This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a series of articles on pregnancy. Take a look at the other articles in the series:
At week 20, your bump will be growing faster.
Your bump will be growing by around half an inch a week from now on.
You may be noticing the following symptoms:
- nails that grow faster and may be stronger, although some women find they are more brittle
- a fuller head of hair, and possibly more hair on your body too
- indigestion and heartburn continue
- headaches, especially in an overheated an stuffy environment
- faintness and dizziness, especially in a warm room
- leg cramps
- swollen feet and ankles, due to water retention
Your belly button may protrude now and for the rest of your pregnancy
Hormonal fluctuations will lead to breast changes throughout pregnancy.
During the second trimester, they will be less sensitive but they will be getting bigger as the milk glands enlarge and fat deposits increase.
The skin on and around the nipples may darken in color.
There may also be small bumps or white spots around the nipples. These are known as the glands of Montgomery. They produce an oily substance that stops the nipples from drying out.
The nipples may leak a yellowish fluid, known as colostrum. This is the first "milk" that your baby will consume after birth. It will contain a high concentration of essential nutrients and antibodies.
Your baby is now the size of a cantaloupe, measuring approximately 6-6.5 inches from their crown to their rump and weighing nearly 10 oz.
Developments that are underway around 20 weeks include the following:
- The brain is growing rapidly.
- Cartilage is converting to bone, skeleton hardens, bone marrow starts making blood cells.
- The eyebrows are forming.
- The uterus and ovaries are formed and eggs are developing, or the testicles descend.
- The arms and legs are in proportion with the body.
- By the end of week 19 to 21, the baby will be able to swallow.
The mother can feel the baby moving, and the baby can hear.
Things to do: fetal testing
A scan may show at this point whether your baby is a girl or boy.
Amniocentesis can also reveal this, but it will only be offered if there is a risk of some health condition in the fetus, because it involves a slight risk to the baby.
It is important to speak with your health care provider to determine if genetic and other forms of prenatal screening are right for you, especially if there is any family history of a genetically-linked health condition.
A range of disorders can be diagnosed before birth, including:
- cystic fibrosis
- Duchenne muscular dystrophy
- hemophilia A
- polycystic kidney disease
- Tay-Sachs disease
- spina bifida
- ultrasound scans
- alpha-fetoprotein test (AFP)
- chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
- percutaneous umbilical blood sampling
Some tests are more reliable than others.
Finding out early if there may be a problem can enable you to prepare for the birth, as you may have special medical needs or wish to make preparations.
In some cases, it can enable doctors to administer treatment before delivery, for example, spina bifida
As your clothes tighten, you may need to consider getting some new maternity wear. There are many items available online or in stores.
Supporting bras are available for pregnancy, and they may also double up as nursing bras for when you are breast-feeding after delivery. These are available for purchase online.
If you have questions regarding your pregnancy, be sure to contact your health care provider.
Call your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms such as vaginal bleeding or passage of tissue, leaking vaginal fluid, feeling faint or dizzy, low blood pressure, rectal pressure, shoulder pain and severe pelvic pain or cramping.
There is a higher risk of urinary tract infection during pregnancy. If you suspect an infection, speak with a health care provider about treatment.
Exposure to tobacco smoke toxins while in the womb can lead to toxins lingering in the body and potentially affecting children's health years after they are born.