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You and your baby at 17-20 weeks pregnant

Your baby

By the time you're 17 weeks pregnant, your baby is growing quickly. The body grows bigger so that the head and body are more in proportion and the baby doesn’t look as "top heavy". The face begins to look much more human, and the hair is beginning to grow along with the eyebrows and eyelashes. The lines on the skin of the fingers are now formed, so the baby already has his or her own individual fingerprints. Fingernails and toenails are growing and the baby has a firm hand grip.


At 20 weeks pregnant, you're halfway through your pregnancy. You will probably feel your baby move for the first time when you're around 17 or 18 weeks pregnant. Most first-time mums notice the first movements when they are between 18 and 20 weeks pregnant. At first you feel a fluttering or bubbling, or a very slight shifting movement, maybe a bit like indigestion. Later, you can’t mistake the movements and you can even see the baby kicking about. Often you can guess which bump is a hand or a foot and so on.

You may develop a dark line down the middle of your tummy and chest. This is normal skin pigmentation as your tummy expands to accommodate your growing bump. Normal hair loss slows down, so your hair may look thicker and shinier.

You’ll be offered an anomaly scan when you are 18 to 20 weeks pregnant – this is to check for abnormalities in the baby. Your midwife or doctor can give you information about this and answer any questions. You can find out more about screening for foetal abnormality.

Common minor problems can include tiredness and lack of sleep. Sleeplessness is common, but there is plenty you can do to help you sleep including using pillows to support your growing bump. Some women also get headaches. Headaches in pregnancy are common, but if they’re severe they could be a sign of something serious.

Things to think about

Keeping active

Exercise in pregnancy is good for you and your baby. Find out what's safe and when you should take care.

Warning signs to look out for include:

Vaginal bleeding

Bleeding from the vagina may be a sign of serious problems, so seek help.

Severe itching

Severe itching could be a sign of the rare liver disorder obstetric cholestasis.

When pregnancy goes wrong

If your baby dies in the womb, it's very important you have all the support you need. Support is available from your care team and other organisations who can help. Find out more about miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and stillbirth.

You can save a to-do list online to keep track of all the essentials for your pregnancy.

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