17-20 weeks pregnant

These weeks are exciting, because it’s now that you’ll probably begin to feel your baby moving.  Just little butterfly flutters at first, getting stronger and stronger until you’ll be able to see the baby moving beneath your skin!



Your baby

Things to do

These weeks are exciting, because it’s now that you’ll probably begin to feel your baby moving.

The first few movements are light and fluttery, and it’s not always easy to tell if it’s the baby or your tummy rumbling. But those fluttery movements turn into kicks and prods, and by week 20 you’ll probably be in no doubt that your baby’s moving.

You’re now noticeably bigger, and your breasts may be getting bigger. You may begin to get stretch marks if you haven’t got them already.

Around week 20, you may notice that your tummy button pops out (it will go back to normal after your baby’s born).

The majority of women feel very well at this stage.Their skin and hair glow, and they feel strong and energetic.

Your baby’s rapid growth rate has slowed down a bit, but his organs are continuing to develop and mature.

He is starting to practice using some of his systems. He can swallow amniotic fluid and pass it out through his bladder. He is also making breathing movements, preparing for when he will breathe on his own.

He can suck too, and may even be sucking his thumb. He has a sense of touch, and if any pressure is put on your tummy, he will move away from it. His teeth are beginning to form inside his jawbones.

By week 20, a creamy white substance (called vernix) is beginning to form on his skin. This protects the skin while the baby is in the womb. The skin is wrinkled because there’s not yet much fat underneath it. Your baby is now about 25cm long, approximately half the size he will be at birth.

You will now start having regular antenatal appointments with your midwife. You may also see your family doctor. If you are booked for consultant care, you will also see a hospital-based obstetrician. The pattern of antenatal checks varies from place to place. There is a general move towards fewer antenatal appointments for women with normal straightforward pregnancies.

Ask your midwife what your schedule of check-ups is likely to be, but don’t forget that you can contact her, or your doctor, at any time if you are worried about yourself or your baby or have any unanswered questions. It may help to write your concerns down beforehand, so you don’t forget them when it comes to the appointment.

You’ll need to buy some maternity clothes if you haven’t already done so. If you’re buying things, and you’re planning to breastfeed your baby, it’s a good idea to choose clothes that will work for breastfeeding too. You may be offered an ultrasound scan (this is sometimes called an anomaly scan) to check that your baby is developing normally. You can accept or refuse this as you wish. If you’re having an amniocentesis, this will be done before week 18.

All pregnancies are different, so don’t worry if you’re not experiencing everything exactly as it says here.