Your Pregnancy: Week 20
Congratulations! You are officially halfway through the pregnancy. You’ve already seen significant changes in your moods and emotions, and now it’s time to see even bigger changes in your figure. Your morning sickness should have eased a bit, if it didn’t disappear completely, and your energy levels should be closer to normal. If they aren’t, make sure to get plenty of rest and eat lots of protein-rich foods to boost your energy.
Now is the time to stop sleeping on your back or (obviously) stomach and to avoid spending long periods lounging flat on your back. Your growing uterus will put stress on important blood vessels running down the back of your abdomen, decreasing circulation to your baby and parts of your body, and stomach sleeping puts pressure on the life forming inside. Side sleeping might be difficult if you’re not used to it, but buying a large sleeping pillow (a third-trimester must-have!) or sliding a rolled blanket under one butt cheek might help get you in the habit.
Celebrate being half way through your pregnancy! (And then allow yourself to freak out a little; you’re half way through your pregnancy.)
This is the week you’ve been waiting for: your mid-pregnancy ultrasound. If you’ve decided to find out the baby’s sex (and if the baby cooperates!), you will know if you’re having a little boy or girl!
From now on, be aware of the symptoms and risks of preeclampsia and call your doctor if you experience any unusual swelling, sudden weight gain or vision changes.
Enjoy a little alone time, whether it’s by getting a prenatal massage, hitting the movie theater solo, or shutting off your phone and curling up with a good book (and some Ben & Jerry’s, perhaps.)
Up to this point, your baby had been measured only from head to rump because his or her legs were typically curled up. But from this week on, your baby will be measured from head to toe, now being about 10½ ounces and 6½ inches long.
Your baby is now starting to hear sounds, both from inside the uterus and on the outside. He/she will have no way of identifying the noises yet, but in time your baby will come to recognize your voice over anyone else’s. The baby can now be startled by loud or sudden noises and can hear both your heartbeat and your growling stomach. Bring on the lullabies and bedtime stories.
Advice from Dr. Shari E. Brasner
Somewhere around the 20-week mark, you may notice that you don’t exert the usual control over your bladder. Especially during coughs or sneezes, you may find yourself involuntarily losing small spurts of urine. Sometimes the movement of the fetus can create a ‘spasm’ of the bladder, resulting in a brief release of urine. This loss of bladder control is completely normal, certainly not shameful, and no cause for concern. Never try to affect your urinary output by drinking less water. This can lead to dehydration problems for yourself and the fetus.”
Babble recommends Dr. Brasner’s pregnancy book, Advice from a Pregnant Obstetrician.
Mom-To-Mom Advice: When Are You Due? The New Small Talk
Remember parties before you were pregnant? Conversations were peppered with questions about your career, your interests, YOU. You may have noticed a shift in small talk lately, as “What do you do?” has morphed into “When are you due?” Sure, it’s exciting to talk about the baby, in fact, it may be all you want to talk about as this new project is taking up a considerable amount of space in your life now.
But sometimes it can feel bittersweet to see your old non-baby-carrying self take a backseat. And it might make you wonder whether anyone – including yourself – will ever care about what you do again. But they will. And you will, too. Try talking about pain relief in labor or selecting a stroller at a dinner party a few months from now and – unless you’re talking exclusively to a table of brand new parents – the conversation will die on the spot.
There’s something so out-there about pregnancy; the bump literally precedes you. You may not be able to avoid the topic, but you needn’t hang on it indefinitely. Feel free to reroute the conversation to discuss a film or U.S. equities markets or military strategy in the Middle East if you’re so inclined.
As you move forward, you’ll find the balance between non-parenting and parenting that feels right to you. Pregnancy is the beginning of a long period of transition – possibly an unending transition if you think about it – where your sense of who you are and what you do will shift and shift back and shift again to something new.
Babble recommends From the Hips, by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris.