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You and your baby at 17-20 weeks pregnant

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Your baby's development

By the time you're 17 weeks pregnant, your baby is growing quickly and now weighs around 150g1

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, she or he would look a bit wrinkled. The baby 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 this helps protect the skin during the many weeks in the amniotic fluid.

Your body halfway 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.

Eating a healthy diet in pregnancy will help your baby to develop and grow, and help keep you fit and well. 

Warning signs to look out for

Bleeding from the vagina may be a sign of serious problems, so seek help for vaginal bleeding in pregnancy.

Itching in pregnancy can be a sign of the rare liver disorder intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, sometimes called obstetric cholestasis or OC.

Remember, if you lose your baby, it's very important that you have all the support you need. Support is available from your care team and other organisations.

 1 Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v 3.0.