Your Pregnancy: Week 20

Your Baby

Your Pregnancy: Week 20
Your Pregnancy: Week 20

Your baby weighs in between a half to one pound this week and is 10 inches long from crown to rump. A creamy, protective coating called vernix caseosa, which is secreted by her glands, coats her skin, protecting it from the amniotic fluid. She’s practicing for her first breath outside the womb, moving her chest up and down as if she were breathing through the nose. Her genitals are fully formed.

Your Body

Congratulations–you’re halfway there! At this stage, your oval-shaped uterus is nearly level with your belly button and grows a centimeter each week. If you’re scheduled for a checkup, your doctor or midwife may no longer need to use a Doppler to hear your baby’s heartbeat; the sound is loud enough that a regular stethoscope can easily do the job.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do splurge on the occasional salon manicure when you feel the need for pampering. Pregnancy can cause your nails to grow faster, making it a hassle to keep up with constant retouching. Choose lighter, more natural hues that won’t show chipping or opt for low-maintenance nails, shaping them with a file and polishing them with a buffer. 


Lactose intolerant? Instead of foregoing milk altogether, try calcium- and vitamin D- enriched rice or soy milk. Cheese is also a good source of calcium, which your baby needs to form strong teeth and bones; it doesn’t have as much lactose as regular milk and may be easier to digest. Yogurt is another good choice.

Mom to Mom

Embrace your burgeoning curves. “Pregnancy made me feel like a healthy country wife, strong and full of life. Your body is about more than youth and tautness. Pregnant, I was free to appreciate being round and able to create–and all that is very sexy.”–Katie Ripple, mother of four, Madison, WI


Buy maternity wear that hugs your body, and pair sleek pieces with roomier ones for a lean and proportioned silhouette. Leggings or straight pants complement a roomy top; a jacket cut narrowly will counterbalance loose slacks. 


Power up for a workout by eating a light snack–a piece of fruit or a handful of crackers will do–an hour beforehand. If you don’t consume enough calories, you’ll feel lethargic, light-headed, and weak, and you may end up skipping your workout altogether.


Invite a close friend or relative to your next checkup so she can hear the baby’s heartbeat. She’ll gain valuable insight into what you’re going through, and she can help you remember recommendations made by your doctor or midwife. Or she could help by holding your hand at the next blood test (the glucose screening is just around the corner).


When you begin to feel the baby move, share the experience with your older child. She’ll get a kick out of feeling the baby kick, and it’ll make the idea of a baby more real to her. Encourage her to rub your belly whenever she feels like saying “hello.”


When carrying twins, you need to eat an extra 450 to 600 calories daily. Be sure you turn to protein- and calcium-rich foods to hit your mark. Some healthy choices: low-fat yogurt, cheese, and fruit smoothies made with skim milk.