Your pregnancy: weeks 17 to 20
Your baby is growing quickly now, about an inch every month. At 18 weeks, your baby will be around 8 inches long and weigh about 8 ounces. The umbilical cord that connects you and your baby is thickening and continues to carry blood and nutrients.
You’ll probably have an appointment with us at this stage. We’ll see how you’re feeling, check on your little one’s development, and say hi to your baby via ultrasound. Around week 20, we’ll be able to tell you if you’re having a boy or a girl — unless you want it to be a surprise!
It’s a great time for you to ask questions that have come up during your second trimester — and if we’re lucky, we might catch your baby moving around or sucking a thumb.
What’s happening this week?
17 weeks pregnant
I’m 17 weeks pregnant. My baby’s the size of a pear.
Fingerprints develop this week. As if I need any more proof that my baby is one of a kind…
- Your baby is almost the size of a pear.
- His or her eyes can move slightly from side to side.
- Your little one is starting to develop body fat.
- Tiny knees, elbows, and knuckles can bend, flex, and move.
18 weeks pregnant
I’m 18 weeks pregnant. My baby’s the size of a bell pepper.
No, I’m not talking to myself. I’m talking to my baby! This week, my little one will hear sounds for the first time.
- Your baby is the size of a bell pepper.
- The inner ears are developing, and your baby might be starting to hear sounds.
- Fine, downy hair and a white creamy substance cover your baby’s body, creating a waterproof barrier that protects baby’s skin from drying out in the amniotic fluid.
- If you could see your baby, you’d probably know whether you’re expecting a boy or a girl.
19 weeks pregnant
I’m 19 weeks pregnant. My baby’s the size of a tomato.
Now that my little sweetheart can hear, it’s time to make a playlist for us. Any requests, baby? Just kick if you hear a song you like!
- Your baby is the size of an tomato.
- Little ears can hear your heartbeat, your voice, and loud sounds — like music — from outside your body.
- Your little one’s eyes can sense light.
- Your baby can hiccup and yawn, which you might see if you have an ultrasound this week.
20 weeks pregnant
I’m 20 weeks pregnant. My baby’s the size of an artichoke.
Imagining how tiny my baby’s hands are. Can’t wait to hold them in mine!
- Your baby is the size of an artichoke.
- Little one is stretching and kicking more, especially in response to loud noises.
- The fine, downy hair that covered your baby is beginning to disappear.
- Your little one’s heartbeat can be heard through a stethoscope.
Can you feel your baby moving? Those first flutters are called “quickening,” and some women say they feel like butterflies.
Don’t panic if you notice dark patches on your face. They’re from the extra estrogen your body is producing and should disappear after pregnancy. Just be sure to use sunscreen to prevent the patches from darkening in the sun. (Actually, sunscreen’s always a good idea.) You may also see a narrow, dark line running from your belly button to the top of your pubic bone. All of these changes are normal signs that your pregnancy is on track.
Your to-do list
- Schedule an appointment with us between weeks 16 and 20. We’ll measure your baby’s growth and development and get a better sense of your due date.
- If you’re a Kaiser Permanente member, make sure you’re registered on kp.org so you can email your doctor with questions, keep track of your prenatal appointments, and more.
- Download our pregnancy and childbirth podcast — guided meditation to support you during pregnancy and help prepare you for childbirth.
- Decide whether you and your partner want to hire a personal labor coach (doula).
- Prepare for delivery day by taking a class.*
- If you plan to go back to work, start thinking about child care.
*Some classes may require a fee.