20 more weeks to go
Toot-toot! The halfway station is here -- you are midway to your destination. Your uterus is taking up a lot more room, and some of your other organs – for example, your heart and lungs – now have to work with lesser space. Feeling breathless at times, especially when you’re lying flat on your back, is common. Try to lie sideways with a pillow between your knees. It's a great time for mum, with good energy levels. Your weight gain, swelling, and hormones could be making your feet bigger, so do wear comfortable footwear.
पंचमे मनः प्रतिबुध्दतरं भवति । (सुश्रुत् शारीरस्थान)
Ayurveda says that the baby’s mind is becoming more enlightened this week.
The baby’s length will be measured differently from this week. For the first half of pregnancy (when a baby's legs are curled up against his torso), measurements are taken from the top of his head to his bottom, or from "crown to rump." But starting at 20 weeks, he's measured from head to toe.
A lot of your baby's taste buds can now transmit taste signals to his brain, and he's swallowing molecules of the food you eat that have passed through your blood into your amniotic fluid. Scientists aren’t sure if he can taste these molecules, but some research indicates that what you eat during pregnancy do determine what foods the baby will prefer later.
Your little one is in the process of developing a definite sleep-wake cycle and is also becoming responsive to sounds in the environment. From time to time, loud noises may even wake him. There are nicely formed cycles of sleep and wakefulness.
The brain is set to undergo its most important period of growth from the fifth month on. Around this week, your baby's brain is directing its diaphragm and chest muscles to contract, which is a lot like practice breathing.
Around this week, your baby’s digestive system starts to produce a greenish-black, sticky substance called meconium, which will accumulate in his bowels over the rest of the pregnancy. Typically, your baby will pass this substance after he’s born, and you’ll see it in your baby’s first few diapers.
Getting a feeling of tightness in your torso? It is quite expected since the top of your uterus is now about level with your belly button, and you may have gained around 4 to 4-5 kgs.
Not able to get enough sleep? Lie on your side, with your knees bent and a pillow between your legs. For extra comfort and support, arrange other pillows under your belly and behind your back. Snoring is likely even if you haven’t ever snored before. Your mucous membranes are swelling due to your pregnancy hormones that are causing it.
Most mums notice their nails are stronger and hair is growing faster than usual, and feeling thicker and fuller. It's those pregnancy hormones that are adding extra nutrients to hair and nail cells.
But even though your nails might be long, they can also turn dry and brittle. And though you may love your lavish locks now, don't get too attached: Your good-hair-day run ends with delivery, when the normal daily hair loss that's suppressed during pregnancy (thus the thicker mane) picks up where it left off and then some.
The gums acquire a spongy-softer texture that may cause them to bleed easily. This is due to the increase in hormones (estrogen and progesterone) that affect the mucous membranes in the mouth. Varicose veins and hemorrhoids may appear.
Hormonal activity and your growing baby pushing against your intestines can lead to constipation. Although this condition can be uncomfortable, drinking more water and eating more fiber can help get things moving.
As the baby’s mana is enlightened this week, chanting mantras, reading holy books and devoting your attention to spiritual content is a beautiful way to keep it ‘prasanna’ .
Here are some verses from the holy scriptures that are good for the baby:
The Bhagavad Gita: “uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ nātmānam avasādayet ātmaiva hyātmano bandhur ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ” (Elevate yourself through the power of your mind, and not degrade yourself, for the mind can be the friend and also the enemy of the self).
The Bible: "And the child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." - Luke 2:40
The Quran: “O Lord, bestow on me a goodly offspring from You; verily, You are the hearer of prayer.” - Al Imran:38
The Granth Sahib” Recite the Shabad - Satigur Saacha Deeya Bhej
The Tipitaka: Calmed, restrained, giving counsel unruffled, he lifts off evil states of mind —as the breeze, as a leaf from a tree. Mahakotthika (Thag 1.2)
The Agamas: Repeat Navkaar mantra daily and also focus on the Mahamantra.
If not done already, you may have your anomaly scan this week, where you can meet and greet your baby. The sonographer will be checking on your baby's development and will also examine your placenta (that's the pancake-shaped organ in your body that feeds your baby and removes waste).
Get plenty of iron While mum needs iron throughout the pregnancy, this week is a reminder that the baby is growing faster now. Your body needs more iron to keep up with your expanding blood volume as well as to nourish your growing baby and the placenta. Here is a soup recipe that is packed with iron.
Rajma and Spinach Soup
• 1/2 cup soaked and boiled kidney beans (rajma)
• 1 cup shredded spinach (palak)
• 1/2 tbsp oil
• 2 tbsp finely chopped onions
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper (kalimirch) to taste
• 1 tsp finely chopped garlic (lehsun)
• 1½ tsp dried oregano or pasta seasoning mix
• 2 tbsp tomato puree
• 2 tbsp grated paneer to garnish
• Heat the oil in a deep non-stick wok (kadhai), add the onions and cook on a medium flame for 1 or 2 minutes.
• Add the spinach, salt and pepper and cook on a medium flame for another minute or two.
• Add the garlic and oregano and cook on a medium flame for 1 minute.
• Add the kidney beans and 4 cups of water, mix well and bring it to boil on high heat (approximately 4 minutes).
• Lower the flame and cook on a medium flame for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
• Add the tomato puree, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
• Serve hot, garnished with grated paneer.
iMumz provides micro nutrients week by week for your daily dose of nutrition. Diet charts and recipes are made by mothers to give your daily dose of health for your baby and you.
The little one is looking more and more like a ‘baby’ now since the facial features including the nose have taken shape.
Having said that, he will not be plump at the moment because fat hasn’t developed much.
His sucking reflex is maturing, and it's possible that he may suck his thumb this week or sometime soon.
Rapid brain growth continues, particularly in the nerve centers dedicated to the senses.
The fingernails are growing and the baby's delicate skin stays protected while in the amniotic fluid thanks to lanugo (fine, light hair) and vernix (a slick, white substance) covering the baby's body
Being sedentary (sitting down a lot) is not healthy for you or your baby.
It puts you at higher risk of too much weight gain, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and varicose veins.
Too much vitamin A
Any high-dose multivitamin supplements or any supplements containing vitamin A can affect your developing baby.
This can happen if you eat outside food, salad with raw fruits and vegetables that haven’t been washed properly or ready-to-eat meals. Have only freshly-prepared food that is home-cooked.
iMumz has a team of doctors working round the clock to prepare a rich repository of such tips.
Experiencing heartburn during pregnancy means your baby will be born with hair.
Actually, this one may have some truth. A small study found that women with mild to severe heartburn gave birth to babies with hair. Researchers think there may be a connection between pregnancy hormones relaxing both parts of the lower esophagus and being responsible for fetal hair growth. But there isn’t any conclusive evidence yet.
Indulging in some creative work like painting, gardening , drawing, writing has been shown to have a direct effect on the baby, especially, its emotional wellbeing.
Whenever a mother is busy with some creativity, good neuropeptides like oxytocin, endorphins are released in her body.
They keep the mother happy and content.
These same hormones get into foetal circulation and activate the centres of joy and happiness in the baby's brain.
If the happy centres are active for longer times then it makes a huge impact in making positive changes in the child's personality and help her to handle the emotions better in future.
We have weekly bonding activities to help mums to connect with babies for their all-round development.
The award-winning iMumz App is helping 350,000 + women make their pregnancies healthier and happier.
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