Pregnancy Weeks 17-20

Many women consider the fifth month (17th – 20th weeks of pregnancy) the most enjoyable one. You are probably feeling pretty good, and everyone can finally see that you are carrying a child inside you. No one has any doubts about this. Get ready to become the object of increased attention, as well as advice-giving. Moreover, now you are most likely also feeling the movements of your little one in your belly. This month you are going through an important pregnancy milestone – you are halfway to on your path to meeting your child.

Pregnancy Week 17

Your child is now about 11‑12 cm (4.3-4.7 inches) from head to tailbone. His/her weight has doubled over the past two weeks and now is about 105 g (0.23 pounds). Fat tissues begin to form, which helps the baby maintain its body temperature and promotes metabolism. Amniotic fluid begins to emerge from the lungs of the fetus, and the circulatory and urinary systems are well in function. Hair on the head, eyebrows and eyelashes are also growing.

By this time, the future mother’s tummy becomes very noticeable, especially its lower part. By this time you will gain around 2-4.5 kg. You may experience a particularly good appetite.

Tip for this week: you should change positions slowly, especially when you get up. This is in order to avoid dizziness and fainting. If you feel dizzy, crouch and lower your head or lie down for a moment.

Pregnancy Week 18

The size of your baby is now 13‑14 cm (5.1 – 5.5 inches), and the weight – 160 g (0.35 pounds). Your child can yawn, engage with his surroundings, and even frown. Taste buds on the tongue begin to form, and your little one can now  distinguish between sweet and bitter tastes in the amniotic fluid. These changes in the liquid occur through what the mother eat.

Your baby can also suck his finger, swallow, and get the hiccups. The eye retina becomes sensitive to light, so when a bright light is directed on your stomach, your child will try to cover his eyes.

The expectant mother: the womb is now the size of a melon and you can feel it in your navel. Now you can already feel the movement of the fetus. A systematic ultrasound checkup is usually carried out between the 18th and 22nd week. This helps assess the development of your baby and the date of birth. If your baby is in a convenient position, the doctor will also be able to determine the sex of the child. The heart of your little one is now 40-50% faster, which is necessary for a healthy pregnancy.

Tip for this week: invite your partner to visit the doctor with you and listen to the baby’s heartbeat. This is a great opportunity to take a look at the child together, and also to take a picture of him and show your family and friends.

Pregnancy Week 19

The size of your baby is now approximately 13‑15 cm (5.1-5.9) from the head to the tailbone, and the weight is around 210 g (0.46 pounds). The baby’s skin continues to develop. So far it is transparent, and it can seem reddish because blood vessels are still visible through the skin. A white protective lubricant begins to form on the outer layer.

With the growth of a child inside you, you may experience abdominal pain, typical of this stage of pregnancy. You may also feel dizziness, heartburn, constipation, leg cramps, mild swelling of the ankles and feet, and back pain. Enlarged veins in the legs can cause spider veins on the face, shoulders, and arms. Try not to overwork or overstrain yourself because the rapid growth of your baby at this time can increase the load on your heart, lungs and kidneys.

Pregnancy Week 20

Your child’s height has now reached 14-16 cm (5.5-6.3 inches), with a weight of 270 g (0.59 pounds). Your baby can now already hear sounds, such as your voice, heartbeat, rumbling of your abdomen, as well as sounds from outside. If there is a loud sound near you, your baby can cover his ears. He can even flinch at rhythmic music. The child’s movements are increasing as his strength increases: he will be turning, wriggling, and even putting up little fights.

Expectant mother: congratulations! You have reached the middle of your pregnancy. Your uterus has almost reached your navel. Your waist will have increased significantly, but this is temporary! During this time, the risk of infectious diseases of the bladder increases because smooth muscles of the urinary tract relax. Breathing becomes more difficult and you can sweat more than usual due to the greater activity of the thyroid gland.

Tip for this week: observe a correct posture whenever you are sitting, standing, or walking. This will help prevent back pain. Use a footrest when sitting, try to choose an ergonomic chair for work, and do not stand for a long time. You can also put a pillow under your waist area and between your knees while sleeping, and when lifting objects, try to bend your knees so as to not to strain your back. Avoid lifting heavy objects in general.

By the end of the fifth month

By the end of the fifth month, hair has begun to grow on the head of your child. “Lanugo” which is a soft, peach-like hair, covers the shoulders, back and temples of your child. This cover acts as a protective function and keeps your baby warm. It disappears by the end of the first week after birth.

The skin of your baby is also covered with white lubricant. This lubricant protects the baby from constant contact with the amniotic fluid and dissolves just before birth.

Also during this month, you may feel the movement of your baby, as he or she develops muscles and tries to stretch their arms and legs.

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