20 weeks pregnancy fetus growth development survival



If you’ve recently found out a baby’s sex, you and your husband are a whole lot happier than when you first knew you were pregnant—am I right? Now, those baby names you’re throwing out are more likely to end up as the baby’s actual name. You have also started getting cool baby clothes too. When you are 20 weeks pregnant, you probably want to start finalizing your baby registry too.

The baby is the size of a plantain. He or she weighs about 10.2 or 10.5 ounces and measures about 6.5 inches from crown to rump. Baby’s still got a lot of growing to do but he or she has an excellent start! 20 weeks pregnancy is four months and a week or two. During week 20, you’ve hit the halfway point of your pregnancy.

As a woman completes her 20th week of pregnancy or 18th week of gestation, her baby’s heartbeat may be audible with an ordinary stethoscope. He may suck his thumb and occasionally have the hiccups. The baby is more active and may show a preference for a specific position in the womb. Critical immunities transfer from mother to baby to protect him from viruses to which the mother has previously been exposed.

Specialized areas of the brain are developing nerve cells for the five senses, including taste, smell, hearing, seeing and touch. Nerve cells grow larger and make complex connections. The baby may startle in response to loud sounds that he can now hear. She can hear noises outside the womb and after birth may find familiar sounds calming, according to Pregnancy.org. A baby girl’s uterus is developing now and her ovaries at birth will contain about a million eggs.


Besides weight gain, many other physical and biochemical changes are also occurring in the mother to support the pregnancy. Blood volume increases by 50 percent. Blood pressure may decrease in the second trimester. Other maternal responses to pregnancy include increased retention of salt and water, cardiac output increases and hyperventilation occurs, according to Arthur Vander, James Sherman and Dorothy Luciano in the text “Human Physiology.”


What are the factors affecting survival?

The matter is not always as simple as being past a particular point in the pregnancy at the time of the birth. Multiple factors can play into whether or not a baby will survive premature birth, including the baby’s birth weight. Low birth weight is independently linked to reduced odds of survival and a higher risk of disabilities and health problems.

In addition, if the early birth resulted from induction or C-section due to a medical condition, such as placental abruption, the effects of that condition can affect the baby’s health and survival also, such as if there was oxygen deprivation before the delivery.

Another factor is whether the doctors had time before the birth to treat the baby with steroids to speed up lung development. The mother gets the steroids, which then pass through the placenta to the fetus. A very premature baby treated with steroids before birth is more likely to survive than a baby born unexpectedly premature because the steroids can make a difference in whether or not the baby is able to breathe outside the womb.






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