Baby development at 17 weeks pregnant
Your little one has really made progress over the past 17 weeks. Baby is getting bigger — so big that you might be feeling their kicks and flips! These will feel kind of like little flutters.
Your 17-week-old baby now measures 5 inches long (127 millimeters). That’s about the size of a pear. You may be able to feel the baby’s movements if you pay close attention.
By week 17, the baby's cartilage has turned almost completely to bone, which will continue to harden and fuse during the rest of your pregnancy. Baby is also practicing important skills to prepare for life outside the womb. Sucking and swallowing start at around 17 weeks, preparing babies for nursing. Some babies even begin to suck their thumbs inside the womb.
The heart, which you have most likely heard at one of your prenatal visits, is now regulated by the brain and beats quickly at 140 to 150 beats per minute.
Week 17 pregnant belly
By this point, friends and family (and sometimes even strangers!) may start wanting to reach out and touch your belly. Be sure to speak up and let people know if you’re okay with belly-touching. As your baby gets larger, you may find it more difficult to get comfortable while you sleep. Some women are surprised to find they now snore. Snoring is caused by a combination of pregnancy hormones and crowding in your body.
Common pregnancy symptoms at 17 weeks
Now that you’re in your second trimester and 17 weeks pregnant, you might find that not all pregnancy side effects are negative. You’re glowing, you may notice a boost in your cleavage, and, if your bump is showing, people may be opening doors for you and offering to lend a hand.
- Braxton Hicks: It may feel a little early, but believe it or not, your body is already practicing for labor. You may feel an occasional tightening in your belly, which is known as a Braxton Hicks contraction. These irregular contractions are nothing to worry about and don’t hurt. If you notice an increase in Braxton Hicks contractions or experience them regularly, call your health care provider.
- Increased appetite: Your body is working hard to create a human! You may notice an uptick in your appetite during the second trimester; your body is taking cues from the growing baby. Remember to eat small, frequent meals. You only need around 300 extra calories per day to fuel baby’s growth.
- Itchy boobs and belly: As your baby and belly grow, your skin is stretching thinner. This makes it more sensitive. Find a good cream to relieve the itch and make sure you have soft, nonirritating fabrics in your maternity wardrobe.
- Stretch marks: Your stretching and thinning skin may become susceptible to stretch marks. Not all women end up with stretch marks, though. To stave off stretch marks, drink plenty of water and consider using a rich cocoa butter or other stretch mark cream to keep your skin nourished.
- Backaches: Backaches are a common pregnancy symptom that may continue throughout the entire pregnancy. If you catch yourself slouching or experiencing pain in your lower back, remember to stand up straight and keep your pelvis tucked. Back supports, firm mattresses and a good desk chair are all items that can help alleviate back pain
- Dizziness: Your dizziness may be attributed to an increase in progesterone, blood flow, blood volume or low blood sugar. This is common during pregnancy.
- Constipation: As your body releases the hormone relaxin, your body may experience frequent constipation. Upping your intake of fiber and fluids can help keep this symptom at bay.
Pregnancy checklist at 17 weeks pregnant
Between 16 and 20 weeks of pregnancy, you will be offered the quad screen test, which screens for genetic and spinal cord abnormalities. You may also be offered other optional diagnostics tests like amniocentesis, CVS or cordocentesis. You will also likely have an ultrasound to view the baby’s organs and measure growth of the placenta.
- Reach out to currently or previously pregnant friends. Chatting with other women who have been or are going through the same experience can be therapeutic. Make time to connect with other moms or moms-to-be.
- Research additional screening. Some doctors will recommend additional screening based on the mother, the baby’s development and other factors. If you have been offered additional screening, now is the time to do your research.
- Join an expectant mothers group. Many hospitals and health care providers offer support services and provide networking opportunities with other moms-to-be. Check with your health care provider to see if they provide facilitation services to connect expectant mothers.
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