Pregnant woman holds ultrasound image in one hand and has her other hand on her belly

Pregnancy WEEKS

Pregnancy Week 20

Time for Some Great Baby Film Footage?

It's half-time! Or almost – sometimes it can take until week 42 for your baby to arrive. But something else may be on the agenda right about now: A major ultrasound scan is often carried out around week 20 of pregnancy. Hopefully, you will see your baby in more detail than ever before! Read on to discover exactly what you can learn from this scan and more. 

What's Going On in Your Belly at 20 Weeks Pregnant?

The fetus is around 5.5 inches long (crown-rump length = CRL) and weighs approx. 8-10 ounces. Each foot is roughly 1 inch long.

There is a lot going on in the brain: It is growing, and more and more nerve cells are forming – around 200,000 brain cells are created every minute! In order for brain growth to be possible at all, the bones of the skull only fuse together later on and currently have gaps between them. This also helps the baby to pass through the birth canal more easily during labor. The open areas of the skull (the so-called fontanelles) do not close together until the child is around two years old.

Your baby is now roughly as long as a banana – and as heavy as two!

Your baby is now roughly as long as a banana – and as heavy as two!

Your baby's sense of taste is becoming more refined – your baby can even taste what you have eaten from the amniotic fluid. This is one reason why a varied diet during pregnancy is so important.

If a major ultrasound scan is performed now, it is possible to document the development of your little one in detail. The size of the head and rib cage, the length of the thighs, and much more can be visualized and measured. A screening of the organs can also be carried out, although this is usually voluntary.  

The doctor will generally check

  • The heartbeat and the heart chambers
  • The abdominal cavity with stomach, intestine, liver, kidneys, and bladder
  • Whether the intestines lie behind the closed abdominal wall
  • Whether the diaphragm is fully formed
  • Head and spine
  • The brain or the ventricles
  • The position of the placenta
  • The amount of amniotic fluid
  • The sex

If malformations such as a heart defect are detected, certain precautions can be taken, such as transferring the birth to a special clinic. 

How Do You Feel at 20 Weeks Pregnant?

The uterus is now about the size of a handball and continues to expand. Many pregnant women now feel really good – for the majority, the nausea has passed by now. The round ligaments, pelvis, and back can make the baby’s presence felt, but any sensations are usually mild.

This means that now is the perfect time to pack your bags and head off for a nice break together as a couple!  
What you should be aware of when traveling during pregnancy

  • Avoid destinations for which you need special vaccinations.
  • When traveling by air, find out whether the airline has restrictions for pregnant women and if so, what they are.
  • High mountain regions or areas with extreme temperatures are not recommended.
  • If you will be traveling for a long time in a seated position, schedule breaks to stretch your legs if possible. Ask your doctor if support stockings are advisable for you.
  • Make sure your vacation destination has good medical facilities, and that easy arrival and departure are possible.
  • If you have already experienced complications during pregnancy (e.g., bleeding), ask your doctor to approve your travel plans first.
  • Do you tend to experience anxiety? Then it does not have to be an elaborate trip abroad – a weekend away in your own country can be just as good. The important thing is that you can relax.

If you are unsure about what you are allowed to do or what you should consider in your situation, the same applies as always: Consult your doctor so you can travel worry-free!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Source: Your Pregnancy Week by Week, Prof. Lesley Regan, DK Limited, London, 2019, pp. 174 f.