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20 Weeks Pregnant: The Anatomy Scan and What to Expect

doctor about to give an anatomy scan


Congratulations - you’re 20 weeks pregnant! As exciting as it is to be in your second trimester, this milestone also marks a very important time for checking up on the health of both mom and baby. At 20 weeks pregnant, it’s time for the anatomy scan – an ultrasound that checks various body parts and organs to ensure that everything appears normal. Knowing what to expect during this appointment can help put your mind at ease, so read on to learn more about how the anatomy scan works and why it’s essential in ensuring a healthy pregnancy and delivery.


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Your Baby at 20 Weeks Pregnant

As the second trimester continues, your baby is hitting exciting milestones. At 20 weeks, your little one’s senses are becoming more refined as their brain begins to grow and expand. Taste and hearing are among the senses developing, allowing your baby to experience the flavors of the amniotic fluid that surrounds them and even hear your voice as you talk to them. The rapid expansion of brain cells means that your baby is quickly becoming more intelligent and aware of their surroundings. Additionally, your little one is prepping for their big debut, producing meconium - their first bowel movement made up of swallowed amniotic fluid, dead cells, and substances secreted by their digestive system.

20 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound

As you reach the halfway point of your pregnancy, it’s time for your 20-week ultrasound. This is one of the most important scans you will have during your pregnancy, commonly known as the anatomy or mid-pregnancy scan. Not only will you be able to see your baby’s tiny body in greater detail than ever before, but you’ll also be able to check that everything is growing correctly for their gestational age. The sonographer will evaluate the baby’s size, check the location of the placenta, and examine their internal organs. As you watch your little one move around during the scan, you may feel their arms and legs stretching out, a heartwarming reminder of the precious little miracle growing inside you.


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20 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms

 


The 20th week of pregnancy is marked by headaches and weight gain, as you begin to appear more obviously pregnant. You are still in the honeymoon phase, so your increased appetite may cause you to crave takeout more frequently than usual. Putting on weight? This is fairly typical for the present and moving forward. Here are some additional symptoms you may be experiencing.


  • Headaches: Frequent headaches may also be caused by hormonal changes and a lack of calcium, which the mother's body absorbs for the development of the child. If your headaches persist for an extended period of time and over-the-counter painkillers are ineffective, you may be at risk for preeclampsia and should consult a physician.
  • Hair and Nail Growth: Those hormonal fluctuations you're experiencing can cause rapid hair and nail growth, so you may experience luscious new locks during pregnancy. However, these same changes may also result in cramps and swelling.
  • Weight Gain: You will appear increasingly pregnant as the weeks pass. This may result in discomfort while sleeping and balance issues. At the 20th week of pregnancy, the abdomen is visibly expanding. You may be more hungry now. This typically results in a weekly weight gain. Try to keep in mind that a changing body is a normal part of pregnancy, even if weight gain could cause stretch marks.
  • Enhanced sexual desire: At this stage, a sudden increase in your libido is a completely normal side effect that could be viewed as beneficial. But if you're not, that's okay too! There is no need to panic if your libido has not increased, as this is a highly individual situation.

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Symptoms Not to Ignore

As you hit the 20th week mark of being pregnant, it is important to keep an eye out for some key symptoms that may indicate a potential concern - preeclampsia. This is a condition that can affect some pregnant women, characterized by high blood pressure and damage to organs, which can put both your and your baby's health at risk. Symptoms to look out for include severe headaches, a feeling of facial swelling, spots in front of your eyes, pain in the right upper quadrant of your abdomen or severe shortness of breath. If you begin experiencing any of these symptoms, don't hesitate to contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. It's always better to err on the side of caution and have any concerns addressed sooner rather than later.


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Preparing for The Anatomy Scan

Pregnancy is an exciting time with its own set of unique challenges and pleasures. As you near 20 weeks of pregnancy, keep an open mind and be prepared to learn as much as possible about the anatomy scan. Confer with your healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have, and if anything unexpected arises, rely on the guidance of the experts. Don't be afraid to get an ultrasound if your care team deems it necessary. Ultrasounds are safe and low-risk. Remember to take a moment to appreciate this special time as your baby begins to move and develops inside of you. In the end, regardless of what transpires during the ultrasound or the course of your pregnancy, savor every moment because your baby will soon be here! To learn more about how to properly care for them once they arrive, please visit our blog, where we provide important advice and tips on topics ranging from breastfeeding to safe sleeping.


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