17th Week Pregnancy - Symptoms, Baby Development, Tips And Body Changes

17th Week Pregnancy

You must be feeling terrible about the fact that you are the only one who is sweating it out with the pregnancy. Well, here is some good news for you. You are not alone; your baby will be sweating it out as well. Yes, the highlight of 17th week of pregnancy is that her sweat glands have developed and are fully functional.

As you slowly gain your emotional balance, you will start to feel a bit off balance physically. Even though the baby in your tummy is yet too small, your growing belly has expanded enough to affect your center of gravity. Watch your step and be safe. A fall during your 17th week pregnancy can be life threatening to you as well as your baby.

Changes in Your Body:

Your elusive bump is beginning to show and you love it. Friends and family are so curious that they want to feel your bump as well. Know that irrespective of the changes, this is your body. You have the right to decide as to who should feel your bump and who should not.

Starting from week 16 you may gain about a pound a week until week 20. You can count on gaining nearly 4-6 pounds during this time span. With the increasing growth spurts of your baby, your bones, muscles, and joints begin to change in order to accommodate your growing baby along with your physical changes. This may lead to cramps and swelling in your legs, appearance of varicose veins and backaches.

Changes in Skin:

The stretch marks may not be far away now, but itching and Linea negra – a dark line which extends from your belly button to your pubic area- may have already arrived. The stretching of the skin on your breasts and abdomen may cause the itchiness which could be irritating but not harmful in anyway. Take comfort in the fact that this too, shall pass.

Growing Uterus:

Your uterus is changing its shape as well. It has now filled up the pelvic region and pushes against your intestines. This may make them shift inside your abdomen. The top of your uterus is now beginning to appear more rounded, and it is growing in length in addition. Enjoy the bump now, for soon your belly will be reaching uncomfortable proportions and you may not want to look at it because it makes you anxious about on-coming labor, contractions and the D-day. The growing uterus may change your gait, leading to backaches and other physical discomforts.
Inside your uterus, the placenta is almost an inch thickness and it tirelessly continues to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your baby in addition to eliminating waste.

Maternity Wear:

When you are 17 weeks pregnant, you may want to consider wearing looser, more comfortable clothing which does not hurt your abdomen in any way. It is also time to put away all those stilettos and high heels, because they do not help in any way to maintain your balance or control the pain in your legs. Flats and ballerinas are your friends for now.

[ Read: Pregnancy Clothes ]

Sciatic Nerve Pain:

Sciatic nerve pain is another discomfort you may have experience during your 17 weeks of pregnancy. It comes as a periodic pain in your legs. The largest nerve in your body is the sciatic nerve which provides sensory and motor function to the lower part of the body. This nerve runs from under your legs before reaching your legs. The developing baby and growing uterus will put pressure on the nerve, causing you to feel the pain in your legs.

Dizziness:

It is quite natural for you to feel a bit dizzy occasionally. It is not easy for your body to adjust to the changes it has been undergoing past few months. Try to change the position of your body slowly. Perform normal reflexes like standing, sitting or lying down slowly, without any sudden movements.

As Hungry As a Bear:

Your appetite must have returned with vengeance after the queasy period of morning sickness. Do not feel guilty about emptying your fridge or picking food from your partner’s plate too often. Blame it on your baby who is going through a growth spurt, thereby signaling you to eat more.

Remember, your baby is too small and cannot decide between right and wrong; but, you can. Take the precautionary measures for excessive weight gain with full caution. There is no easy way out here. Do not eat for two, or you may have your doubled up with overeating that is of no use to baby. Food is unforgiving, even when you are pregnant. Eat healthy and avoid food that will propel unnecessary fat build up in your body.

Baby’s Touch:

If you have not yet felt the quickening or fluttering of the baby in your tummy, watch out for it. You will feel it before you reach week 20. Some babies are more active during the day, whereas others like to kick around as soon as you decide to rest. This may as well be an indication of what is in store for the future. The baby’s movement and kick will make you realize that she is an independent individual who has a mind of her own. This moment can bring out mixed emotional feelings in you. Write down in detail how you felt when you first felt the baby move in your abdomen, so that she can read and enjoy after she is grown up. Even if your baby is going to be a boy, he will love to read about your feelings of his first touch. It will tell your baby how much he/she means to you.

Colostrums:

Your breast are getting ready for lactation and producing a thick, yellowish fluid which may at times leak from your nipples. You are now ready to nurse your baby, though the actual nursing has to wait for few more months.

Signs and Symptoms:

17 weeks pregnant symptoms and signs will be in form of some discomfort for you due to the physical changes taking place in your body. Your early pregnancy symptoms may have completely subsided by now. Most of the signs and symptoms in this week will be related to growing baby and your bump.

You may have to deal with the following:

  •  Constipation
  •  Haemorrhoids
  •  Bloating and gas
  •  Heartburn
  •  Pain in the ligaments which appear as bands on either side of your uterus
  •  Cramps in your legs
  •  Backache
  •  Dizziness
  •  Growing bump
  •  Enlarged breasts
  •  Changes in skin
  •  Huge appetite

[ Read: 18 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms ]

Changes in Your Baby:

Your baby is on a growing spree during this week and would continue to do so until you reach the half way milestone of your pregnancy. She has almost reached the size of a large orange and measures 4 ½ -5 ½ inches in length, but she is not there yet.

This is the time when the layer of brown fat begins to develop under her skin. The fat will keep your baby warm after she comes out from your warm, cosy womb into the cold world outside. It also provides energy to your baby. She is not completely dependent on lanugo for protecting her skin anymore.

Vernix:

Vernix Caseosa, simply called vernix starts to develop at the end of week 17. Vernix is a cheese-like white substance coating found on the skin of the new born babies. Studies have proven some amazing facts about vernix; hence, it is now said that babies should not be bathed immediately after birth. Apart from its antibacterial properties, vernix is a highly moisturizing agent which has attracted the attention of cosmetic industry as well. It mainly constitutes various antimicrobial properties, which helps protect your new born baby against a wide variety of infections.

Some notable changes in your baby during 17 week pregnancy are:

  • Your baby’s skeleton is changing from soft cartilage to a strong bone. She can easily move her joints now.
  •  A protective substance called myelin develops and begins to wrap around the spinal cord of your baby.
  •  The umbilical cord which is her lifeline to the placenta is growing stronger and thicker with each passing day.
  •  The air passages in the respiratory system of your baby have completed their branching. Your baby’s lungs will soon be ready to take in oxygen.
  •  Her head, limbs and body are now fuller than before.
  •  Her movement inside your uterus has increased as well. If you are accustomed to the fluttering, you will be enjoying the special moments with your baby.
  •  She is opening and closing her mouth to breathe. The practice of drills to gain skills of respiration and sucking will continue.
  •  Her heartbeats are strong and steady and they can be easily picked during an ultrasound scan.
  •  Though she is protected inside your womb, it must be so noisy in there for her now. She can hear your voice, your heartbeats, the rumbling of your tummy when you are hungry or the digestion taking place inside your abdomen. It is amazing to note that loud noises can startle your baby and soothing sound of your voice can calm her down while still inside.

It is said that the baby can feel the touch of her mother even as early as this stage. Try singing lullabies to her while you gently rub your tummy in slow, soothing circular motions.

Size of Your Baby:

As you enter week 17 of your gestation period, your baby weights around 140 gm (5 ounces approx) and measures 12-14 cm in length. She could comfortably fit in the cup of your palm if you could hold her. She has come a long way from being a berry to an apple now, the apple of your eye.

Care and Tips for 17 Week Pregnancy:

One of the fun activities you can do now is to buy a stethoscope for yourself. With the help of stethoscope you and your partner can enjoy the sound of her heartbeats which is quite re-assuring for parents. Believe it or not, you will never get enough of her sound or touch during those 6 months.

[ Track Your Baby’s Growth: Pregnancy Due Date Calendar ]

Tackling Constipation Head-On:

Take care of constipation, before it gets out of hand. Constipation can lead to fissures and haemorrhoids during your 17th week of pregnancy. Changes in hormone levels, the iron supplement you take during your pregnancy, lack of physical exercise, growing uterus and lack of fiber in your diet may all contribute to constipation. You can follow certain tips to tackle the problem:

  • Keep yourself well hydrated with at least 1 ½ -2 liters of fluids every day. Plain water is not as plain as it appears to be. Take plenty of it.
  • Include enough fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables in your diet. Fiber content of your diet should be increased naturally.
  • Do not skip your walks or exercises. Besides keeping yourself fit and healthy, it will fight your constipation in a great way.
  • Try to establish a pattern of emptying your bowels at a regular time, preferably in the morning. But, do not strain yourself trying to force it. Pushing is not healthy for you, especially during your pregnancy.
  • If nothing works, consult your doctor who may prescribe safe laxatives or stool softeners for you.
  • If you take care of your constipation, the problems of haemorrhoids and gas will also be taken care of.

[ Read: 4th Month of pregnancy diet ]

Tips for Dad to Be:

If you and your partner are planning on a holiday to spend some time together all alone (which is going to change with the arrival of your baby), then this is the perfect time to do it. Your partner is free from her early pregnancy symptoms and she is not as big that she does not want to have a nice time with you. This is called the honeymoon period of pregnancy for a good reason. May be you should go on a second honeymoon before your baby becomes the center of your universe.

Footnote for the Mother to Be:

Take care of your diet and exercise regularly. Keep communicating with your baby so that you can develop a special bond with her, even before she is in your arms. Be safe and keep your baby safe.

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  • anisha

    This is so amazing thank you for sharing…im 17 weeks now and i have been having problems with constipation and frequent headaches….I tried everything and it didn’t work…can u plz suggest me how to avoid this discomfort…

  • trisha

    Hi..Thank you so much for mentioning care and tips for 17 week pregnancy. i have experienced constipation problem started in initial days of 17th week and still suffering from it. Am really glad after reading these tips to tackle the problem. Hope to see more.