By pregnancy week 20, your baby may be around 10" long; weighing about 10.5 ounces. From this week, the baby's length is measured from head to toe, and that is why there is a sudden increase in the length. If the length is measured from the crown till the rump, your baby will only be 6.5" long.
Week 20 is halfway through a normal pregnancy of 40 weeks. Your little one breathes in and out the amniotic fluid and also swallows it. The body and limbs are getting bigger, so the head is becoming even more proportionate than before. Your little one will grow even more the following weeks, and soon his weight will be in the unit of pounds and not in ounces.
Your baby's skin in pregnancy week 20 is becoming multilayered and pretty complex. The epidermis has a few layers and it forms ridges at the finger tips, which will later become the fingerprints of your baby. Your little one is also very hard at work in creating the thicker skin of the palms and soles.
Shall we now look at how you are getting on this pregnancy week 20? The apex of the uterus or fundus, has now reached the navel. The health professional will measure the fundal height, which is the height from the fundus to the top of your pubic bone. This height will give the gestational age of your baby between week 14 and 32. After that they use the ultrasound to measure the total size of your baby, and see how healthy your baby is at that point. From pregnancy week 20, your tummy will begin to protrude even more. Pregnancy can be anywhere from 38 to 42 weeks, but the actual date due is 40 weeks from the first day of the last period.
In pregnancy week 20, the fundal height is more than what it should be the doctor will either suspect twins or the due date may be sooner than anticipated; because the baby is growing more than normal. The ultrasound will help the doctor determine whether this size difference is due to wrongly calculating the due date.
Through the ultrasound the doctor will also be able to check if there is any Intrauterine Growth Restriction or IUGR, and that will result in a baby that is much lighter than normal. Some of the dangers due to IUGR are as a result of, twins; the mother's original weight is low and also not gaining enough during pregnancy; smoking and drinking; anemia; diabetes mellitus and chronic hypertension.
The weight of a normal baby is about 7 pounds. IUGR is suspected when the baby's weight is not in line with the baby's gestation period. Although premature babies weigh less but their weight is in line with their gestational period, and so no IUGR is suspected.
If your baby is suspected of any IUGR, the doctor will have to conduct certain tests to see what the cause is. Babies that have IUGR, have more problems than babies whose weight is normal. But do not worry, as long as you have your ultrascan done your doctor will be forewarned, and he can start on any necessary treatment for your baby.
As your tummy is getting bigger, the skin is going to start to stretch and will result in itching. Some pregnant ladies will develop red itchy bumps on the abdomen towards the last two months of pregnancy, which is a form of pregnancy rash or urticaria. They are just irritating to have. In pregnancy week 20 or even before, the skin starts stretching, you can put some oil or cream on the abdomen. This will reduce the stretch marks on the abdomen. Olive oil is a great home remedy for preventing you from getting stretch marks during pregnancy. Another important thing is not to scratch, as this will leave marks on the skin which will be difficult to remove. Every time you feel the itchiness, just smooth the surface of your skin with your palms. You can use olive oil too at that time.
You can begin your childbirth classes, such as the Lamaze course, around this pregnancy week 20. Here you will learn more about childbirth, and the exercises that you can do at the moment of childbirth to ease the pain.