Your baby’s development - week 20

 week 20

You're 20 weeks pregnant and the part of your baby’s brain that controls their senses is developing fast. And their heartbeat can easily be detected now. At the same time, your baby’s skin is secreting a thick white mucus called vernix which acts as a waterproof barrier to protect the skin during pregnancy. Your baby now measures about 22cm from head to toe.

You & your body

It’s time to go for your detailed ultra-sound 20-week scan and you’ll be able to look at your baby on screen for possibly the first time! It can be quite an exciting, emotional experience so you might want to take your partner or a friend along to share it with you.

The 20-week scan is usually called the anomaly scan and its purpose is to check that everything is as it should be and your baby is developing normally.

The position of the placenta will be checked and the main point of the scan is to look for any abnormalities in your baby’s physical growth and development.

The scan lasts about 15-20 minutes and the sonographer who carries it out will more than likely show you the screen at some point while they check your baby and perhaps point out details like the heartbeat and limbs. At 20 weeks, they may also be able to tell which sex your baby is but not all hospitals will tell you this.

If there is any kind of suspected problem, you will be told at once and you may be invited back for another scan. Sometimes it’s necessary to repeat the scan but this does not always mean that there is a serious problem with your baby.

Most hospitals will also let you purchase a picture of your baby for you to take home as a keepsake and show to friends and family!

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Did you know?

Leg cramps are common during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. It may be due to the extra weight you’re carrying around putting extra pressure on your leg muscles. It could also be linked to not having enough calcium or salt in your blood, dehydration, remaining inactive for long periods of time, or your growing bump putting pressure on your nerves. If you’re worried, your midwife or doctor should be able to help.

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