You are 20 Weeks and 5 Days 135 days to go…
Your developing baby is becoming more responsive and aware every day as his nervous system begins to work more effectively.
The skin is less translucent now as your baby is starting to lay
down fat reserves, which after the birth will help with temperature
control and provide an energy reservoir for your baby to call upon when
Your baby today
By this stage, your baby can use his senses
and recognize the sensations of light, pressure, pain, and temperature.
Sound is thought to be the first sense to develop, although taste buds
are at least present on the tongue from as early as 10 weeks. Nerves
carrying the sensations of pain, temperature, and light touch from your
baby’s body reach his spinal cord and then travel to the hypothalamus,
which lies in the center of the brain. This then sends signals to
another part of your baby’s brain so that the stimuli can be recognized
and also evoke an emotional response. Many, but not all, of these nerves
require insulation around them to conduct signals effectively. Known as
myelin sheaths, these do not develop until much later, after 29 weeks
in the spine and 37 weeks in the brain.
Painful stimuli result
in a reflex action (such as pulling your hand away from a hot object).
Reflexes don’t have to involve the brain and for these sensations to be
recognized at a conscious level, rather than as a simple reflex, the
nerves need to connect the hypothalamus to the gray matter in the brain.
These connections are thought to function after 26 weeks of pregnancy,
but it may be 34 weeks before their electrical activity can be clearly
seen on an electroencephalogram (EEG).
This is my second baby—does it make sense to go to prenatal classes again?
I think so. There were three years between my pregnancies and
it helped to have a refresher course; I even found that some of the
advice had changed in that time. My partner found it helpful, too.
One reason to go is to
meet some pregnant moms again; it’s always useful to share the
experience with others and, as with your first pregnancy, you’ll
probably find you make some great friends.
Wearing maternity hose
You probably can’t imagine wearing maternity hose,
but they have their uses. They work by promoting circulation and the
return of blood back to the heart and may be recommended to prevent
vein-related problems, particularly if you suffer from varicose veins or spider veins.
They also help to relieve
aching feet, mild swelling in the feet, ankles, and legs, as well as
fluid retention. They may be particularly helpful if your work means
that you must be on your feet for long periods of time.
element of fashion has been introduced and many brands are sheer and
pretty. There is a variety available: some are thigh- or knee-high (see image)
and others cover the whole leg. There are also some that provide
support for your baby and uterus, taking the pressure off your back.
You’ll find lighter stockings for summer wear, when the hot weather can
lead to further swelling.
You are 20 Weeks and 6 Days 134 days to go…
Your baby’s reproductive organs are gradually developing and the differences in the genitals are increasingly obvious.
Your baby is now developing periods of movement and activity and
periods of rest and quiet. Soon these periods will become definite
cycles of activity, providing something of a daily (and nightly) routine
to his movement.
Your baby today
In the absence of high levels
of testosterone in a female baby, the reproductive glands become
ovaries, which contain 6–8 million follicles at this stage, of which
about 1–2 million will remain at birth. The ovaries have now descended
from the abdomen into the pelvis. The testes also undergo a similar
descent, but have not yet reached the scrotum. Under the influence of
the hormone estrogen you produce, your baby of either sex may develop
breast buds, although these will disappear after birth. Whether your
baby is a boy or a girl has very little impact on the pregnancy. Later
in pregnancy, there is a slight weight difference, with boys being
slightly heavier than girls on average.
I fell recently. Could I have harmed my baby?
Falling during pregnancy is extremely common, as your
increasingly protruding abdomen, softening ligaments and joints, and
changing center of gravity can cause you to lose your balance. The good
news is that your baby is safely cocooned in amniotic fluid, which
protects and cushions him when you fall. Your injuries would have to be
quite severe to cause any harm to your baby.
The best thing you can
do is to monitor your baby’s movements after a fall. If he’s moving as
much as normal all should be fine, but if you want reassurance, pay a
visit to your doctor. If you do experience any discomfort, or unusual
discharge or bleeding from your vagina, seek medical help. If you pass
water, this is likely to be urine caused by stress incontinence (see … Doctor), not amniotic fluid.
The amniotic sac
is sometimes referred to as a “bubble” because of its appearance. It
may be transparent, but it’s tough and extremely difficult to pierce, so
your baby is very well protected in this safe environment.