Welcome to Familyland

Week 20

How Big is the Baby at 20 Weeks Pregnant?

By pregnancy week 20 your baby is now almost 9 ounces and is between 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 inches long! The pregnancy week by week changes occurring at this stage are truly remarkable.

Your Baby's Growth and Development

By pregnancy 20 weeks your baby is now practicing breathing and swallowing on a regular basis. Your baby continues to grow and fill out, with the head becoming slightly more proportional to the rest of the body
Your baby's skin is becoming more complex at the end of pregnancy week 20, forming different layers. The epidermis, or surface of your baby's skin now has four layers that contain ridges for fingertips. The layers that form in your baby's palms and feet will provide him with his own unique fingerprint later in life.

Your Growth and Development

By pregnancy 20 weeks time you are at the midpoint of your pregnancy, and onlookers are definitely starting to notice your bump! After pregnancy week 20 your uterus has likely reached your bellybutton. Growth typically starts to become more regular from this point in time on, so you should be noticing regular changes in your belly.

Remember that you are halfway through your pregnancy by 20 weeks pregnant, only 20 more weeks to go! Some ladies will deliver slightly sooner than 40 weeks, while others will delivery shortly after. A typical pregnancy usually lasts anywhere from 37-42 weeks. Where you fall in this spectrum will depend on a number of factors, including the accuracy of your due date, the health of your baby and even your genetics!

Changes in You

By pregnancy at 20 weeks you may be feeling slightly less dainty and slightly more bulky as your belly continues to grow. By now your physician or healthcare provider will start taking regular measurements of your belly to help confirm your baby's growth and development.

There are several ways your healthcare provider may keep track of your baby's growth and development after 20 weeks pregnant. Many healthcare providers will use a measuring tape to measure your fundal height. Fundal height is determined by measuring from your pubic symphysis to the top of your uterus (called the fundus). This technique typically correlates well with the gestational age of your baby when you are between 14 and 32 weeks pregnant. After 32 weeks the use of the fundal height measurement is ambiguous. In the later weeks of pregnancy it is best to assess the overall size and health of the neonate with serial ultrasound examinations rather than fundal height measurements. The size and weight of the infant can be assessed with an accuracy of plus or minus 20% when serial ultrasound is used. Serial ultrasound exams can show the growth curve for your baby. These measurements may enable you to determine the exact percentile of growth or the growth rate for your baby.

If you are measuring much larger than expected, your healthcare provider might suspect that you are carrying twins, that the baby is growing larger than normal for your gestational age or that your baby may be due sooner than expected. Ultrasound exams will help to clarify any size or date discrepancies. Some women will measure slightly smaller than expected for their expected due date and this is perfectly normal. This could be due to miscalculation of your due date, the fact that the baby is growing smaller than expected for your gestational age or can sometimes be the result of intrauterine-growth restriction. The ultrasound exam is of greatest benefit when there is a size discrepancy because it can clarify between a small size due to miscalculated due dates or intrauterine-growth restriction.

efamily.ca© 2008 All Rights Reserved