Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 17-20
Baby: Your baby's skin is developing and transparent, appearing red because blood vessels are visible through it. A creamy white protective coating, called vernix, begins to develop on the baby's skin.
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 of yourself! Try not to get overtired while the baby is growing so quickly.
Baby: Your baby can hear sounds by now -- your voice, heart, and your stomach growling, as well as sounds outside your body. The baby 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 near the midpoint of your pregnancy. Your uterus is just about even with your navel. Your waistline has pretty much disappeared. Bladder infections are more likely, because certain muscles in the urinary tract relax. Your breathing will deepen and you may sweat more than usual because your thyroid gland is more active.
Tip of the Week: Backache? Watch your posture. Sit with a footstool or use an ergonomic chair, 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 because he or she is developing muscles and exercising them. That movement is called quickening.