null Pregnancy Week by Week | Weeks 16-20
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UnityPoint Clinic Kenyon Road - Walk-In

800 Kenyon Road
Suite R
Fort Dodge, Iowa 50501

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Weeks 16-20

Baby's Growth & Development

  • baby weighs close to 4 ounces
  • is close to 6 to 7 inches long
  • kidneys make urine, and meconium (the baby's first stool) starts to collect in the gut
  • baby's muscles are more active, and the movements are more brisk
  • hair starts to grown on the head and downy hair, called lanugo starts to cover the baby's body
  • eyebrows and eyelashes start to grow

First Baby Movements

  • felt between 18-22 weeks of pregnancy, may be as early as 14 weeks
  • feels like a flutter, bump or nudge
  • you may think they are gas pains or hunger pains
  • if the baby's movements are not felt a day or two do not worry your baby may have changed the way it is laying and you simply may not feel the kicks
  • as long as your provider can hear the baby's heartbeat, all is well
  • later in pregnancy the baby's movements are more able to predict, and we can tell more about how the baby is doing by this motion
  • enjoy the baby's tiny movements when you feel them

Your Body

You start to "show". Your clothing may no longer fit. Don't think that you are fat. You are pregnant!

  • blood supply will rise from 3 ½ quarts to 5 ½ quarts by the end of your pregnancy
  • you may be less tired and start to enjoy being pregnant
  • you may be hungry more often and may feel cravings for some foods
  • eat a well-balanced diet
  • drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day

Round Ligament Pain

  • round ligament pain is a sharp pain or jabbing feeling often felt in the lower belly or groin on one or both sides
  • the pain should only last a few seconds
  • this pain may worry you, but it is normal as your baby grows and your body changes

Bleeding Gums

  • Your gums may become red, soft and more likely to bleed
  • use a soft toothbrush, mild toothpaste and floss gently
  • see a dentist if your gums become painful or swollen
  • it is a good idea to have your teeth and gums cleaned in a dentist office early in pregnancy and again before you have the baby

Nose Stuffiness & Nose Bleeds

  • it is normal for your nose and sinuses to feel stuffy while pregnant
  • it may feel like a lasting cold or allergy
  • there is no set treatment, an over the counter saline nose spray or drops may help


  • most women are able to work while pregnant
  • if you work, take frequent breaks when able
  • try not to stand or sit for a long time
  • try lying down for an hour when you get home
  • leave your household chores until after you have rested
  • this is a good time to let someone help you, if someone is able

Work Hazards

Some things you do at your job may be harmful to an unborn baby:

  • working with lead or mercury; making paint, glass, batteries or ceramics; pottery glazing, printing
  • working with radiation in an industrial, health care, or dental setting

Talk to you employer if you believe you are risk.

Leg Cramps

Many women feel cramps in their calves and feet, mostly at night. When you get a cramp, stand up on a flat surface, and try walking or curling your toes to free the cramp. If the cramp does not let go and you have lasting pain in your leg, or you have swelling or redness, see your doctor as soon as you can.


Feeling faint is normal while pregnant.

  • it may be from staying in one place too long, or when you change from lying or sitting to standing up
  • when standing for a long time, bend your knees and move your legs often to increase blood flow
  • move slowly when changing places
  • sit with your head down or lie down on you left side when feeling faint
  • low blood sugar is one more rare cause for feeling light-headed or faint
  • always have breakfast; do not go too long between meals
  • carry small healthy snacks to eat, this may ease the faint feeling
  • high humidity, heat, and fluid loss can also make you feel faint
  • try not to get overheated; drink plenty of fluids when in a hot setting

If you do faint, call you doctor.


During the second trimester (14 to 27 weeks of pregnancy), a yellowish or whitish fluid called colostrum may leak from nipples; this is normal due to hormonal changes while pregnant.

Vaginal Discharge

  • Increased blood supply and hormones cause your birth canal to increase its normal secretions.
  • Due to body changes it may be easier for you to get yeast infections.
  • Since a whitish vaginal discharge is normal while pregnant, good self-care is important.
  • Keep your panties clean and dry. If needed, wear a panty liner.
  • Cotton panties or at least those with a cotton crotch are better than underpants made of man-made fiber.
  • You may bath or shower, but do not douche.
  • Report any vaginal discharge that looks yellow, greenish, thick and cheesy, or has a bad smell and you have pain, itching, or burning.

Weight Gain

  • While pregnant, a weight gain of 15 to 20 pounds is often healthy, unless your provider tell you not too.
  • If you are eating healthy food, your gain is not fat. Most of this weight gain can be lost within three to six months after you give birth.

Here's what the weight gain might include:

Baby..........................7.5 pounds

Placenta.....................1.5 pounds

Amniotic Fluid.............2.0 pounds

Breast tissue...............1.0 pounds

Womb........................2.5 pounds

Other fluids...............2.75 pounds

Other........................3.25 pounds

What to expect next during weeks 20-24:

  • Baby's Growth
  • Important Warning Signs
  • Breasts