20th week of pregnancy
Week 20 is a kind of milestone that completes the first half of pregnancy and symbolizes the end of the fifth obstetric month of 28 days. Now the baby for the expectant mother is not just an indefinite object: it moves, has a sleep and rest regime, and responds to various influences.
- Fruit - norms, sensations, activity
- Baby wiggle
- What does the expectant mother feel?
- What does the belly look like?
- Uterus - size and "training contractions"
- Pain and its prevention
- Vaginal discharge
- Analyzes and their frequency
- Ultrasound - assessment of fetal development
- Diagnosing a frozen pregnancy
- Twin pregnancy
- Optimal weight at week 20
- Diet recommendations
- Intimate life
- Special problems at 20 weeks of gestation
Fruit - norms, sensations, activity
The mimicry of the fetus is improving, now he knows how to blink, yawn and grimace. His mouth periodically opens, the baby makes swallowing movements, drinking a little amniotic fluid. Subsequently, from its components, primary feces are formed - meconium, which is released in the first days of a child's life.
Fetal parameters at week 20:
- Weight - 270-300 g;
- Body length - 25-27 cm.
The baby's skin now consists of 4 layers, so it is no longer transparent and smooth. Wrinkles appear on its surface, it still retains its red color. The sebaceous glands work intensively, secreting a secret for the original lubricant, which protects against the soaking effects of amniotic fluid. The whole body of the baby is covered with fluff, it grows more intensively in place of hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. The fingernails and toenails are already formed.
The baby's lungs are at a developmental stage, after a few weeks, this will allow the baby to simulate the first training breathing movements. This skill will come in handy for the baby when he has to take the first breath.
The child's nervous system develops and matures, his skills improve - at this stage of pregnancy he can already touch his face and body with his fingers, suck them, grab the umbilical cord with his hands, and move in the uterine cavity.
At week 20, the auditory and visual apparatus of the unborn baby continues to form. He distinguishes loud sounds and even recognizes the mother's voice by timbre. The eyelids are already able to blink, although until that time the eyes were constantly closed. The first photoreceptors appear on the retina.
The fetal heartbeat is clearly audible with a conventional stethoscope. All internal organs function properly.
The manifestations of fetal activity become more distinct. He not only moves: it is already possible to discern whether the child is asleep or awake. Some mothers claim that their baby hiccups, responds to touches on the stomach and loud noise with sharper movements. If the movements are too active, it is possible that there is too little oxygen in the mother's blood, and the child is experiencing a shortage of it.
What does the expectant mother feel?
The significantly enlarged uterus significantly affects the position of the internal organs of a woman. This results in heartburn, shortness of breath, and increased urination. Due to the rapid growth of the uterus and excessive stretching, the skin on the abdomen may itch and develop stretch marks (striae). To prevent them, moisturizers, almond or olive oil are applied to the surface of the abdomen.
Deficiency of calcium and other trace elements, increased weight and blood volume cause cramps in the calves. To minimize these manifestations, you should enrich the diet with dairy products, take vitamin and mineral complexes, and drink enough water.
The load on the vascular system of a pregnant woman leads to the appearance of varicose veins of the extremities. Spider veins form on the skin, a pattern of veins appears. To prevent varicose veins, you should rest more often, raising your legs to a dais, wear compression stockings or tights.
What does the belly look like?
At week 20, the stomach is increasing more and more, rising up. The movements of a woman due to a voluminous tummy become more careful, but therefore no less graceful. Without wearing a special bandage, it is difficult not only to walk for a long time, but also just to stand for a short time. Special clothes for pregnant women made from natural fabrics will help you feel comfortable in any situation.
Uterus - size and "training contractions"
At 20 weeks, the uterus is located at the level of the navel, its bottom rises above the pubic joint by 11-12 cm. Sometimes a woman feels small contractions of the myometrium, when the uterus becomes dense and firm to the touch for a short period of time. There is no need to worry about this, these are so-called "training contractions", and they are not dangerous for the child.
Pain and its prevention
The main source of discomfort at week 20 is pain in the spine, in the lumbar region. It is associated with a growing uterus and a shift in the center of gravity of the entire body. In addition, a woman's ligaments and joints are now under significant stress due to an increase in body weight and hormonal changes in the body.
To unload the spine and back muscles, you should refuse to wear high-heeled shoes, more often rest in a lying or reclining position, unloading your back.
If your stomach hurts not your back, you should seek the advice of your doctor. Perhaps these are symptoms of increased uterine tone or the threat of miscarriage.
Discharge at 20 weeks of gestation may increase in volume. This is due to increased blood circulation in the small pelvis. Vaginal discharge normally has a grayish-milky hue, a transparent or slightly cloudy consistency, a fairly high viscosity.
Signs of pathology:
- Cheesy discharge of white or yellowish color - vaginal candidiasis;
- Watery discharge of significant volume - leakage of amniotic fluid;
- Scarlet bloody discharge - placenta previa and its damage;
Leucorrhoea with a fetid odor, a greenish tint and a mucous structure - the addition of an infection.
Any abnormalities should be consulted with a pregnancy supervisor.
Analyzes and their frequency
From this time on, the woman attends the antenatal clinic not monthly, but once every 2 weeks. Before visiting the doctor, she takes a general blood and urine test. Additionally, a blood test for sugar and hemoglobin levels may be required. Urine analysis allows you to assess the condition of the kidneys, which carry an increased load at this time.
If a woman has not yet been screened for the second trimester, she will be assigned a biochemical blood test to determine possible pathologies of fetal development - a "triple test" for the concentration of the hCG hormone, alpha-fetoprotein and free estriol.
Ultrasound - assessment of fetal development
The doctor may order an ultrasound scan at 20 weeks as part of a second trimester screening for hidden fetal malformations.
What the study can show:
- The condition of the placenta and uterus;
- Compliance of fetal parameters with gestational age;
- Child gender;
- The functionality of the internal organs of the fetus - the respiratory and digestive tract, urinary system;
- The nature of the child's cardiac activity, the structural features of this organ.
Particular attention is paid to diagnosing a heart defect in order to provide the baby with the necessary assistance immediately after birth if necessary.
Diagnosing a frozen pregnancy
Fading pregnancy can occur at any time. The cause of this pathology is hormonal disorders, fetal developmental defects, the conflict of Rh factors in the blood of the mother and the child. If in the early stages of pregnancy her fading was difficult to diagnose immediately, then with the appearance of perturbations, a woman can sound the alarm herself. It is important not to confuse the fading of pregnancy with a decrease in fetal activity during sleep.
An ultrasound scan, listening to the fetal heartbeat, will help to confirm or deny the diagnosis. If the tragedy does happen, the woman is removed from the dead fetus and examined to establish the cause of the pregnancy fading. Then antibacterial therapy, psychotherapeutic treatment is prescribed. The recovery period can take from 6 months to a year.
The abdomen at the 20th week of pregnancy with twins increases significantly, since both children are actively developing and growing. The consequence of this is an increased load on the spine, increased urination due to squeezing of the bladder. The psychological state of the pregnant woman is significantly improved, since the threat of miscarriage is reduced at this time.
On an ultrasound scan performed at this stage of pregnancy, you can already see how one baby hugs another and even takes him by the hand. Regular walks, wearing a bandage, an optimal diet, when a pregnant woman eats in small portions, but often, will help to endure this difficult period much easier.
Optimal weight at week 20
Over the entire period of pregnancy, a weight gain of no more than 15-17 kg is allowed. No wonder the body weight is controlled throughout the prenatal period, the woman is weighed at each visit to the antenatal clinic. Excessive obesity can significantly complicate the course of labor, so weight should be monitored. Normally, the difference between body weight in the first weeks of pregnancy and at week 20 should not be more than 3-6 kg. From this time on, the optimal weight gain is no more than 500 g per week.
This part of a pregnant woman's lifestyle is extremely important for the formation and development of the fetus. It is important to provide the child with material to grow and not gain excess weight. Therefore, when forming a diet, you should adhere to the doctor's recommendations. Most likely, he will advise to build the menu mainly on light protein foods, include lean meat and fish, dairy products, herbs, fruits and vegetables in it.
Marinades and pickles, smoked meats and fatty semi-finished products, canned food are excluded from the diet of the expectant mother. The use of alcohol, products with dyes and preservatives, factory-made carbonated drinks is completely excluded.
To optimize the drinking regime, use weak tea with milk, berry fruit drinks, compote from fresh fruits and dried fruits, clean water. A daily rate of at least 2 liters of fluid per day will help to provide all the needs of the body. There is no need to be afraid that such a drinking regime will provoke edema. Excessive salt intake is responsible for their appearance and an increase in blood pressure.
Salt negatively affects the state of the walls of blood vessels, contributes to the concentration of excess fluid in the body, therefore, the presence of salt in food should be limited. When you become overweight, you need to revise your diet, include more vegetable fiber, less simple carbohydrates. But complex carbohydrates will only benefit a pregnant woman. They are obtained from bran bread, cereals, legumes.
The main method of cooking is boiling, steaming, baking. Fried and smoked food provokes heartburn and excess weight.
At week 20, sexual relations may well continue, although not as intensely as before pregnancy. Do not be afraid that the child may be harmed. It is reliably protected by the uterus and amniotic fluid. Contraindications to sexual relations may be the threat of miscarriage, placenta previa, pregnancy with twins.
Special problems at 20 weeks of gestation
Despite the fact that at this time pregnancy is easy for most women, sometimes special problems arise:
Leakage of amniotic fluid. If you have a discharge of amniotic fluid within a few hours, you should seek emergency medical attention. Inpatient treatment will help maintain the pregnancy and prevent fetal infection.
Constipation. A pregnant uterus compresses the intestines, thereby increasing the likelihood of constipation. An additional cause of defecation disorders is hormonal changes. To prevent constipation, you should consume a lot of fluids, introduce more vegetable fiber into the diet, eat dried apricots, and prunes.
Decreased hemoglobin levels. At the 20th week of pregnancy, the likelihood of physiological anemia in pregnant women is high, when the hemoglobin level decreases due to an increase in the volume of circulating blood, which occurs against the background of a decrease in its density due to an increase in the proportion of liquid components. In this way, the blood of the mother and child is better supplied with oxygen and nutrients. However, the hemoglobin level, lowered to 110-115 g / l, requires special therapy - taking iron-containing drugs, introducing liver, beef, pomegranate fruits and juice from it, apples into the diet.
Isolation of colostrum from the mammary glands. Discharge from the nipples of the sticky substance may begin as early as 16 weeks. This is how the breasts prepare to produce milk after childbirth. In no case should you express colostrum so as not to provoke an increase in the tone of the uterus. You should wear bras made of natural materials, put special pads in them.
Video about the dangers of household appliances and electromagnetic radiation for pregnant women, varicose veins, fetal development features:
The author of the article: Lapikova Valentina Vladimirovna | Gynecologist, reproductologist
Education: Diploma in Obstetrics and Gynecology received at the Russian State Medical University of the Federal Agency for Healthcare and Social Development (2010). In 2013 completed postgraduate studies at N.N. N.I. Pirogova.
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