Read our fascinating (and weird) list of what’s happening in your body right now, to find out about your amazing pregnancy.
Your baby is listening (yep, she can hear what you’re saying!)
By week 18, your baby’s ears have fully developed, and she is able to hear your voice, the blender going and the TV playing. It’s a great time to start singing your favourite songs as she is listening to your voice, and could very well be soothed by these same songs when born.
Prepare…your uterus is in for a big stretch
Amazingly, your uterus will end up 14 times bigger, going from the size of an apple to the size of a watermelon. It does have a very important job to do of course, it needs to carry up to 800mls of amniotic fluid (that’s over three cups full) as well as your baby (all cushioned and comfortable in the amniotic fluid). Luckily, after all that stretching, it will reduce back down.
Baby is practising his crying, ready for his first debut
Crying is the way baby communicates with us, particularly during those first weeks. We all know practice makes perfect and they are simply rehearsing in the womb, as can sometimes be seen on an ultrasound scan (with little crying facial expressions). Don’t worry though, this doesn’t mean baby is sad, it’s an important skill they will learn to master and you will get to hear!
Baby tastes his or her meals
At 20 weeks, baby has developed taste buds and may be starting to form preferences for certain foods. Some experts believe we can influence our baby’s palate and steer them to prefer healthier choices if we are super healthy with eating. If your cravings are of the hot chips and chocolate variety, you may want to try broccoli and quinoa instead!
Little boys may be having erections (yes…it’s does start very early!)
Between 20 and 23 weeks, a boy has already started making sperm and a girl’s ovaries and uterus are also fully formed, with a lifetime supply of eggs. All of this is starting to happen before baby is born, which is another good reminder to be as healthy as you can, as it could well affect the health of your baby’s babies.
Pump up the volume – that is 40 to 50 percent more blood pumping from your heart than before you were pregnant!
Your body needs more blood pumping through to fuel the umbilical cord and placenta, whose job it is to feed baby and make sure he is strong and healthy for the birth. To do this, your heart will beat 10 to 20 more times per minute than it did pre-pregnancy. Phew…no wonder exercise with your bump makes you feel so puffed!
Your baby is able to see the light
It not always dark in there, in fact, if you sit your bump in the sunlight your baby may actually be shielding their eyes. At 30 weeks, the irises are completely formed and so baby can see and might even react to light.
Milk production has started!
At 20 weeks, your colostrum has already been produced and is simply waiting patiently for baby to start feeding (in fact, this process starts as soon as you get pregnant). Sometimes, during the third trimester, your boobs simply won’t wait, and you may notice a bit of leaking. Might be a good idea to stock up on breast pads ahead of time!
It’s a heavy load for the placenta
Taking on the work of four organs, the placenta is almost super human. New to your body (it’s only there during pregnancy) it is a complex multitasker that helps your baby eliminate waste, filters away bad things, supplies all his or her blood and feeds baby. No wonder it’s exhausted by the end!
Baby is making poop (sorry, it’s a nappy free zone!)
Around 20 weeks your baby starts producing meconium, the black, tarry substance that he’ll poop out soon after birth to fill his first dirty nappy.
BUMP & baby is New Zealand’s only magazine for pregnancy and early babyhood. Our team of mums and mums-to-be understand what it’s like to be pregnant in this connected age, and that’s why BUMP & Baby online is geared toward what pregnant women and new mums really want to know.
Other articles of interest
It’s fairly common for siblings to feel slightly resentful, even angry at the arrival of a new baby, but with a little forethought, you can make this transition less stressful
Newborns are cute, cuddly, and oh-so-soft – everything you may have pictured. But there are some downright strange things you may experience with your newborn, that the books either didn’t mention or glossed over.