20 Weeks Pregnant: You’re Halfway There!
Are you singing and talking to your baby? Around this time, her inner ear becomes fully developed, and she may begin responding to sound. Research has shown that babies in utero, can hear music —and when that very same music is played after birth they often quiet and seem to pay attention...a sign they actually remember it.
Your baby is practicing sucking. That may sound trivial, but it’s a skill she’ll need to sustain her life in just a few more months! Meanwhile, you’re sharing your immunities with her. Your cells actually cross the placenta into fetal tissue, to help build up her immune system. Breastfeeding is a great way to continue protecting your little one after birth; your milk contains antibodies and all sorts of nutrients.
20 Weeks Pregnant: S’up with Your Bod?
Time to celebrate: You’re halfway there!
By now you have a cute little bump…you’ve met your baby on an ultrasound and can feel her kicks. Your stomach is getting bigger, and it’s starting to squish your poor bladder. If you thought you had to pee lots during the 1st trimester…you’re just getting started! So stock up on the TP and try this pee tip: Lean forward and put your arms on your knees while you go—this position may help you fully empty your bladder and let you save a few trips to the ladies’ room.
Lots of things keep pregnant moms up at night, from pregnancy stress to delivery worries to odd sensations in your body. Insomnia and disrupted sleep strike nearly every pregnant woman. And, now a new nuisance can occur: leg cramps—painful muscle contractions that seem to strike just as you’re drifting off to sleep.
These cramps are a bit mysterious. Nevertheless, there are ways to deal:
- Before bed, stretch out your calves.
- Sit in a very warm bath with Epsom salts.
- Stay hydrated and ask your doctor about taking extra magnesium (chelated is most easily absorbed).
Lingo Lesson: What Is a Doula?
Derived from the ancient Greek word for maidservant, modern doulas come from the most ancient of traditions, women supporting women in childbirth and during infant care. Today’s doulas are trained professionals providing comfort, guidance and service before, during and/or after labor. Doulas don’t prescribe drugs or make medical decisions, but they offer support to the mother, child and family. Studies show that doula support during labor leads to happier birth experiences.
A To-Do List for Your 20th Week of Pregnancy
Decide about a doula. Doulas aren’t typically covered by health insurance, so you’ll want to decern if hiring one fits in your budget. Now is the time to conduct interviews, because popular doulas are often booked months in advance.
Buy life insurance. One more “adult” responsibility to check off the list, in addition to updating or creating a will. Read up about the different types of coverage and get referrals for local brokers. It’s best to shop around and compare quotes.
Finalize your baby registry. Your registry is super helpful for guiding your family and friends to the gifts you want the most. Don’t shy away from including the big-ticket items—stroller, car seat, SNOO, etc.—as family or friends often like to pitch in on one big gift.
- Plan for care of your other children and your pets during labor. Labor is unpredictable. Decide on the trusted soul who can take care of your other kids and your pets. Make copies of your keys, and print out easy-to-follow instructions.
Myth or Fact? Never Do Ab Exercises During Pregnancy
Myth! Strengthening your abs before and during pregnancy can help with lower back pain and lead to a quicker recovery post-pregnancy. Conventional crunches are out when you’re pregnant and while you’re healing afterward (they can worsen diastasis recti, that’s when your abs muscles pull apart a bit down the middle, causing a little, middle-of-the-belly “pooch”). However, exercises like plank position and a side plank are good ways to tone your core during your first and second trimester. Mayo Clinic has a full list of exercises that are safe for pregnant mamas, including modified push-ups, squats and sit-ups.