17 Weeks Pregnant
This week you complete a full month of your second trimester and you are 17 weeks pregnant. By this time your body has adjusted to the hormones in your body and you are feeling comfortable with your pregnancy. Your little baby is growing each day and is working hard to master all the skills that will be needed to survive after birth. Your 17 week fetus is already 5 inches tall and weighs around 140 grams, as big as an apple! That’s your fruit of the day.
How Your Baby is Growing This Week?
Your baby at 17 weeks looks more human than it did in the earlier weeks. The head of the baby which was earlier the size of half the body is no longer so prominent; as the rest of the body has caught up in growth. At this stage the legs seem to be longer than the arms and very skinny. This will change in the weeks to come and gradually the body and limbs will become proportionate. The face and external features are well developed and they are gradually looking like the beautiful baby face of your dreams.
The primary teeth are already beginning to form inside the gums. Don’t worry about bites yet, as they will start sprouting only when the baby reaches 6 months of age. This is yet another way nature ensures safe breast feeding and as the baby grows up and gets ready for outside food (weaning), teeth come into picture to play their part!
At 17 weeks pregnant, your baby’s ears now begin to respond to loud noises. You may feel fluttering movements when you are in a noisy place like a movie theater. The loud horn of the train is bound to get a response in the form of a kick! However the movements are now weak and more like flutters or gas bubbles. In the coming weeks they will become stronger and soon your little champ will be kicking! It is a lovely feeling to feel the baby move inside your tummy.
This week fats are beginning to form in the layers beneath the baby’s skin. This layer will provide the baby with warmth and protection from jerks. The fats will constitute two third of the baby’s weight at the time of birth.
Along with the baby, the placenta is also growing and maturing each day and is now as big as the baby itself. It does the important function of providing necessary nutrients and oxygen to the baby and carries away carbon dioxide. The lungs are maturing and the baby is practicing a lot of sucking, swallowing and facial movements. The heart is now beating at a regular pace and rhythm at the rate of 140-160 beats per minute.
Changes in Your Body at 17 Weeks Pregnant
You are visibly pregnant and now have a 17 weeks pregnant belly. It is the time of your pregnancy where you are free from the nausea and vomiting of the early pregnancy months. Bathroom trips are also now comparatively low. One thing that is growing steadily is your belly and your appetite. Yes, you may feel hungry and also may notice that you are beginning to eat bigger portions. The reason is very obvious, your growing baby who is getting bigger and stronger everyday needs the extra nutrition. This is the time you need to be very careful about what you are eating. You should be aware that normal weight gain during this period is somewhere between 5-10 pounds. So, it is all about making healthy choices and eating soups and salads rather than chips and pizza to satisfy a hunger pang. The diet you take has to be balanced to ensure the baby gets all nutrition. Always remember that healthy mothers have healthy babies.
Another change you may be noticing is that your eyes are drier and itchy at times. You will also be more sensitive to allergens and catch cold easily. Knowing what is normal and what is not will help you tackle the symptoms without getting very anxious. It’s all a part of this game!
As each week goes by, the uterus grows into the abdominal cavity, pushing the organs upwards. If you are wondering how big is a uterus; it was the size of your fist when your pregnancy began. Now it has grown out of the pelvic cavity and you can feel the top of the uterus if you palpate your lower abdomen. By the end of the pregnancy, the uterus will have stretched to its maximum capacity making it paper thin.
During this trimester many ladies report to have vivid dreams. It’s not very uncommon. The exact reason is not known, enjoy them and do not worry.
Week 17 Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
These are some of the symptoms you will experience at 17 weeks. The early symptoms of pregnancy are replaced by newer ones. But remember the intensity of the symptoms will vary and differ in each pregnancy as every lady and also every pregnancy is unique.
- Increasing appetite
- Feeling hungry more often
- Heartburn and acidity
- Round ligament pains
- Engorgement of breasts
- Swollen gums
- More prone to allergens
- Itching over the skin of abdomen
- Dryness of the eyes
- Visible bluish veins on breasts and abdomen
- Steady weight gain
- Increased sweating due to increased blood volume
- Appearance of stretch marks on the abdomen.
- Swelling or edema of feet
- Lustrous hair and fast growing nails
- Protruding belly button
- Visible baby bump
- Back and joint pains
- Sciatic nerve pain
- Darkening of acne or moles all over the body
- Muscle cramps
- Vivid and strange dreams
As the abdomen grows, the skin over it stretches and you will begin to notice stretch marks appearing. These will widen and increase as the pregnancy advances. You may check with your doctor and use stretch mark creams or cocoa butter which have been found effective in reducing the marks.
The Sciatic nerve is located below the uterus. If it gets compressed, it leads to severe pain beginning from the back of the hip to the feet. This is called sciatica. If you notice a similar pain, see your doctor immediately.
Swelling of feet occurs commonly due to increase in blood pressure. If you have a history of high blood pressure in your previous pregnancies, careful monitoring of the blood pressure needs to be done.
Diagnostic Tests and Ultrasound Results in Week 17 of Pregnancy
This week your ultrasound will be similar to that of the previous week. The baby appears taller and enjoying his/her acrobatic moves inside you . The fetal heart rate will be measured. It will be 140-160 beats per minute.
The placenta, blood supply and cervix will also be checked. The parameters for growth like the CRL and weight will be seen to assess the interval growth.
By pregnancy week 17, major structural abnormalities can be detected in an ultrasound. In case of any positive finding or a family history, you will be advised to go for chromosomal testing.
Amniocentesis if indicated will be carried out between 15-18 weeks of pregnancy.
If you are diabetic or hypertensive, regular blood tests like HbA1c, blood sugars and creatinine will be done to ensure that they are under control.
Pregnancy Health Tips
- Your belly is causing a change in your center of gravity so you may feel unsteady. Wear flat, covered shoes and avoid jerks.
- Include omega 3 in your diet as it is essential for baby’s brain growth.
- Keep a record of your pregnancy week by week pictures. Labels with number of weeks can be added to them in various creative ways. It will be a lovely keepsake.
- Do not take any over the counter medications without your doctor’s advice.
- If you notice any skin rashes all over the body, talk to your doctor. Mild skin troubles like dryness or stretch marks are normal at this time.
- If you are troubled by dry eyes, avoid wearing contact lenses for a long duration and rinse the eyes with cold water to keep clean.
- Avoid jerky sudden movements and overstretching. Try to change your position with support only.
- Have small frequent meals. They will help to avoid hunger pangs and also prevent acidity and heartburn.
- Practice pelvic floor exercises and yoga postures regularly. They will help you feel fresh and active!