Pregnancy: Week - 20

How your baby is growing:

Another busy week for baby as the fine details continues to finish out, this week eyelashes and eye brows form. The skin also begins to develop the layers, all human beings have. Previous to this week its thin covering resembled parchment more than skin. And there is plenty of new baby to fill that growing skin as your baby has gained at least two ounces in a mere week! This brings his or her weigh to ten and one half ounces and his or her height to ten inches.

Seem like a big jump for height? That’s because after the half way mark, or week twenty your baby’s height is now measured from head to heel rather than crown to rump. This is because previously your baby was all balled up and measuring his or her legs was difficult.

You’ve began to pass your white blood cells, or immunities to your baby this week. This process will continue through-out your pregnancy and even after! Remember that everything from your immunities to disease and sickness to elements of your diet will pass to your baby through your milk once he or she is born. Speaking of eating all the amniotic fluid your baby has consumed is now forming his or her very first poop. Sounds like an odd thing to mention right? But Meconium can alarm some parents. This first diaper will appear black, tar-like and sticky making many parents think there is something wrong with their new bundle of joy. Meconium is made up of mucus, bile, lanugo, and swallowed amniotic fluid and will begin to store in your baby’s intestines after this week until its birth.

Lastly if you are expecting a son his testes have begun their voyage from his abdomen to his scrotum.

How your body is changing:

Your baby isn’t the only one growing, by now most women have gained around ten pounds, plus or minus a little depending on their weight before the pregnancy and will begin to gain around one pound a week from here on out. This continued rapid weight gain can cause the lungs to become cramped which could result in difficulty breathing. Unfortunately this will only get worse until around four to six weeks before your labor. At this time your baby will “drop” so to speak down into the abdomen to prepare for birth making your breathing come easier but, you’ll also have to pee a lot more so it’s a trade off.

Another physical change that occurs to some women around week twenty is their bulging belly pops out their belly button making it become what we call “outtie” rather than an “innie”. Some belly button just become very flat rather than popping out, it all depends on the button. Most belly buttons return to normal after the baby is born however in some rare cases it does not. Depending on the extent of the poke out so to speak some women opt to have restorative surgery to fix their belly buttons.

Some pregnant women choose to place a small piece of tape over their belly button if it does pop out to avoid it showing through their clothing. This is safe if its something you are worried about.

Occasionally a belly button will pop out farther than normal due to a weak tether to the abdominal wall causing a tear through which the intestines can bulge. This called an Umbilical Hernia.

Signs of Umbilical Hernia during pregnancy include:

  • A lump near the navel or a much extended belly button.
  • Pain in the abdomen near the navel that becomes worse when you sneeze, cough, strain or laugh.
  • If an actual lump is present it may be red or bruised.

If you suspect you have an umbilical hernia it is important you let your doctor know right away. Umbilical hernias can affect digestion and can be very dangerous. Though umbilical hernias are more common in your actual newborn than you, adult umbilical hernias always have to be fixed with surgery while a new born umbilical hernia will often resolve itself.

How your life is changing:

Almost all women have felt their baby move by now which can be very exciting.

You may also notice a dramatic peak in your appetite following this week, and even find yourself waking in the middle of the night with hunger pains. Be sure you are eating a good, full breakfast with plenty of fats, protein, and complex carbohydrates. This will help you feel fuller longer during the day. Avoid eating a ton of junk food as you snack during the day. Other than that do your best to stick to your pregnant diet, being extra careful to keep your iron intake up from this week on out, not only does your baby need extra iron as he or she grows to produce more blood but you do! Remember that the blood in your body will increase by at least fifty percent during your pregnancy and has already increased dramatically.