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Week by week pregnancy guide – Week 20 of your pregnancy

While now your baby's hearing is improved to maximum your belly bulges out more and weight gain process is in full swing. Know more about the developments of this week.

What happens during the 20th week of your pregnancy

This week you have reached the midpoint of your pregnancy. So you have bravely survived all those bouts of morning sickness, nausea, dizziness, heartburn and fatigue till now. You deserve a pat on your back for sure. You're now in week 20 and here are the changes you can expect to see or experience:

Changes that happen to your body

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Here is what you might feel during this week of your pregnancy:

You find it difficult to breathe: As your baby keeps growing, the uterus pushes your intestine upwards, which exerts pressure on the different organs of the body like the lungs and the heart. Even a mildly strenuous activity can now make you gasp for air. Know that this is normal. You may need to slow down your pace to adjust with the changes happening inside your body. Also read why deep breathing during pregnancy is important.

You experience lower abdominal pain and leg cramps: You may still feel pain in your lower abdomen while you try to get up after sitting for too long or vice versa. This is because as the uterus grows it exerts pressure on the ligaments and the muscles surrounding it. The bulging uterus also presses on the sciatic nerve which runs down the entire leg. This can give rise to severe leg cramps at times. Also know about the seven other causes of abdominal pains during pregnancy and how to deal with them.

Your feet and ankles swell: You might notice some swelling on your feet and ankles too without any other associated discomfort. This harmless condition is called edema which is caused due to water retention. Make sure you don't stand for long hours or walk around too much. This will make them swell more. Know about the other ways of dealing with edema.

You feel hungry all the time: Now that you have left your morning sickness behind you, hunger pangs can get the better of you. But don't indulge in the habit of eating for two. Whatever you eat make sure it is healthy and not junk food. Wrong eating habits now can lead to excessive weight gain and other pregnancy induced complications. Also what you eat has a direct effect on fetal wellbeing and growth, which is a good reason to eat right during pregnancy. Also read common mistakes women make during pregnancy.

Your belly now starts to show: With your pregnancy progressing into the 20th week, it is now no secret and your baby-bump is doing all the talking for you. Now is the time to fill your wardrobe with all those cute pregnancy dresses and go for a pregnancy makeover too. From now onwards you may gain anywhere between 0.5 to 1 kg every week.

Your nails and hair look different: With all those hormonal changes happening within you, your nails and hair also gets affected. While your nails might turn yellow and brittle, you hair on the other hand can increase in volume and looks lustrous. This is because during pregnancy the hormones that cause discomfort, arrest the usual hair fall process which will again be restored soon after the delivery.

Apart from this, you may also feel that some of the other problems of pregnancy like constipation, nausea, frequent urination, dizziness and heartburn. Acne can surface at some point during pregnancy and remain suppressed at other times. The best way to deal with the same is to eat a balanced diet and keep yourself hydrated. Most of the common pregnancy niggles can be taken care of with just these two simple measures.

Developments in your baby

While you deal with all those changes that your body goes through, your baby passes through a critical developmental phase. Here's what is happening within the womb:

Your baby's swallowing reflex improves: Although your baby has been swallowing from a very early period of gestation, the swallowing reflex improves. The amniotic fluid in which your baby floats will be swallowed in large amounts by her now. The water would be absorbed by the body while the rest will travel down the little digestive system and contribute towards meconium formation - your baby's first stool - which she would expel out of the body after birth.

Your baby's scalp has more hair: Your baby's scalp has started to sprout hair since the previous week. Also her entire body is covered and protected with a thin film of hair called lanugo that will shed a few days before your labour begins.

Your baby moves more often: Well your baby's movements have also increased considerably. You might feel slight tingling sensations when she tries to move from one end to the other or perform a somersault inside you. There is still time to feel a full-fledged kick. Also read how to decode your baby's kicks.

Your baby's ears are fully functional now: Now your baby's ears are fully developed and functional. Talking to your baby now is a good idea to initiate the mother and baby bonding process. Also read about the benefits of talking to your baby-bump.

This week your baby weighs almost 311 g and measures around 190 mm from crown-to-rump.

What you should be doing

  • Be sure about your second trimester blood tests and sonography. You might be due for your anomaly scan soon and will have to undergo a series of tests. These tests will help to detect any congenital defects or other underlying health conditions that can pose a problem during pregnancy. Know about the second trimester tests and their importance.
  • To prevent acquiring an infection or from suffering from a bout of seasonal cold and flu maintain high levels of sanitation.
  • Take good care of your skin to prevent the occurrence of stretch marks. Apply moisturiser on the areas that are most prone to it like the belly, buttock and the breasts.
  • Follow a balanced diet and eat healthy all the time. Avoid junk, fried foods or foods that are high in fat content. While it is good to consume extra calories during pregnancy to meet the requirements of your body, overeating can pose o be a problem. Here is what you need to know about pregnancy weight gain.
  • It is important to keep yourself hydrated during pregnancy and to sip other healthy beverages that will impart nutritional benefits as well. However, know that tea, coffee and other aerated drinks don't fall in the category of health drinks. Apart from that know about the eight drinks that should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Quit smoking and drinking during pregnancy. Your vices can lead to life threatening consequences in your baby. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to a condition called as fetal alcohol syndrome that can have life long impact on your baby. Here is what you need to know about fetal alcohol syndrome.
  • Sleep during pregnancy can at times be difficult try to get as much rest as you can to help your body recover from the stress and strains.

If you wish to know what happened to your body while you reached week 18 of your pregnancy, you could read:

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