You are officially over the half way mark at 20 weeks pregnant. Studies have shown that your baby will learn to distinguish your voice from other people's before she is born, and will be soothed by it after the birth.
Your baby's growth will slow down now allowing the nervous system and lungs to develop more.
Your baby is around 7-7.5 inches long from head to bottom and about 10 inches from head to heel. For the first 20 weeks, when a baby's legs are curled up against his torso measurements are taken from the top of his head to his bottom - the "crown to rump" measurement. After 20 weeks, the baby is measured from head to toe. The baby is already roughly half the length he/she will be at birth.
At 20 weeks, your baby now has perfectly formed ears and is able to hear sounds from inside and outside your body. Studies have shown that your baby will learn to distinguish your voice from other people's before she is born, and will be soothed by it after the birth.
From now on you will steadily gain weight, expect to gain a pound a week. There will be high levels of oestrogen and progesterone in your body now until the end of the pregnancy. This is to help soften and swell the cervix ready for childbirth. This can also have the same effect on the mucus membranes of your nose causing stuffiness and nosebleeds.
The growing uterus will put pressure on your lungs, stomach and kidneys for the remainder of the pregnancy. This will cause you to urinate more frequently, can cause indigestion and will make you feel short of breath. The added pressure on your abdomen can also cause your naval to protrude. Some pregnant women begin to notice stretch marks around this time as well.
You have around 320ml of amniotic fluid inside you and your heart is pumping an incredible seven litres of blood every minute.
Make sure that you are getting enough iron, which is used mainly to make haemoglobin (the part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen). During pregnancy, your body needs more iron as your body is producing and pumping more blood, as well as for your growing baby and the placenta.
Changes in your hormone levels and circulation can mean you are more prone to varicose veins during the pregnancy. When you can try to keep your feet raised up, keep mobile and if they prove to be a problem you may want to try wearing support tights.
My Experience at 20 weeks
I was one of the unlucky ones that during my second pregnancy I developed some varicose veins on my legs (not too bad but they were there.). I was advised by the midwife that whilst sitting watching TV or resting to keep my legs raised. I massaged them regularly with an exfoliating glove and I wore support tights and this seemed to help a bit.
I also used a stretch mark cream called Palmers Cocoa Butter Cream for stretch marks. I did not have any stretch marks but was recommended this cream by a friend who had had a baby and she thought it was brilliant. It is supposed to help prevent the stretch marks and help fade any marks that you may already have.