20 Weeks Pregnant
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Your baby at 20 weeks
All the baby's organs are maturing quickly, and by now, the important areas that distinguish boy from girl are really taking shape. By week 20, if your baby is a boy, the testicles which were previously nestled up in the abdomen are beginning to make their way down towards the groin where they will eventually sit externally. If your baby is a girl then the uterus is already completely formed and the ovaries are holding around 7 million eggs! These eggs will actually reduce in number to around 2 million by the time she is born. The baby's skin is gradually changing now to appear more opaque, whereas previously it was translucent.
How you are feeling at 20 weeks into your pregnancy
You will probably be feeling the movements of the baby by now, or 'quickening' as it is described in the early stages of pregnancy. Initially, it can be hard to be sure whether you just felt the baby move or whether that was your dinner digesting, but in time these movements will become instantly recognisable as your baby grows bigger and stronger. The frequency of these movements (or at least the ones that you can feel - remember that your baby will be moving a lot more often than you are aware of at this stage), can be quite sporadic so don't worry if you haven't felt movement for a while. A good way to encourage a few kicks is to have a snack and then lie down on your side with your legs lengthened away from your body. The combination of food and the increased space for the baby is likely to encourage him or her to have a little fidget, which will help to put your mind at rest. If you still don't feel anything then try again a few hours later. Your baby is probably just having a rest, or is in a position where movements are harder for you to detect. As with all aspects of pregnancy, call your midwife if you are concerned with your baby's movements or lack thereof.
What you need to do
Around this time you will most likely have your second ultrasound scan. This is commonly referred to as the 'anomaly scan', as the sonographer will be checking for structural abnormalities in the baby. As well as checking for physical abnormalities of the baby, they will also check your baby's measurements to ensure that he or she is growing at the expected rate and to confirm your estimated due date. The scan will also look at the positioning of the placenta. If the placenta is low-lying then they will ask you to attend another scan later in pregnancy (around 32 weeks). The chances are, that by then, the placenta will have moved to a higher position, but if it remains low-lying then the delivery will have to be via caesarean section. Check your letter from the hospital. You may remember that for your first scan you were asked to consume quite a lot of fluids beforehand. Usually, for your second scan you are not asked to do this, in fact, an over-full bladder at this scan can make it harder for the sonographer to do their job so you may be ordered out to go to the bathroom!
It is at the 20 week scan that you may be given the opportunity to find out the sex of your baby. Make sure that you and your partner have discussed and agreed on whether or not you want to know this well ahead of the scan so that there are no disagreements at the hospital, or feelings of disappointment after you have left. Remember that the sonographer cannot be 100% sure of the sex and there is always a possibility that they can get it wrong. So bear that in mind when you're on the high street an hour after the scan buying up every pink baby dress you can get your hands on!
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