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Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 17-20

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Week 19

Baby: Your baby measures about 5.2 to 6 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 7 ounces. Skin is developing and transparent, appearing red because blood vessels are visible through it. Creamy white protective coating, called vernix, begins to develop.

Mom-to-be: As your baby continues to grow, you may be feeling some mid-pregnancy aches and pains by now -- lower abdominal achiness, dizziness, heartburn, constipation, leg cramps, mild swelling of ankles and feet, and a backache. Dilated blood vessels might cause tiny, temporary red marks (called spider nevi) on your face, shoulders and arms.

Tip of the Week: Take care not to get overtired since rapid growth of the baby can compound the burden on your heart, lungs and kidneys.

Week 20

Baby: The fetus measures about 5.6 to 6.4 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 9 ounces. Your baby can hear sounds by now -- your voice, heart and your stomach growling, as well as sounds outside your body. It will cover its ears with its hands if a loud sound is made near you, and it may even become startled and "jump." The baby is moving often, too -- twisting, turning, wiggling, punching and kicking.

Mom-to-be: Congratulations! You're at about the midpoint of your pregnancy. Your uterus is just about even with your navel. Your waistline has pretty much disappeared, but only temporarily! The risk of bladder infections increases because the smooth muscles in the urinary tract relax. Your breathing will become deeper and you may perspire more than usual from a more active thyroid gland.

Tip of the Week: To alleviate backaches, maintain good posture. Sit with a footstool or use an ergonomic chair at the office, avoid standing for too long, sleep with a small pillow under your side at the waist, and lift things with your legs instead of your back.

What's Happening Inside You?

Hair is beginning to grow on your baby's head and lanugo, a soft fine hair, covers his or her shoulders, back, and temples. This hair protects your baby and is usually shed at the end of the baby's first week of life.

20 Weeks                  

Your baby's skin is covered with a whitish coating called vernix caseosa. This "cheesy" substance, thought to protect baby's skin from long exposure to the amniotic fluid, is shed just before birth.

You may begin to feel your baby move, since he or she is developing muscles and exercising them. This first movement is called quickening.

By the end of the fifth month, your baby is about 10 inches long and weighs from 1/2 to 1 pound.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Mikio A. Nihira, MD on December 20, 2009
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