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Pregnancy Symptoms Week 20: Shortness of Breath Begins
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  • At 20 weeks pregnant, your baby bump will definitely be showing already. You have about 20 more weeks to go in your pregnancy journey.  

    Pregnancy signs Week 20

    A lot of the changes happening to you during this period are thanks (or no, thanks) to hormones. 

    Healthier locks

    Aside from a shinier head of hair, you may also have noticed that you have less hair fall. Pregnancy hormones suppress hair loss, which is the reason your hair looks fuller during this time. However, it will all go back to normal after you deliver your baby. 

    Stronger nails

    Your skin and nails will also benefit from pregnancy hormones and the increase in blood circulation in your body — expect to have stronger nails, but watch out for some dryness, too. 

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    Big appetite

    You may be excited to dig into food after weeks of nausea and loss of appetite, but it will be in your best interest to go easy on food still. Aside from preventing heartburn and possible bouts of indigestion, you also want to watch your weight.

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    Swollen feet, cramping

    Mild swelling of the legs comes with the territory. Water retention is one of the symptoms of pregnancy, and it's not only limited to your legs. It's due to the increase in bodily fluids necessary for you and your baby. However, watch out for excessive swelling, which could be a sign of preeclampsia. 

    As for leg cramps, it's quite hard to pinpoint its cause, so you can't really do anything to prevent it. What's important is that you know how to manage the pain when you do get cramps: straighten your leg, then move your ankle and toes. With a few repetitions, the cramping should go away. 

    Pregnancy symptoms Week 20

    Shortness of breath

    The area inside your tummy is getting crowded as your baby continues to grow, and the shortness of breath is due to the uterus pushing against your lungs. When this happens, take a moment to catch your breath and think happy thoughts! 

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    Vaginal discharge

    You've been experiencing an increase in vaginal discharge, and that's going to continue until you give birth. That's all normal, unless the color changes into green or yellow, in which case you should tell your doctor about it.

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    Your baby's development Week 20

    Your baby now measures about 6.5 inches and weighs a little over 10 ounces. 

    Starting this week, your doctor will measure your baby's fundal height, or his length from the crown to the heel, which should match your week of pregnancy, give or take (e.g., at 20 weeks, his length should be about 22 cm). Up to this point he was being measured from head to rump (or the back part).

    Your baby feeds (or rather, drinks) amniotic fluid and has actively working taste buds at week 20. You may also catch him sucking his thumb if you get an ultrasound!

    If it's a baby boy, his testicles will begin descending from the abdomen as they await the developing scrotum. If it's a baby girl, her uterus will be developed at week 20 and amazingly, she'll also have about 7 million egg cells in her ovaries at this point!

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    The vernix, that whitish wax-like layer you see on your baby's skin when he is born, will begin to cover him at 20 weeks. It serves both to protect the skin and as a lubricant for the birth canal when you deliver him.

    Your baby may also make his presence felt more obviously as you feel more kicks and punches beginning this week! Mind you, not all baby movements are the same — check here to find out what your little one is up to with even the smallest thump. 

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    Your to-do list on Week 20 of your pregnancy

    • Planning to find out your baby's gender? If you get an ultrasound now, it will be a very detailed one that will show you parts of your baby including the brain hemispheres and chambers of the heart. It will also reveal the baby's gender.
    • Document the growth of your baby bump with a photo!
    • Start putting together a list for your baby registry. While it may not yet be a common practice here to have a baby registry, it would definitely be useful for your friends and relatives to know what it is you need. The list can be used for your baby shower, or during baptism. Read about the pros of having a baby registry, and a list of services available locally, here.

    More on your week-by-week pregnancy:

    Pregnancy Symptoms Week 19: Get Ready For Some Aches and Pains

    Pregnancy Symptoms Week 21: Are You Nesting for Your Baby Yet?

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