Your pregnancy: 20 weeks

Believe it or not, this week heralds the mid-point of your pregnancy. If you go full term, from the start of your last menstrual period to the time you give birth, your pregnancy will be about 40 weeks long. So you're halfway there. Congrats!

Felt slice of bread used to show how big baby is at 20 weeks pregnant
Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com

20 weeks pregnant: What’s going on in there

Your tiny human is the size of a slice of bread this week! (Did you find out the sex? Were you shocked or excited? More on how to cope with that below.) At about 16.5 centimetres (6.5 inches) long, by 20 weeks pregnant your baby’s weight is about 283 grams (10 ounces), which means that she would be a wee bit lighter than a can of soda in your hand. With very fine eyebrows and fingernails starting to sprout, she is looking more like a real person, although her lungs aren’t quite developed enough for her to survive on the outside. To prepare for her arrival, she is swallowing amniotic fluid (sounds gross, but it’s good for the digestive system). She sleeps and wakes up at regular intervals, can suck her thumb and is building muscle and coordination by kicking, flexing and even flipping. Do you notice more movement when you eat certain foods? Your baby’s taste buds are probably in full swing, but the tiny bits of flavour she gets in the amniotic fluid aren’t quite as strong as what you’re tasting.

20 weeks pregnant symptoms

You definitely look pregnant now, and your belly has probably “popped.” You’ve officially hit the halfway point of your pregnancy (woo-hoo!), which gives a lot of women a much-needed mental boost. If you aren’t already feeling more energetic, expect a change in gears soon as you enter what many people call the “honeymoon phase” of pregnancy. Don’t be surprised by a bump in your sex drive. Take advantage: We guarantee that your libido won’t keep up with the growth of your belly.

An increase in your vaginal discharge might also be more noticeable now. Expect it to keep increasing as your pregnancy progresses. It’s your body’s way of keeping the area clear and bacteria-free (yeast infections also become more common, though, so talk to your doctor or midwife if you notice an odour or a yellow or greenish tinge to the fluid). Your internal milk machine may also be starting to fire up. If you notice any nipple discharge, don’t be alarmed: It’s perfectly normal. Your breasts are beginning to make colostrum, the yellowish, nutrient-rich substance that precedes breastmilk.

Your uterus is about even with your belly button now. It will grow about one centimetre (1/2 inch) each week from now on, and some of your discomfort will grow along with it. You may already have swelling in your feet and ankles (embrace that pregnant-lady stereotype and put your legs up whenever possible!), leg cramps, heartburn and indigestion (you’ll want to avoid deep-fried, spicy and acidic foods).

What’s on your mind when you’re 20 weeks pregnant

Dealing with disappointment
If you found out the sex of your baby during the anatomy scan, there is a chance that you may be shocked by the result. If you’re having your first baby and had your heart set on a particular sex or if you’ve had multiple babies of the same sex and expected to continue the trend, it can be tough to come to terms with what (and who!) is actually inside of you. If you’re expecting a boy, it can be a little mind-blowing to realize the weird-but-true fact that you are growing a tiny penis and testicles inside your uterus. The good news is that you still have the second half of your pregnancy left to get comfortable with the notion. It might take you a few weeks to adjust to reality, but once you see the little face you’ve made in person, you’ll be smitten.

Hitting the halfway point
With morning sickness (hopefully!) subsiding and your energy levels returning, you may find yourself focusing less on your body and more on your feelings. The excitement of hitting the halfway point is often mixed with growing worries over the fact that you’re going to give birth soon! Maybe you’re happy to have the first few rough months behind you. Or maybe time is moving too fast and you’re feeling a bit melancholy? If this is you, remember that there’s still plenty of time left to enjoy your pregnancy. Try your best to relax and do less worrying.

Around week 20, a lot of women begin to have concerns about pregnancy weight gain. If you’re going by the book, the aim is to gain just over one pound (16 ounces) a week from here on out. But your body isn’t a machine (well, it’s a baby-growing machine, but we’re also human), and it’s better for your baby if you can find a way to obsess less about weight. A nutritious diet is important, but go easy on yourself. If you’re worried about your weight or scrutinizing yourself in the mirror, talk to your doctor or midwife for ways to reduce any pressure you feel. Oh, and throw out your scale: Your job right now is to grow a healthy human, not be a leggy supermodel with an impossibly adorable bump.

Pregnant woman sitting by a window reading a bookTips to help you prepare for breastfeeding

Planning a big gender reveal or keeping it a secret
Not everyone who finds out the sex of her baby lets others in on the news. Are you planning to tell people or keep it a surprise until the baby is born? If you’re planning a reveal, there are plenty of fun ways to do it (some of them involve cake—yum!)—we’ve got tons of ideas below to help inspire you. After you announce the sex, you may be inundated with pink and blue outfits or baby onesies that make assumptions about boys versus girls (such as sports-themed outfits for boys and lots of frilly bows and florals for girls). Well-wishers may also have more questions and opinions about baby name possibilities. If you decide not to share the new, take pleasure in holding the most special kind of secret close to you. You have a few more months until it gets out—literally!

Invitations

Just for kicks

Whether or not you know the sex, now is a great time to get started on a plan for your baby’s room—if you haven’t already. If a friend or family member is organizing a baby shower, start a registry of items. This will not only help you get the gear you want but also cut down on the likelihood that you’ll be showered with what you don’t. (Although even if you say “no gifts” or post a shareable registry, lots of loved ones will still go rogue and gift you items and outfits that you’re not into—that’s just how it goes.) If that sounds overwhelming, consider this: You don’t need to have a baby shower, or you could request a less traditional, coed shower. You also don’t have to build your entire registry in one day. Many stores allow you to set it up online. You can add to it as you go—and grow.

Baby names

Some parents want their babies to have unique names, but are some taking baby names too far?

Pregnancy to-do list: Week 20

Diaper decisions
While you’re thinking about all your baby supplies and making lists, it isn’t too early to start asking around about cloth diapers and whether it’s something you should consider for your family. Have any of your parent friends tried cloth diapers? The reusable covers come in super-cute designs, and they might save you money (but you’ll end up doing more laundry, unless you sign up for a diaper pickup service). 

Read more:
Dreading your own baby shower?
How to throw a coed baby shower
Next up: 21 weeks pregnant

 

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