Welcome to your week 20 pregnancy update where we outline the changes you and your baby are experiencing.
Congratulate yourself – you and baby are now 20 weeks into the pregnancy and at the half-way point. Baby may now be around 17cm from crown to rump and will increase her weight by more than 15 times between now and delivery. Though still small and fragile, baby is growing rapidly and some premature babies have survived being born at just 20 weeks gestation.
Baby’s skin is losing its transparency and the sebaceous glands which will give her pimples in her teen years are kicking into overdrive to make vernix caseosa, a greasy white substance that covers baby’s skin to protect it from the surrounding amniotic fluid. The vernix sheds as delivery approaches, though some babies are born with some vernix coating at birth. Without this waxy coating, baby would look like a shrivelled up prune after swimming in all that fluid (you know how your fingers look after you’ve been in the bath too long – it would be like that!). Vernix is also a bit of a protectant for baby, who will be bumping around the uterus and tugging on that umbilical cord as she grows more active.
During the 20th week your baby’s nails form and their fingerprints are now visibly engraved in their skin. Your baby’s permanent teeth now appear behind their baby teeth deep within their gums. The bones in your baby’s inner ear and their nerve endings are now developed to the point where it’s possible for them to hear sounds (although their ears are not structurally complete until week 24).
Just like adults, all babies are different and develop at varying rates in the womb. This information gives a general idea of your baby’s development and progress.
The Mum Update
The sounds your baby can hear include your heartbeat and the sound of your voice so talking, singing and reading to your baby can be a nice thing to do.
If you have had some tough times up to now in the pregnancy, you might be pleased to notice that your fingernails are strong and your hair is growing fast and is thicker. This is due the increased circulation in your body from the pregnancy hormones. Enjoy it while it lasts as after you have your baby your normal hair loss regime plus a bit extra will kick in.