The human foetus at 20 weeks, with closed eyes. This is halfway through the pregnancy. At this stage the limbs, organs, fingers and toes are fully developed and the sex can be determined.

Week 20

Mum

This is when you start thinking about the 20-week scan. It’s used to examine the baby’s size and position, and also to check whether the brain, heart, lungs and other internal organs are developing as expected. The health professionals will also look at the fluid around the baby and the placenta and assess if the pregnancy is progressing normally. This is also when parents are often able to find out the gender of the baby (unless the foetal position prevents this). While it’s fantastic to see your baby on the monitor, it’s totally your choice whether or not you do the scan, even if your LMC recommends it.

Dad

50% done, 50% still to go. Can you believe it’s the midpoint of the pregnancy already? Celebrate it with a special dinner, a weekend away, a gift, a bouquet of flowers – whatever your partner is into at the moment.

Fun fact: She may not be into her usual favourites at this stage of the pregnancy. Just like food cravings, your partner’s taste might suddenly include new and weird things (not that you’re being judgemental or anything). Pregnant women who don’t usually like the colour yellow, for example, suddenly surround themselves with yellow freesias (that’s flowers for you bloke-y blokes out there) and plan to paint the nursery yellow. Or she may develop a sudden affinity for the smell of fresh laundry (if so, lucky you). Even if she’s usually a party girl, she might like to cocoon with you in front of the TV instead. Don’t try to surprise her – just ask.

Baby

You are as big as a medium-sized banana. You are exercising your digestive system by swallowing the amniotic fluid. You are also manufacturing black, sticky meconium which you will store in your bowels until you excrete it into your first nappy.

Photos in the bumpandbaby.co.nz/week-by-week/ are by Lenart Nilsson. Lenart's series was bought to fame when his photo, considered the greatest photo of the 20th century, appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1965. “Everyone interprets images differently, depending on their social, cultural and religious background. In the digital era, I believe it is more important than ever to go back and take a look inside ourselves. What better way of doing that than with these photos?” ~ Jane Stene, art gallery director and curator of Lenart's definitive black and white series, told the The Guardian in 2019. It is Lenart Nilsson's wish that his images are never used for political debate about pro-life.

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