You are 20 weeks pregnant or in your 21st week of pregnancy (counting from the first day of your Last Menstrual Period).
Keep in mind that this information is approximate. Each pregnancy is different and growth rates vary. For variations and details, please talk to your doctor.
What’s happening to the baby?
- The amniotic fluid that cushions the baby is increasing. The baby starts getting a very small amount of calories and sugars from the small amount of amniotic fluid he swallows and digests. This gives the baby’s digestive system some practice. But the majority of baby’s calories and nutrients still come from the placenta.
- Your baby’s hearing gets further developed and by now your baby might hear more sounds from outside (not just the loud ones).
- Earlier only the liver and the spleen were producing red blood cells. Now the bone marrow is working and starting to produce red blood cells.
- The skin is maturing and becoming more opaque and less translucent. The baby is beginning to build up fat below the skin.
- Your baby is about 16 centimetres long (Crown to rump length) and weighs about 310 grams.
What’s happening to mom?
- You are starting the second half of your pregnancy.
- You will start experiencing breathlessness because your uterus is pressing on your lungs. Breathlessness can be worsened by iron deficiencies brought on by pregnancy. Iron deficiencies in the mother can also impede the baby’s growth and cause low birth weight in babies. So ensure that you eat iron-rich foods like leafy green vegetables (spinach), pulses and beans, whole grains and red meat. Read more about foods that are rich in iron.
- Most women start to feel the baby’s movements (kicks, wiggles or other movements) or “quickening” at this time (around 18-22 weeks). Many describe it as a fluttering sensation or a gas bubble in the abdomen. This is when it “hits” most women that there is a live baby in their bodies. But do not panic if you do not feel the baby’s movements at this time. Discuss this with your doctor. Because they do not know what to expect, many first time mothers usually feel the baby’s movements a little later than mothers who have had babies earlier.
Checklist for mom
- Learn about the glucose screening test. This is a preliminary test that is given to all pregnant women sometime during the 24th to 28th weeks of pregnancy to check for gestational diabetes. It measures how well your body can process sugar. Indian women, in particular, are highly susceptible to gestational diabetes. Discuss this with your doctor and schedule this test.
- Discuss your maternity leave with your spouse and boss and plan your maternity leave (if you are working). In India, 3 months of paid maternity leave is mandatory by law and any more is left to the discretion of the employers. Some companies even have a provision for paternity leave. So have your spouse check about that as well to ensure good care coverage for your baby.
- Remember to continue doing your Kegel exercises to strengthen your lower abdominal muscles. These can help you in labour, delivery and post-delivery recovery as well.
- If you have started feeling the baby’s movements, do share these exciting moments with dad and make him feel these as well. Remember that dad has not been “feeling” all the ups and downs of your body during pregnancy and this will make him participate in your pregnancy. Babies get active once you drink sweet liquids like juice etc. and when you sleep or lie down (your movements when you are active lull the baby to sleep). These are perfect times to call dad to feel the baby’s movements.
Ideas for dad
- If your wife has started feeling the baby’s kicks and movements, do share in the excitement. This will probably be the first time you will feel the baby. Babies get active once mom drinks sweet liquids like juice etc. and when she sleeps or lies down (if mom is active, her movements lull the baby to sleep). These are perfect times to feel the baby move.
- Find out about paternity leave from your company. Indian central government employees get one month of paid paternity leave. But for private companies, paternity leave is left to the discretion of the company. Discuss maternity and paternity leave with your spouse and ensure good care coverage for your baby.
- Share your tips, tricks and knowledge with other Parentree members.
- Are you meditating?
- Many women say that meditation helps them to tune in better with their changing bodies and their baby. You might be able to have a better feel for your baby and his movements. Given all that is going on in your life, meditation can help you weed out the clutter and stay focused, calm and relaxed.
Useful Parentree articles for this stage of pregnancy