20 Weeks Pregnant—Symptoms, Helpful Self-Care Tips & Common FAQs

20 Weeks Pregnant

You’re already halfway through your pregnancy! 

By now, you’re likely feeling more comfortable and confident in your pregnancy journey. Your baby is growing and developing rapidly, and many exciting changes are happening in your body and life as you prepare to welcome a new addition to your family.

This article will explore what to expect at 20 weeks pregnant, including your baby’s development, common symptoms, and tips for self-care and stress management. 

We’ll answer common FAQs about this stage of your wonderful journey. 

Whether this is your first or fourth pregnancy, there’s always something new to learn and discover during this exciting time. So, grab a cup of tea and get ready to dive into all the details of 20 weeks pregnant!

Baby development at 20 weeks pregnant

At 20 weeks pregnant:

  • Your baby is approximately 10 inches long and weighs around 10 ounces.
  • Your baby’s skin is becoming less transparent and is beginning to develop layers of fat.
  • Their hair and nails continue to grow.
  • Their digestive system is maturing, and they are swallowing and excreting amniotic fluid.
  • Their bones are hardening, and they can now hear sounds from outside the womb.
  • Their nervous system is developing rapidly; they can make facial expressions and respond to touch.
  • Their lungs produce surfactant, a substance that helps them expand and contract.
  • Their sex organs are fully formed, and ultrasound may be able to determine the baby’s gender.
  • They are developing a sense of taste, and their taste buds are forming.
  • They are developing reflexes, including sucking and swallowing, and may begin to hiccup.

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20 weeks pregnant symptoms

Pregnancy symptoms should start to ease up by now, but some will persist. Fluctuating pregnancy hormones affect each woman differently, so symptom timelines vary. 

At this halfway point, you may experience the following:

1. Back pain

Regular exercises like walking or prenatal yoga can help strengthen your back muscles and alleviate pain. This also applies to leg cramps and other muscular issues during pregnancy. 

You can also try using a pregnancy support belt or sleeping with a pillow between your legs for added back support.

2. Constipation

Eating a high-fiber diet, drinking plenty of water, and staying physically active can help prevent constipation. You may also want to talk to your healthcare provider about safe stool softeners or laxatives.

3. Fatigue

Take breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge, and establish a regular sleep schedule. Nap if you need to and ask for help with tasks draining your energy.

4. Heartburn

Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day and avoid spicy, acidic, or fried foods. Sleeping with your head elevated can also help alleviate heartburn symptoms.

5. Stretch marks

Apply moisturizer or oil to your belly and other areas where stretch marks may appear to help keep the skin hydrated and supple.

6. Swelling

Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time, and try to elevate your feet whenever possible. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding salty foods can also help reduce swelling.

7. Varicose veins

Avoid prolonged sitting or standing, and wear support stockings to help improve circulation. Regular exercise can also help strengthen your leg muscles and prevent varicose veins.

8. Mild vaginal discharge

Some vaginal discharge is normal at week 20 but should appear in small amounts. Consult your healthcare provider for informed support if you notice significant leakages or discharge.

Remember to talk to your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing any new or severe symptoms or concerns about your pregnancy. They can provide guidance and support for managing symptoms and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

Self-Care at 20 Weeks pregnant

Self-care is an essential part of a healthy pregnancy, and there are many things you can do to take care of yourself during the second trimester of pregnancy. 

Here are some self-care tips that may be helpful at 20 weeks pregnant

20 weeks pregnant

1. Get plenty of rest

Getting enough rest and sleep is important as your body changes and your baby grows. Try to establish a regular sleep schedule and prioritize rest whenever possible.

2. Exercise regularly

Moderate exercise, such as walking, swimming, or prenatal yoga, can help improve your mood, reduce stress, and prepare your body for labor and delivery. Talk to your healthcare provider about what exercises are safe for you.

3. Eat a healthy diet

A healthy, balanced diet is important for both you and your baby. Focus on nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, and avoid processed foods and sugary drinks.

4. Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water and other hydrating fluids can help prevent constipation, reduce swelling, and support healthy fetal growth.

5. Practice stress-reducing techniques

Stress can negatively impact you and your baby, so you must find ways to manage stress. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and prenatal massage are stress-reducing techniques.

Some extra tips for managing mid-pregnancy stress include:

  • Deep breathing exercises: Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Focus on breathing deeply and slowly, and try to release any tension in your body with each exhale.
  • Meditation: Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down, and focus your attention on your breath or a soothing visualization. Let go of distracting thoughts and focus on the present moment.
  • Prenatal yoga poses and breathing techniques are safe and beneficial during pregnancy. Look for prenatal yoga classes or videos designed specifically for pregnant women.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: This technique involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups. Start at your toes and work up to your head, tensing each muscle group for a few seconds before releasing.
  • Guided imagery: Imagine a peaceful, calming scene, such as a beach or a forest, and visualize yourself there. Focus on the details of the scene and try to engage all your senses.
  • Aromatherapy: Some essential oils, such as lavender or chamomile, are safe and can help promote relaxation. Use a diffuser or add a few drops of oil to a warm bath.
  • Massage: A prenatal massage can help relieve tension and promote relaxation. Look for a massage therapist who specializes in prenatal massage.

6. Take prenatal vitamins

Prenatal vitamins support fetal growth and development and can help prevent certain congenital disabilities.

7. Practice good hygiene

As your body changes during pregnancy, you may be more susceptible to infections. Practice good hygiene by washing your hands regularly and avoiding contact with people who are sick.

Always talk to your healthcare provider about any self-care practices or concerns you may have during pregnancy.

Remember to talk to your healthcare provider before trying new relaxation techniques, listen to your body, and stop if you experience discomfort.

FAQs at 20 Weeks pregnant

What position should I feel my baby move at 20 weeks?

At pregnancy week 20, you may start feeling your baby’s movements more regularly. Generally, most women will feel their baby’s movements, also known as quickening, sometime between 18 and 22 weeks.

Your baby is still relatively small at this stage, and the movements may feel like flutters, bubbles, or even gas bubbles. Some women describe it as feeling like a butterfly is fluttering in their belly. 

You may feel these movements more often when sitting still or lying down.

Your baby’s position can vary at this stage, and it may not be easy to tell exactly where your baby is positioned.

 However, your healthcare provider will likely check your baby’s position during your prenatal visits using an ultrasound.

Which trimester is most important for brain development?

Brain development is an ongoing process that begins during the early stages of fetal development and continues throughout childhood and adolescence. However, a critical period of brain development occurs during the prenatal period, particularly during the second and third trimesters.

During the second trimester (weeks 13-27), the brain begins to develop rapidly, and the cerebral cortex, responsible for higher brain functions such as thinking, memory, and language, begins to form. 

Neurons (brain cells) are produced at an incredible rate during this time, and the brain’s structures begin to take shape.

The third trimester (weeks 28-40) is also crucial for brain development as the brain’s structures mature and neurons migrate to their final positions. The connections between neurons, essential for brain function, also begin to form during this time.

Overall, while brain development is ongoing, the second and third trimesters are particularly important for brain development. 

Therefore, expectant mothers need to receive adequate prenatal care during this time to support the healthy development of their baby’s brain.

20 weeks pregnant

What is the 20-week ultrasound called?

The 20-week ultrasound is typically called the “anatomy scan” or “level 2 ultrasound.” This ultrasound is a detailed scan usually performed between weeks 18 and 22 of pregnancy.

During the anatomy scan, the healthcare provider will evaluate your baby’s growth and development and check for any structural abnormalities or markers for genetic conditions. 

They will also look at the baby’s organs, bones, and overall anatomy to ensure that everything appears to be developing normally.

This ultrasound is an important milestone in prenatal care, as it provides valuable information about the health and well-being of the developing baby. It may also reveal the baby’s sex if the parents wish to know.

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What tests are done at 20 weeks pregnant?

At 20 weeks pregnant, several tests and screenings may be recommended as part of routine prenatal care. 

These tests are designed to help monitor the mother’s and developing baby’s health and development. 

Here are some of the tests that may be done at 20 weeks:

  1. Anatomy scan
  2. Blood & Urine tests
  3. Group B strep test
  4. Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT)
  5. Glucose tolerance test

It’s important to note that the specific tests and screenings recommended may vary depending on individual circumstances and medical history. 

Discussing any questions or concerns with your healthcare provider is always best.

What are the signs of a healthy pregnancy in the second trimester?

The second trimester of pregnancy, which spans from week 13 to week 28, is generally considered the most comfortable and enjoyable stage of pregnancy for many women. 

Here are some signs of a healthy pregnancy during the second trimester:

  1. Increased energy: Many women experience a boost in energy during the second trimester, as feelings of fatigue and nausea typically subside.
  2. Weight gain: A healthy weight gain during the second trimester is typically around 1-2 pounds per week or a total of 12-15 pounds by the end of the trimester. Your pregnant belly must grow in size to accommodate your growing little one, so be ready to notice a bigger baby bump.
  3. Fetal movement: The baby’s movements become more noticeable during the second trimester, which can signify a healthy pregnancy.
  4. Healthy appetite: Eating a healthy, balanced diet during pregnancy is important to ensure the baby gets the necessary nutrients. A healthy appetite during the second trimester indicates the baby is growing well.
  5. Reduced nausea and vomiting: Many women experience a reduction in nausea and vomiting during the second trimester, which can be a sign of a healthy pregnancy.
  6. Healthy ultrasound results: Routine ultrasounds, including the 20-week anatomy scan, can provide valuable information about the baby’s growth and development, and healthy results can be a reassuring sign of a healthy pregnancy.

It’s important to note that every pregnancy is unique, and not all women will experience the same symptoms or have the same outcomes. 

Every prenatal visit is essential to monitor the health of both the mother and the growing baby throughout pregnancy.


Halfway there, and another half to go before you are on to choosing a name, baby shower or nursery theme, and more. 

Enjoy the rest of your journey before the big due date, and continue to take as much deep and gentle care of yourself as possible.

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