At 20 weeks
Well done, you’re halfway there!
Every mum-to-be looks forward to feeling those first amazing little kicks; it could be any time now! I hope you don’t have too long to wait. In the meantime, I’ve put together this special set of blogs to guide you through this and the next stages of your pregnancy.
Well, how are you feeling?
Whoa! What was that fluttering, bubbly sensation? Was it wind? It could well be what we call “quickening”, when you first feel your baby move, and it’s wonderful! But don’t worry if you’ve not felt anything yet – first-time mums often don’t until later on. And ignore anyone who says “Don’t you look big?” or “Don’t you look small?” or both. You’re doing just fine. Everyone’s a different shape and size, and so is their bump.
Around now you’ll have your second ultrasound scan to check that the baby’s doing well, is growing and developing and is the size expected from your dates.
Here are a few things you and your partner should talk over when you draw up your Birth Plan –
- who you want to be present at the birth with you.
- your views on interventions such as induction, the artificial speeding up of labour, and foetal monitoring, a bit techy.
- your views on active labour and whether you’d like to use a birthing pool to help with labour.
- your preference for pain relief, the use of breathing and relaxation techniques you’ve been practicing together during pregnancy.
Your baby’s a real gymnast now!
As her nerve fibres connect up and her muscles tone, she’ll stretch, grasp, and turn around and around and around… it can even make your tummy feel a bit sore.
She’s covered in fine hair called lanugo and a waxy substance called vernix caseosa that both protects her against bumps against the uterus wall when she’s being extra athletic and waterproofs her skin against the amniotic fluid.
She’ll also be able to:
- taste what you’ve been eating so eat plenty of healthy foods to give her a taste for them when you wean her
- respond to pressure on your abdomen so you and your partner take turns to massage her
- react to sounds, music and rhythm – so talk, sing away to her!
From 19 weeks her growth rate – apart from weight gain – starts to slow and she begins to mature in other ways. Her heartbeat is easy to hear so ask your midwife to let you both listen in. It sounds like a pony galloping, twice as fast as your own heart beats.
Keeping fit: the best forms of exercise
Exercise builds stamina, keeps you supple and makes you stronger to meet the physical strains of pregnancy and birth. It’s also good for clearing your head and keeping fit helps many women feel better about their weight gain. And your baby loves feeling those exercise endorphins coursing around your bloodstream.
You mustn’t make Olympic efforts – little and often is the key. Do nothing strenuous that pulls on the tummy or jolts your joints, and don’t suddenly take up a new sport that you haven’t tried before. Ask at your antenatal clinic about exercise classes on offer.
- walking a mile a day in well supporting trainers – good for digestion, posture and circulation
- swimming – good for muscle tone, and your body is supported by the water so no strain
- yoga – good for breathing, suppleness and strengthening core muscles to support your back and keep your posture good as your bump throws your centre of gravity forward. Always make sure you have a good instructor.
Bye for now!
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Copyright Miriam Stoppard 2012