Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 17-20
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
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.
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.