The 20th week marks the halfway point for a normal pregnancy. Growth continues to add length and weight to the baby. By the 20th week, the baby can weigh more than one pound and measure 8 inches or longer. Fetal growth is determined by many factors, so the baby may grow more quickly for some pregnant women and more slowly for others. No matter the length or weight of the baby at birth, all organs grow at the same rate.
At the prenatal visit
The big thing for pregnant women at this time is the 20-week ultrasound. Week 20 is the perfect time to check for fetal anomalies and to gauge fetal growth which could be a great reason for the caregiver to force parents to wait another month to find out if the fetus is a boy or girl. Anatomic ultrasounds can last up to 1 hour which can be torture for the pregnant bladder because peeing is prohibited before the test. Ask the technician during the exam if you can empty the bladder to make you feel more comfortable.
The uterus has finally reached the belly button or navel. As the fetus grows, an “innie” belly button may become an “outie.” This can cause pain or tenderness for some women. Pubic hair becomes darker and linea nigra can finally be seen clearly. Linea nigra is a vertical dark line running from the navel to the pubic area. There is no known medical reason for this line other than to visibly note pregnancy. Baby movements are easy to feel now as the space inside the womb gets tighter. Soon the baby will be kicking frequently with some kicks being painful.
Childbirth classes may begin as early as the 20th week. Some classes are designed for pregnant women and others for siblings expecting a new brother or sister. Classes are a great way to learn more about pregnancy, the female body, childbirth, and caring for the baby.
Tips for this week
Multiple pregnancies typically end two weeks before single pregnancies. Women expecting twins or more should start birthing classes and other childbirth lessons early, just in case bed rest is required. From the 20th week until birth, moms of multiples often have a harder time than moms who are carrying one baby.