Pregnancy Week 20: Fetal Development, 20-Week Ultrasound, Sleep Tips & Pregnancy Pillows by 30Seconds Pregnancy
You’re already 20 weeks – the halfway mark! Your baby weighs about 10 1/2 ounces and is the size of a large banana (not one of those cute mini bananas). Baby’s organs are settling into their right locations, teeth are starting to appear and he’s producing meconium, the black, sticky substance forming the first feces of a newborn. Meconium will accumulate in your baby’s bowels and this will be his first dirty diaper. If your baby is a girl, her uterus is fully developed, she has eggs in her ovaries and the vaginal canal is beginning to take shape. If you’re baby is a boy, his testicles are still in the abdomen waiting for the scrotum to be completed. Once they have a place to go, they will start their descent.
Photo: Baby at 20 weeks of development
At your halfway mark, you’ve probably gained about 10 pounds. Going forward, most women gain about a pound a week. You’re probably ready to get a look at your growing baby at your ultrasound exam (finally, huh?). According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), an ultrasound is energy in the form of sound waves. During an ultrasound exam, a transducer sends sound waves through the body. The sound waves come into contact with tissues, body fluids and bones. The waves then bounce back, like echoes. The transducer receives these echoes, which are turned into images. The images can be viewed as pictures on a video screen. What this means is you can see your baby!
Your doctor will probably have you drink a certain amount of water to fill your bladder. Not fun, but necessary to reduce the amount of room your baby can move around in (kind of like a play yard). The ultrasound technician runs the transducer across your abdomen and check the baby’s position, movement, breathing and heart rate; gives an estimate of the baby’s size and weight; measures the amount of amniotic fluid in the uterus and location of the placenta; and notes the number of babies. And yes, they can also try to find out the sex of your little one. If you do not want to know, be sure to tell the tech beforehand. Be sure to ask for a photo to take home with you, and some even offer a video.
Are you getting enough sleep? Insufficient sleep has been linked to weight gain (you’ve got that already covered!), a poorly functioning immune system, hypertension and the inability to retain information. Many studies have suggested a link between heart disease and stroke. Improving sleep patterns may improve overall health, so let's work on getting a few more ZZZZZs with these tips:
- Exercise earlier in the day for at least 30 minutes a day.
- Avoid drinking fluids before bed and eat a light snack 30 minutes before bed.
- Keep your surroundings peaceful with a good mattress, dark room, proper temperature and filter sounds – perhaps with a sleep noise machine.
Get more tips to help you sleep better!
In addition to the great tips above, consider buying a pregnancy pillow. Pregnancy pillows are designed for a pregnant woman’s body and come in different shapes and sizes:
- Body Pillow: This long pillow is the size of your body. Simply sleep with it like you would your partner – yes, cuddle the pillow.
- U-shaped Pillows: This pillow is shaped like a … yep … a U. It’s contoured to wrap around your body. There are different ways to use these pillows depending on how you sleep.
- Inflatable Pillows: Think of a swimming pool raft with a hole in it for your belly. Inflatable pillows are best if you are a stomach sleeper.
Here are 12 of the top pregnancy pillows.
“Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers … strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.” – Barbara Katz Rothman, childbirth expert and midwife
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