Week 20 Ultrasound Picture: http://dailygarnish.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/079715bd2ed6_CB92/MALONEEMILY20110527091056545-640×4801.jpg
What to Expect This Appointment?
Congratulations, you’re half way there. 20 weeks is the half way point for full term pregnancy. The fetus is weighing in at around 10 ounces with a length of 6.5 inches. This is the first week that the doctor will be able to measure from head to toe. Up until 20 weeks, the fetus’ legs are curled up against its chest which makes it hard to get an appropriate measurement. Before 20 weeks the doctor gets their measurements from the head to the rump or bottom. After 20 weeks, the doctor will continue to measure the fetus from head to toe.
What is Developing?
20 weeks is the halfway point in fetal development. During this week, the fetus is beginning production of meconium. Meconium is a sticky black by product of digestion. This sticky black goo accumulates in the bowels during development. Many parents will see this substance in the first few soiled diapers after birth.
By this point, most parents already know what they are having. Development differs between boy and girl babies during the 20th week. For girls, 20 weeks sees the complete development of the uterus and the development of the vaginal canal. Even in the womb, girls have primitive eggs in their ovaries, millions of them. After birth, the number of eggs will decrease, but rest assured, there are more eggs produced than she will ever use. For boys, 20 weeks sees the slight descent of the testicles. The testicles descend, but are still in the abdomen until the scrotum finishes development.
One of the perks of being pregnant is great hair and nails. During pregnancy, hormones cause hair and nails to grow at a faster than usual rate. The hair that grows in is fuller and thicker. This is all due to pregnancy hormones and increased blood circulation. This increased circulation of blood and hormones provides additional nutrients to nail and hair cells. However, this doesn’t last forever, so enjoy it while it lasts.
Pregnancy makes it hard to sleep. With the increased size of the baby and the kicking, it is almost impossible to get comfortable. Many women find that lying on their left side helps to alleviate some of the discomfort.
Eating the right foods is important. Everyone is encouraged to have 3 large meals followed by 2-3 small snacks throughout the day. This allows both mother and baby to get all the nutrients they need without overdoing it. While the buffet might sound great, moderation is key, even when pregnant. Taking more time to eat and eating in moderation can also help with heartburn and other gas related issues. Expectant mothers need more iron in their diets to keep up with the increased blood volume. The iron is important to the baby and the developing placenta. While red meat and poultry provide excellent sources of iron, many plant based foods such as spinach, soy, prunes, and raisins also provide adequate amounts of iron.