20 Weeks Pregnant

Imagine you’re carrying a plump banana weighting around 10 ounces. That’s how much your baby has grown at 20 weeks of pregnancy. A growth scan will tell you the exact measurements of your baby, but most babies will have around this weight and about six and a half inches in size.

How the baby is developing at 20 weeks

In general, babies grow about half an inch during this week. Your baby’s digestive system is developing complex functions, aided by the fact that your baby will be swallowing more than in the previous weeks. Development of brain nerves and of some key body functions is going at a fast pace these days.

Iron is very important for the baby’s development at this stage, especially for the creation of red blood cells. Include in your diet lentils, red meat and other foods rich in iron or iron-fortified foods.

Your pregnancy symptoms at 20 weeks

It is common to feel tummy aches around this time, because you bump is growing fast. The muscles and ligaments of your abdomen are stretching apart to make more room. Use lotions to prevent stretch marks and don’t give up your exercise routine. Exercising helps with muscle elasticity. If you feel uncomfortable during exercise, talk to your midwife or doctor to be reassured if this level of exercise is safe for you. If you feel pain in your pelvis, it’s not a major reason to worry, but your doctor can set a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment to relieve the pain.

Your estrogen levels may cause snoring. Sleeping on the side and with a pillow should help, and you will have a better sleep quality. In general, avoid eating before going to bed for at least two hours to sleep more comfortable and to avoid heartburn. Pillows and props should always be with you for a proper nap and a good night’s sleep. Use them to get comfy.

Scan appointments at 20 weeks

The growth scan and the gender scan are usually taken around 20 weeks. In week 21, however, it is more likely that the sonographer will be able to measure your baby from head to toe during a growth scan. Before this time, your baby can only be measured from head to bottom, because she is curled up. If you’ve decided to find out the baby’s sex, the sonographer may be able to tell you more details about the development of reproduction organs – especially if it’s a girl – as these have already began developing.

18 Weeks Pregnant

You now only have one week left until the half-way mark of your pregnancy. Your baby is gaining weight and developing her nervous system at a fast rate, while you’re getting hungrier and your belly is visibly growing.

Your baby’s development at 18 weeks

As fat is being deposited under your baby’s skin, she’s gaining weight, reaching about six ounces at 18 weeks. She’s developing new muscles and experimenting with new moves. She can kick, roll, yawn, swallow and do all kinds of wonderful baby moves. Pay attention to the types of movements you feel in your belly, you might be able to distinguish them. It’s very likely that you will be able to see your baby moving at the next ultrasound scan.

The nervous system is now developing at a very fast pace, and the five senses – touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing – are becoming more accurate. Teeth also form around 18 weeks, and sex organs are developing.

Your body and lifestyle at 18 weeks

If you’re feeling hungrier than before, it’s normal. Have water and snacks with you all the time and set on a diet with many small meals a day.

Feet swelling is also a common symptom around this time. Whenever you can, rest your feet on a surface that’s higher than your upper body. Try to have a nap every day, for 10 or 15 minutes. You will feel more rested and be able to get through the day without feeling exhausted in the evening. When you lie down, tilt on one side to accommodate your belly and avoid putting pressure on your spine. Use pillows as props to make yourself comfortable. Massage your legs and feet every night to improve blood circulation and to avoid leg cramps and varicose veins. Use hand cream to massage your hands as well if they are swollen.

Ultrasound scans you can take

Although your baby’s sex organs should be developed around 18 weeks, we recommend waiting for another two weeks for a gender baby scan. The ultrasound images are much clearer at 20 weeks.

If you haven’t booked your anomaly scan yet, do it before the end of week 21. This scan will assess the health and well-being of the baby, while checking for specific risks.

If you want to see your baby moving and have the recording of it, schedule an appointment for a 4D Baby Scan or an HD Live 4D Scan.

Week 15 of Pregnancy

Eyebrows, hiccups and kicking are the most exciting developments of your baby at week 15 of pregnancy. Your symptoms are now changing by the day, with stuffy nose, swollen feet and bleeding gums as the most problematic symptoms at this stage. On the bright side, you will feel a stronger bond with your baby and become more conscious of the important changes ahead of you.

Baby developments at week 15

Your baby is now about the size of an orange, weighting around 2.5 ounces. Ears have most likely formed by now, so you may begin to have your chats and listen to music together. Squirming, hiccups and kicking are quite common at this stage, though you might not feel any of these yet. Eyes are still shut, but your baby can already sense light. Taste buds are forming, so she will soon be able to taste as well.

The genitals might be formed already, but we advise waiting at least until week 17 for a gender scan. Your baby’s body is becoming longer, especially the legs, and the proportion between body size and head size is more harmonious.

How your days are changing at week 15

You might notice around this time that your shoe size has increased. That is due to the levels of progesterone in your body. By the time of birth, your shoe size might increase by up to one size. Wear your most comfortable and stretchy shoes to avoid feet swelling. It’s also time to shop for maternity wear as your breasts and tummy will continue to increase. Other pregnancy hormones may lead to over-sensitive teeth and gums, in some cases even to bleeding. In the second trimester, blood flow to the mucous membranes is increased, so you might have a stuffy nose these days and sometimes even nose bleeding.

During this week, avoid gas-inducing foods, fried meals and large meals. Keep an eye on your weight gain. You should gain about one pound every week and have a meal schedule with five or six small meals a day plus fruits, smoothies and other healthy snacks in-between meals.

Ultrasounds at week 15

You can already book an appointment for next week to have a Growth Scan. The sonographer will check the growth rate and other measurements of your baby. Confirmation that everything is normal after your Growth Scan means that the risk of miscarriage drops below 1%.

Week 14 of Pregnancy

At week 14, your baby is about the size of an apple, weighting around one and a half ounces. Interesting developments are taking place, from tiny face muscles to peeing. Your early pregnancy symptoms have diminished by now, and you should start feeling better and more energetic during the following months. This is the most enjoyable part of pregnancy for most women.

Your baby’s development in week 14

Several facial features are developed around week 14. Your baby can frown and make all sorts of grimaces. The mouth roof is developed as well, and other particular features continue to fine-tune during this week. At your next ultrasound, you might be able to see your baby grimacing, grasping, sucking her thumb and being more active in general. Her body is growing longer and by the end of the week the length of her arms will become well-proportionate to her body.

How your days are changing during week 14

As the second trimester begins, you will notice that your energy levels return to normal and symptoms such as morning sickness, nausea and breast tenderness have diminished or disappeared completely.

You may experience abdominal aches due to the stretching of your belly muscles. Snoring, breast growth and an increase in appetite are other symptoms you may experience during week 14. A common symptom that appears at the start of the second trimester is forgetfulness. Your memory might feel foggy at times. This is not a severe symptom and should not be a reason to worry.

If you haven’t already announced your pregnancy to friends and colleagues, now is the time to do it. A small bump will start to show soon and the risk of miscarriage is low by this time. The announcement will also enable you to make sure that the environment at work is safe for your pregnancy.

Ultrasound scans at week 14

The next important ultrasound scan will be at week 16: the Growth Scan. This will check the measurements of your baby and confirm the healthy development. If everything is normal at the growth scan, the risk of miscarriage drops under 1%.

You will be able to find out your baby’s gender starting with week 17, through a gender scan or a 3D scan. You can already start thinking about whether you want to know your baby’s sex or not, and make a decision for your next appointment. Finding out the baby’s sex is always optional during our ultrasound appointments.

Week 13 of Pregnancy

You’ll already start to feel more energetic at week 13 and you’ll be relieved to see that some early pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness and nausea will diminish. Many women also notice an increase in their libido around this time. Read on to see the developmental changes of your baby and how your body and lifestyle are changing at week 13 of pregnancy.

How your baby’s doing in week 13

About the size of a peach, you baby continues to grow and get ready for the outside world. She now has fingertips, which will develop in all their complexity in the following months. Her body length is increasing and tiny bones are forming in her legs and arms. The suckling muscles in her cheeks have already developed by now, and when she’ll feel movement through the tummy she will start rooting. This is very important for the instinct of searching for your nipple. By week 13, the ovaries or testes are fully formed inside the body.

Your body and lifestyle at week 13 of pregnancy

Around week 13 and week 14 you’ll likely see most of the uncomfortable symptoms of early pregnancy fade away. You’ll feel that you’re energy has returned and some women experience a greater sex drive. You may also notice an increase in vaginal discharge in the following weeks. This is not a reason to worry, as this is a harmless discharge with the role of preventing bacterial infections in your vagina.

Your risk of miscarriage is now much lower than in the first trimester of pregnancy. If you haven’t already announced your pregnancy to your friends and colleagues, now is the time to do it. Around weeks 13 to 15, a little bump should start showing and you will soon switch your wardrobe to more comfortable and stretchy maternity wear. It’s recommended to switch to bras with better support, as you’ll start to feel tenderness in your breasts due to hormones and the increased levels of blood flow to your breasts. There is a general increase in blood supply throughout your whole body in weeks 13 and 14 which is why most women notice a network of veins on their body around this time. This network however will fade away after you’ll give birth.

Ultrasound scans at week 13

The 13th week of pregnancy is the last week of the recommended period of time when you can take a Nuchal Translucency scan to check for Down syndrome and other pregnancy risks. During the NT scan, you will be able to see your baby on the screen in real time and get her measurements compared to the average measurements at this week of pregnancy.

Top Questions in Early Pregnancy

When does morning sickness start?

Morning sickness symptoms are caused by the pregnancy hormones in your body and for most women it starts around the 6th week. You might experience nausea from particular smells or foods. Read more on what morning sickness is and how to cope with it. As you advance in the second trimester, your morning sickness and nausea symptoms should ease up.

When will my pregnancy bump show?

If this is your first pregnancy, a bump will only be visible at the start of the second trimester, around weeks 12-16. If it is not your first pregnancy, your bump may be visible sooner, because belly muscles may be still stretched from your last pregnancy. Body weight, age and genes are also factors that influence how soon you will start to show a bump. If your bump shows too early, you might consider booking an appointment for an ultrasound scan to calculate the due date.

When will I have my first baby scan?

The very first scan you can take is the early pregnancy scan, which confirms whether you are pregnant or not and calculates your estimated due date. Twin pregnancy can be detected with this ultrasound. Also called viability scan, the early pregnancy scan can be taken from week 7 to week 11 of pregnancy. Your doctor or midwife might recommend this scan especially if you have had miscarriages or complications during previous pregnancies.

How soon does frequent urination start?

Frequent urination is one of the first signs of pregnancy, and will be at its peak during the first and last trimester. This is caused by the shrinkage of your bladder and by the fact that your body will start to produce more urine during pregnancy. This is a symptom you’ll have to get used to, as there is not much to do to reduce it. It’s important that you continue to drink the necessary amount of fluids. Try to give up caffeinated drinks, as these make you urinate more often and do not hydrate your body very much.

Why am I so emotional during pregnancy?

Mood swings are a common symptom during the first trimester of pregnancy. There’s not much reason to worry if you’re going from calm to irritation in seconds or if you’re feeling that your emotions are not as balanced as before. Mood swings are caused by the increase of pregnancy hormones in your body, as well as by the fact that there are many changes you need to go through during pregnancy. During the second trimester, mood swings should disappear. Read more about how to cope with mood swings and other common symptoms during early pregnancy.

12th Week of Pregnancy

In this last week of your first trimester of pregnancy, your baby will start moving around more, flexing muscles and kicking. It’s now time to switch to comfy maternity wear and discuss with your midwife about changes for the next trimester.

Your baby’s development

Most babies are about the size of a kiwi by at week 12, and a bump may become visible by the end of the first trimester. Your baby’s legs and arms are fully formed, and reflexes have appeared. You might not feel these moves, but your baby will feel when you press your tummy. She can already move her fingers and wiggle her toes. If you’ll have an ultrasound this week, you’ll see that the face looks much more like a human face, with the eyes close together and the ears in the right position.

How your days are changing

You may experience dizziness or the feeling of fainting during the 12th week, especially when standing up briskly. This is caused by the rise of progesterone levels in your body. The role of progesterone is to increase the blood flow to the baby, which means that the blood flow in your body may slightly decrease. Don’t skip your meals and make sure that your sugar levels are sufficient.

As you enter the second trimester of pregnancy, you may notice that several symptoms have waned, such as frequent urination or having excess saliva. Certain smells may become easier to detect. If you’re having problems with strong smells that make you feel nauseous, keep a citrus scent at hand, maybe on your scarf. Your appetite should increase over the next weeks, and you will need plenty of Vitamin C, Zinc, Calcium, Beta-carotene and omega oils for a healthy development. Find out the basic nutritional needs for your second trimester and the recommended food sources.

Ultrasounds in week 12

The Nuchal Translucency scan is ideally carried during the 12th week. This is the first ultrasound to check the baby’s measurements and it also assesses the risk of Down syndrome. Many pregnant women have the first ultrasound during this week, to check how the development is going and to confirm the due date calculations.

11th Week of Pregnancy

As you’re heading towards the 2nd trimester of pregnancy, your headaches and nausea should start disappearing. In the 11th week already you may feel more active and symptoms of tiredness should fade. You may also notice an increase in appetite, so you will put on more weight in the following months. Your baby is developing complex features and you already have a pretty face for the ultrasound pic on the fridge.

How your baby is developing

At just over one inch and a half in length, your baby can now kick and he or she can even stretch fingers and toes. The kicks will become more frequent over the next 6 months, as your baby grows stronger. By the 11th week, your baby has distinct features, with tooth buds, nail beds, hair follicles and ear flaps already present. Her sense of smell also began to develop and will become more complex until week 30. By then, everything you eat and inhale will be smelled by your baby as well.

In-between the 11th and 13th week of pregnancy, the Nuchal Translucency baby scan can be carried out. This is an ultrasound scan that checks for certain issues, including Down syndrome, and reports initial measurements of your baby. Talk to your OB/GYN doctor about a recommended time for you to have this scan.

How your days are changing

As your morning sickness starts to wane, you may feel hungrier than usually. Stick to a healthy plan with nutritious food and pick fruits and crackers as snacks instead of junk food. Food cravings will also diminish in the next month, so it will be easier to have a balanced diet, with small and various meals. Include plenty of carbs in you plan and get as much protein as possible from nuts and dried fruits. Despite having the need to pee frequently (you have the hCG hormone to blame for that), you need to stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid caffeine, as caffeinated drinks increase the frequency of urination. Constipation is also a common symptom due to pregnancy hormones, so it’s perfectly normal, but you can try diets that help alleviate this symptom.

You will have more energy in the following weeks, so this is the perfect time to plan a romantic trip with your partner. Most pregnant women feel at the peak of their energetic levels in the first part of the second trimester. Just make sure you’ll have everything you need for a safe travel.

Exercise Safely during Pregnancy

Workouts during pregnancy will keep you and your baby healthy, help you sleep better and prepare your body for labour. If you’re a beginner to exercising, start with 15 minutes workout sessions two or three times a week. Gradually increase the length and frequency of your sessions to 30 minutes sessions daily. You will feel healthier and more prepared for giving birth. To make sure that you exercise as safely as possible, consult the checklist below and follow our guidelines.

Safe pregnancy exercise checklist:

□  Always check with your doctor before beginning your exercise plan. Certain medical conditions rule out some types of physical activity.

□  If you used to work out intensely before pregnancy, train at equal or lower intensity while pregnant.

□  Tell your training instructor you’re pregnant, so that he can offer advice on which exercises are safe for you.

□  Keep a correct posture while you’re exercising, in order to protect your back.

□  Wear a supportive bra and comfortable clothes and appropiate footwear during your workout.

□  Make sure to drink at least 2 litres of water or fluids every day.

□  Choose exercises that are comfortable for you. If you don’t feel comfortable anymore during an exercise, you should stop.

□  Avoid exercising on your back during the 2nd and 3rd trimester.

□  Do not end jogging or aerobic exercises abruptly. If you have unusual symptoms and need to stop, try to walk around slowly for a couple of minutes.

□  Aim for workouts of moderate intensity. You should not feel exhausted or too tired at the end of a training session.

Stop exercising if you have unusual symptoms

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) has provided a list of unusual symptoms that you should consider as warning signs when you exercise. If you have any of these symptoms while exercising, stop your workout immediately and call your doctor or midwife to consult you.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Chest pains or palpitations
  • Backaches
  • Pain in your abdomen or pubic area
  • Pain in the pelvic girdle
  • Painful uterine contractions
  • Feeling fewer movement from the baby
  • Leakage of amniotic fluids
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Feeling of weakness in muscles
  • Pain in your legs or swelling of legs

For more information provided by the RCOG on suitable exercises for pregnant women and safety precautions for exercising during pregnancy, check out their guide on Recreational Exercise and Pregnancy.

 

The 9th Week of Pregnancy

As you’re advancing into the 3rd month of pregnancy, your baby keeps busy growing. The little one is now almost one inch long and is starting to get the baby-like look more and more each day. The eyes, nose and mouth are becoming more distinct, while tiny ear buds are appearing. Eyes will stay shut for another 5 months, but they have already developed. The essential organs have formed by now and they continue to develop and perfect their functions. Your placenta has more complex functions and has started to produce nutrients and to eliminate waste. You can’t feel anything by touching your belly just yet, but you might hear it. Around this time, your baby’s heart beat should be audible with a Doppler device, so make sure to ask for it at your next appointment.

How to take care of yourself at 9 weeks pregnant

It’s likely that your baby bump is barely visible, and yet all these highly-complex changes are going on through your body. At this stage of pregnancy, most women have symptoms of tiredness and morning sickness. Pregnancy hormones are kicking in, sometimes leading to headaches, backaches, mood swings and other symptoms.  It’s important to take really good care of yourself to diminish the negative symptoms and to make sure your body has enough activity and nutrients to keep you and your baby healthy and growing.

Set your appetite on fruits and vegetables. All day. Every day. There are no healthier and safer sources of vitamins and minerals than the natural ones – fruits and vegetables. If you are having morning sickness, your appetite could be decreased, so try to set up a meal schedule with small and regular snacks. Make it easier to adjust to your new lifestyle by seeking advice from a nutritionist or by informing yourself from the web. There are now quite a few useful apps that can help you follow a nutrition plan for the pregnancy months ahead of you.

Further preparations

Schedule an antenatal appointment with your doctor or midwife if you haven’t done so yet. This is mainly for taking routine tests, but you can also get more informed on your progress and get recommendations on eating, rest and exercise based on your medical history and condition. If you have not had a confirmation of pregnancy from your OB yet, do so by taking the first ultrasound scan, called the Early Pregnancy scan or Viability scan. Based on the early pregnancy scan, the sonographer will calculate your estimated due date and check whether you have a single pregnancy or a twin pregnancy.

After you have had confirmation of pregnancy from your doctor, you now have the certainty needed to make the official announcement to your friends, relatives, co-workers and your boss. You can show the first baby scan photos to your close ones and enjoy the wonderful experience ahead.