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You and your baby at 21-24 weeks pregnant

Your baby

When you are around 22 weeks pregnant the baby becomes covered in a very fine, soft hair called lanugo. The purpose of this isn’t known, but it’s thought that it may be to keep the baby at the right temperature. The lanugo disappears before birth, though sometimes just a little is left and disappears later.

When you are 24 weeks pregnant, the baby has a chance of survival if he or she is born. Most babies born before this time cannot live because their lungs and other vital organs are not developed enough. The care that can now be given in neonatal (baby) units means that more and more babies born early do survive. But for babies born at around this time there are increased risks of disability. Find out more about premature labour and birth and special care for babies.


Your womb will begin to get bigger more quickly and you will really begin to look pregnant. You may feel hungrier than before – try to stick to a sensible, balanced diet, and make sure you know what foods to avoid.

Not everybody gets stretch marks, but if you do develop them they will probably start becoming noticeable when you’re around 22 to 24 weeks pregnant. They may appear on your stomach, breasts and thighs. At first they look red and then fade to a silvery grey. Your breasts may start to leak a little pre-milk, and this is normal.

Things to think about

Breastfeeding has lots of benefits for you and your baby. Find out more with expert advice, help and new mums’ stories.

Common minor problems can include backache, indigestion and piles. Find out how to protect your back, relieve or prevent indigestion and heartburn, and deal with piles (haemorrhoids).

Warning signs to look out for

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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