20 Weeks Pregnant: Girl Or Boy? The First Big Ultrasound
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What’s it like?
This is the week of a big ultrasound – the one where you get to find out your baby’s sex. Ultrasounds use high frequency sound waves to image your growing little one. The technician applies a topical gel – usually clear and cold, to your belly so that the sound waves travel easy into the belly. Then the technician uses as a transducer, a handheld device, to sonically image the fetus.
Ultrasound genetic testing is correct about 80-90 percent of the time. The technician examines the unborn baby’s body parts to figure out the sex. For girls, the labia shows up as three small lines between her legs. For boys, the penis and testicles give good indication. Some places offer a digital recording of the ultrasound, while others provide pictures. Both are mementos of a wonderful moment in the pregnancy.
Your baby’s growth
- Body size
Last week, your baby was about the size of a summer squash. Now in the 20th week since conception, he or she measures between 6.7 and 7.2 inches (170 and 185 millimeters). Your baby gains weight mostly because he or she adds more fat, and lots of it. This week, his or her approximate weight is about 0.88 pounds (400 grams).
- Head characteristics
Her taste and the tactile sensitivity improve. On the tongue’s surface taste buds begin to form and the brain and the nerve endings are now developed enough to process the sense of touch.
- Body appearance
In the 20th week, your baby wants to make the most of his or her newly acquired sensation of touch. She touches her face, other parts of the body, and sucks her fingers and thumb.
- Internal organs
With a girl, her vagina begins to form, although it will continue to develop until birth. Her uterus and ovaries are already positioned correctly, with all the eggs that she will need throughout her entire reproductive life. With a boy, during the 20th week his testicles begin to descend into his inguinal canal close to the testis.
What happens inside your body?
During this week, your increased vaginal discharge (leucorrhea) may continue, and the heartburn, frequent swelling, indigestion, bloating, constipation, and cramps. The hormone progesterone relaxes the body’s joints and ligaments, so you may experience pain or tingling in your spinal cord. Avoid carrying heavy weights, and wear low heels to ease the pressure on your spine and prevent falls.
The Braxton-Hicks contractions are uterine exercises that prepare your body for the labor and the birthing process. You should feel your uterus’s muscles suddenly contract and relax. These are more irregular, although they will become more frequent as your pregnancy progresses. If the contractions are accompanied by pain and become increasingly intense, call your obstetrician.
As your baby grows, you may feel short of breath. This happens because you need more oxygen to support the needs of yourself and your child. While the number of breaths you take per minute actually changes very little during pregnancy, the amount of air you take in with each breath increases greatly.
Later in pregnancy, as your expanding uterus puts pressure on your diaphragm, your breathing might feel more difficult, especially if you’re carrying your baby high or carrying twins.
How different will you look?
Your baby is about six inches in length or the size on an eggplant. She can move her arms and legs, which means more weight, especially on your belly, back and hips. You may feel itchy around your belly, thighs and breasts, or wherever there are stretch marks. Red bumps and irritations might appear on your belly from the same reason. This itchiness can often be eliminated with a body moisturizer used twice daily. Creams that are high in Vitamin E can help alleviate any scaring. Remember not all women have every one of these symptoms, and sometimes they may be hardly noticeable. However you look, you are mid-way through and doing great.
For fathers – How can you care for both of your loved ones?
Congratulations! You’re half way there. The mid-way point is a milestone in the pregnancy and an excellent opportunity for you both to celebrate. You can bring her flowers, take her out for dinner, cook her favorite meal, run her a candle-lit bath, give or buy her massage. Intimacy and openness are great for closeness and establishing the loving foundations for your new family.
For mothers – Tips to help you go through trimester
- No rings: It might seem obvious, but many women simply forget, or leave it too late and then have to have their precious rings cut from their fingers. Edema (swelling) of both your hands and feet are common throughout the pregnancy, so best if you remove your rings, or move them to a looser finger. Or wear them on a necklace, close to your heart.
- Be good to your feet: You’re carrying extra weight, have low blood pressure, nocturnal feet cramps, and varicose veins in your legs. Try getting a food massage, soak your feet in warm water, perhaps with a few drop of orange or tangerine oil for relaxation, elevate your feet on a pillow while sleeping, walk at least 30 minutes every day to favor the blood circulation. If you are having muscle cramps, a magnesium or calcium and magnesium supplement replaces replaces the lost salts. Or you can the extra magnesium in bananas, chocolate and figs.
You are half way through your pregnancy. Well done! Once this week ends, you will only have 20 more weeks to go! Early, but healthy births i.e. not a pre-term, may take place earlier at 37 weeks, while a late birth is up to 42 weeks (after which you will have C-section).
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