Pregnancy Guide

You and your baby at 17-20 weeks pregnant

Your baby's development

By the time you're 17 weeks pregnant, your baby is growing quickly, and now weighs around 150g.

The body grows bigger so that the head and body are more in proportion. The face begins to look much more human, and eyebrows and eyelashes are beginning to grow. Your baby's eyes can move now, although the eyelids are still shut, and the mouth can open and close.

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.

The baby moves around quite a bit, and may respond to loud noises from the outside world, such as music. You may not feel these movements yet, especially if this is your first pregnancy. If you do, they'll probably feel like a soft fluttering or rolling sensation.

Your baby is putting on a bit of weight but still doesn't have much fat so if you could see your baby now it would look a bit wrinkled, although it will continue to put on weight for the rest of the pregnancy and will "fill out" by the last few weeks before birth.

By 20 weeks your baby's skin is covered in a white, greasy substance called vernix. It's thought that this helps to protect the skin during the many weeks in the amniotic fluid.

Your body half way through pregnancy

At 20 weeks pregnant, you're halfway through your pregnancy. You might 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're between 18 and 20 weeks pregnant.

At first, you feel a fluttering or bubbling, or a very slight shifting movement. Later on you can't mistake the movements, and can even see the baby kicking about. Often, you can guess which bump is a hand or a foot.

You may develop a dark line down the middle of your tummy. 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.  

Common minor problems can include tiredness and lack of sleep. Sleeplessness is common, but there's plenty you can do to help yourself sleep, including using pillows to support your growing bump.

Some women also get headaches. Headaches in pregnancy are common, but they could be a sign of something serious if they're severe.

Tips for mid-pregnancy

Keeping active

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

Having a healthy diet

Eating healthily during pregnancy will help your baby to develop and grow, and will keep you fit and well.

Ultrasound scans

You'll be offered ultrasound scans in pregnancy, including the anomaly scan between 18 weeks and 20 weeks and six days.

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 you lose your baby, 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.

Pregnancy week by week

21, 22, 23, 24 weeks pregnant

25, 26, 27, 28 weeks pregnant

29, 30, 31, 32 weeks pregnant

33, 34, 35, 36 weeks pregnant

37, 38, 39, 40 weeks pregnant

Over 40 weeks pregnant



Last Updated: 19/04/2021 10:18:25
The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website