancy diet and stay fit, you should be able to lose much of your pregnancy weight after your baby’s birth. (Some women are able to shed pounds in a matter of weeks; others need as much as a year to get their bodies back in shape).
Breast changes and tenderness
Tenderness and slight alterations in the shape of your breasts are common pregnancy symptoms around the 20th week. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are responsible for these alterations, which help your body get ready for breastfeeding after giving birth. You might find that your breasts are more sensitive to touch and feel fuller than usual.
Fatigue (constant tiredness or weakness)
One of the most typical symptoms of early pregnancy is fatigue, which frequently starts at this point. Although there are many causes of exhaustion during pregnancy (including changes in hormone levels), some research indicates that inadequate sleep brought on by nighttime awakenings from unpleasant sleeping positions may also be a role.
Heartburn or gas
There may be a rise in heartburn and flatulence during the 20th week of pregnancy. This is because progesterone produces a decrease in the tone of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle, which typically prevents stomach acid from entering the esophagus. This can cause heartburn and discomfort by allowing stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus. Try spreading your meals out more, staying away from items that are known to cause heartburn (such spicy foods), and drinking lots of water.
Mood swings and crying spells
The 20th week of pregnancy is a vulnerable time for women, when they are more likely to experience mood swings and crying spells. Until your hormone levels settle, this will have an impact on your mental and emotional well-being. This is a common occurrence for pregnant women; one study indicated that 75% of women felt emotional shifts like irritability or depression in the first trimester.
Food cravings, aversions, or both
During your 20th week of pregnancy, It’s common to crave foods that are high in protein, such as meat and cheese, which are essential for your baby’s development. You may also have strong aversions to certain foods, like vegetables or fruits that you normally enjoy eating but now find repulsive. This is normal—just make sure you don’t completely eliminate any food groups from your diet.
Pregnant stretch marks
In the 20th week of pregnancy, stretch marks, sometimes called striae gravidarum, may occur on the belly. Stretch marks form when the skin is forced apart and then stretched beyond its natural elasticity, as happens during rapid growth or weight gain (like pregnancy)
Indigestion, or constipation
During the 20th week of pregnancy, you may suffer gastrointestinal issues like indigestion or constipation. Pregnancy hormones like progesterone and estrogen might increase the likelihood of gastrointestinal issues including indigestion. These hormones slow down digestion by relaxing the digestive tract, preventing food from being swallowed whole. You can reduce the frequency and severity of indigestion during pregnancy by cutting out on high-fat and sugary foods and eating more often, smaller meals (like sweets or fried foods).
Your body retains water to provide the necessary fluids for your growing baby-to-be. You can prevent much of this swelling from drinking plenty of fluids and keeping your legs up. You may also want to purchase socks designed to improve the circulation in your feet.
Your blood volume has increased dramatically to provide nutrients to your baby-to-be. This increase, along with swelling caused by pregnancy hormones, might make your gums bleed.
The skin’s pigmentation may deepen around certain parts of your body during pregnancy, such as your nipples and freckles. You may also notice spots of color on your face, called the mask of pregnancy or chloasma. These pigmentation changes will fade after your baby’s born.
No symptoms at 20 weeks pregnant
Yes, it is possible to be 20 weeks pregnant with no obvious signs of pregnancy at all! It’s important to remember that every pregnant lady is unique. If you’re one of the happy few who never gets morning sickness, for instance, you may relax and enjoy your pregnancy. But if you do have symptoms, you should definitely pay heed to them. If you are pregnant and have any health concerns, you should always consult your doctor.
20 weeks pregnant belly size (baby bumb)
20 weeks pregnant ultrasound
An ultrasound performed at 20 weeks of pregnancy can detect problems with the baby’s bones, heart, brain, spinal cord, face, kidneys, and belly. The sonographer can check for eleven uncommon diseases using this. The scan only checks for these issues; it does not reveal any other potential problems.
The importance of prenatal vitamins during pregnancy
During pregnancy, you need a greater amount of folic acid and iron. Why? Here are some reasons:
Folic acid prevents neural tube defects
These defects affect the fetal brain and spinal cord in a significant way. Preferably, you should begin taking extra folic acid three months before you become pregnant.
The placenta and baby require iron to develop
The body uses iron to make blood to supply oxygen to the baby. Additionally, iron helps prevent anemia, a condition in which the blood lacks healthy red blood cells
It’s important to consult your doctor or healthcare provider to find out which are the best prenatal vitamins to take before pregnancy, and how to calculate your expected delivery date.
20 weeks pregnant hCG levels
At 20 weeks pregnant, your hCG levels can range from about 4,060 – 165,400 mIU/m.
Explore more in your pregnancy week-by-week
Follow your pregnancy week-by-week to find out how your baby is growing and what is happening to your body.
First Trimester Weeks:
Second Trimester Weeks
Third Trimester Weeks
Pregnant Women Also Asked:
Got questions about week 6? Other ladies have wondered this…
- How pregnancy happens. (n.d.)
- Human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG). (2018.)
- Knowing if you are pregnant. (2019).
- Navigating your pregnancy. (n.d.).
- Pregnancy. (2017).
- Pregnancy: Sensitivity and specificity. (n. d.).
- Pregnancy tests. (n.d.)
- Pregnancy week by week. Weeks 1–2. (n.d.).
- Stages of pregnancy. (n.d.).