Your Guide to Being 20 weeks Pregnant:
Your halfway there! How do you feel?
At 20 weeks, your baby now has perfectly formed ears and is able to hear sounds from inside and outside your body. Studies have shown that she’ll learn to distinguish your voice from other people’s long before she’s born, and be soothed by it after the birth. All the major structures of your baby’s body are now formed, from her major organs right down to her fingers, toes and facial features. From now on, her main job is to pile on the pounds. She’s already roughly half the length she’ll be at birth.
The next eight weeks will be your unborn baby’s most active time – she’s in full control of her movements, and has enough space inside you to move freely. She’s even developing her own daily routine, with periods of sleep, activity and quiet but alert wakefulness.
What’s happening to you:
You’re halfway through. You have around 320ml of amniotic fluid inside you (equivalent to a can of drink) and your heart is pumping an incredible seven litres of blood every minute. Hormones relax and dilate your blood vessels to cope with this increase in blood flow, without raising your blood pressure.
At around 20 weeks, you’ll have your anomaly scan. This is a complete head-to-toe check of your unborn baby, aimed at picking up on any problems. The sonographer will also check your baby-making equipment – your placenta, volume of amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord.
Changes in your hormone levels and circulation mean you’re more prone to varicose veins in pregnancy. Try to sit with your legs uncrossed and your feet raised, keep mobile and, if you’re on your feet all day, consider wearing unsexy but oh-so-comfortable support tights.
When to check it out:
Sharp pain and swelling in one leg could, in rare cases, be a sign of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Although this is uncommon, you are more at risk in pregnancy, so always get it checked out by your doctor or midwife.
‘To do’ this week:
Once you’ve had your 20-week scan, you’ll be given your maternity notes. Carry them with you wherever you go. If you had an accident or a sudden health scare, the medics would need to know all about your pregnancy so far.