Your developing baby: weeks 14–30

Although there are big changes happening during the first few weeks of your pregnancy, most of them are happening inside your body. Your baby bump probably isn’t showing, so most people won’t be able to tell that you’re pregnant.

Find out about your baby’s development and your changing body between weeks 14 and 30. 

Your developing baby

14–16 weeks

Your baby can swallow, suck and grip and is covered in soft, downy hair. Baby’s arms and legs are working and moving. Second-time mothers may feel baby move (sometimes called ‘quickening’) at about 16 weeks.

17–20 weeks

Your baby is getting bigger and putting on weight. Their heart is beating – much faster than yours. They are moving and kicking. First-time mothers may feel baby move (sometimes called ‘quickening’) at about 20 weeks.

21–24 weeks

By 24 weeks your baby is about 30 cm long and weighs 600 g (or a little bit bigger than a pack of butter). Their skin is thicker and less see-through (transparent) than before, but remains wrinkled because there is no fat underneath. Your baby can hear voices and is moving strongly. Your baby starts practising breathing and swallowing movements.

25–27 weeks

Your baby can recognise your voice. Baby has a pattern of wake and sleep times. Their eyes begin to open. Baby starts sucking their fingers and thumbs.

28–30 weeks

At 28 weeks your baby is over 38 cm long and is about 900 g in weight (nearly 2 packs of butter!). Your baby’s skin begins to develop a white, greasy covering called vernix, which waterproofs the skin. Baby’s movements can easily be felt at this stage. By week 30 your baby is about 43 cm long and weighs about 1.3 kg.

Your changing body

As your baby grows, so does your belly. Usually by about 20 weeks you will need to start wearing loose or stretchy clothing.

From weeks 14 to 30 you may have some or all of:

  • a growing belly
  • breast changes and some drops of colostrum (the first early milk) present
  • aches and pains (low back pain is common)
  • practice tightenings of your uterus (Braxton Hicks contractions)
  • bleeding gums
  • a metallic taste in your mouth
  • skin, hair and nail changes
  • nose bleeds, a stronger sense of smell, colds and sinus problems
  • restless legs
  • swelling in legs, feet and hands
  • vaginal changes
  • a renewed interest in sex.

See the Kidspot website to find out more.

Your mood may also change during pregnancy – this is normal because you are going through a big life change. Some days you may feel wonderful and others not so good. See Mood changes in pregnancy on the National Women’s Health website (it’s at the bottom of the page). Talk to your midwife (or specialist doctor) if you are worried about your changing body or mood. 


Related websites

Whakatipu: Te Kākano (conception to birth) – SKIP
This is a time when both māmā and our unborn pēpi need to be cared for, a time to talk about expectations and experiences with all the whānau. Te Kākano gives some practical information and some creative activities that will help to prepare whānau for the upcoming birth of pēpi.

1-40 step-by-step guide – MAMA Maternity Information Services
A weekly guide to pregnancy, including your developing baby, your changing body and some of the decisions and choices that need to be made as your pregnancy progresses.

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