Louise Broadbridge
Louise Broadbridge
Pregnancy Week 20

Pregnancy Week 20

At 20 weeks, you’re now halfway through your pregnancy – congratulations!

Your baby now weighs around 300g and is 23cm long, around the size of a banana. Their skin will continue to be covered by vernix – a creamy waterproof substance which protects it from drying out due to the moisture of the amniotic fluid. This will eventually disappear but if your baby arrives before their due date, they may still have a layer of vernix on their skin.

Your baby will be moving lots at this stage and it may even be possible to see, as well as feel, the activity going on in your bump. You may find your little one is especially active when you are lying down and relaxing.

Your baby’s digestive system is busy creating meconium, which will form their first ever poo. Made up of dead skin cells, digestive secretions and amniotic fluid your little one has swallowed while in the womb, meconium is a dark sticky substance which will make an appearance in your baby’s nappies in the first couple of days after birth.

How will I feel at 20 weeks?

Your bump will be getting much more obvious now and you will probably have to buy maternity clothes, if you haven’t already updated your wardrobe with outfits to see you through your pregnancy. Your uterus will now be pushing up towards your lungs – this will make your bump more prominent but it can also make you feel breathless.

Make sure you are eating plenty of iron-rich foods as you produce a lot more blood when you are pregnant so are at higher risk of becoming anaemic. Iron is vital for haemoglobin which carries oxygen around your body and to your baby so stock up on foods like lima beans, kidney beans and green leafy vegetables. Other good sources of iron include red meat, lentils, chickpeas and eggs.

You are likely to go for your 20-week scan this week, also known as the anomaly scan. The sonographer will take a detailed look at how your baby is growing, their internal organs and your placenta. 

You can also ask if they can tell whether your baby is a boy or a girl at this scan. This will not always be possible, depending on your baby’s position so bear in mind you are not guaranteed to be told the gender at this point.

Another new pregnancy symptom may make an appearance this week – cramp in your legs. Muscular spasms are really common in pregnancy, especially at night, so you may find your sleep disturbed by sharp pains in your calves. If this happens, try rubbing the area vigorously and pull your toes up towards your ankle to stretch the muscle. Staying active during the day can help prevent cramps at night.

From 20 weeks, you will be able to get your MAT B1 form, also known as the Maternity Certificate. This is an essential bit of paperwork which you will need to claim statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance. The MAT B1 acts as official evidence of your pregnancy and you can get it from your midwife or GP.

If you haven’t had your whooping cough vaccination yet, you may be given that around this stage. The NHS recommends that all pregnant women have the jab between 16 weeks and 32 weeks of pregnancy to protect their newborn from whooping cough, which is dangerous for young babies.

Having this vaccination while pregnant will pass on your immunity to your baby through the placenta, giving them protection until they are given their own whooping cough jab at two months old.

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