Approaching the halfway mark of pregnancy, you might be one of the lucky few to experience an entirely blissful second trimester. However, it’s common for women to develop various symptoms as their bodies and babies grow. Behind on your readings? Skip back to week 16 for a full recap of your 16-week-old fetus!
This week, your little one gains some meat on their bones as fat tissue begins forming. The placenta and umbilical cord extend to meet your baby’s growing nutritional demands.
You might also gain some weight or recover the kilograms you lost during a difficult trimester one.
Although you might not like it, your body weight inevitably increases as your healthy baby grows.
If you’ve made it this far, stay with us as we continue to provide informative, week-by-week pregnancy guides. This week, we’ve included an FAQ section that answers all your week 17 pregnancy questions and beyond!
Here’s what to expect this week.
At a Glance: Week Seventeen of Pregnancy
- Did you know that your baby’s birth weight mainly consists of fat? In fact, fat begins to accumulate this week, with some fat tissue filling in this week.
- Your baby’s the size of a single potato, measuring approximately 13.5 centimetres and weighing 170 grams.
- Your own body weight increases weekly now, but don’t let the number on the scale affect you. Eating well and exercising regularly will help you to avoid dramatic and uncontrolled weight gain.
- You might have aches and pains or experience some dizziness seventeen weeks pregnant. Stick around as we discuss other new symptoms that may arise later.
- Top self-care tips for this week: set boundaries with curious tummy-touchers, avoid sleeping on your back, ditch high heels, and prevent fainting spells with one simple trick.
Week Seventeen of Pregnancy Overview
This week, some fat tissue might appear in your baby’s face, neck, shoulders, arms, back and breast area. These fatty layers keep your baby warm when they’re born while fulfilling other essential functions.
Your baby-to-be is practising sucking and other reflexes they’ll need for breastfeeding later on.
The placenta and the umbilical cord extend to keep up with nutrients and oxygen demands. Over pregnancy, the placenta, your baby’s lifeline, grows in tandem with your baby. A fully formed placenta weighs an impressive 500 grams.
Remarkably, your baby’s brain communicates with the heart to regulate its fluttering heartbeat, which beats at 150 reps per minute!
Mothers might experience new and old pregnancy symptoms and begin to sport a small bump. While bothersome, these symptoms aren’t as all-consuming as morning sickness. For any worrying or strange changes, consult your doctor for medical advice or reassurance.
In week 16, we described quickening – your baby’s first fetal movements. These light motions can be hard to identify during early pregnancy, so don’t be disheartened if you miss them. Rest assured, fetal kicks become more pronounced over time!
Baby Size And Latest Developments for Week Seventeen of Pregnancy
At 13.5 cm and weighing under 200 grams, your little ‘potato’ is steadily growing.
Week seventeen of pregnancy features these latest developments.
- Fat tissue starts forming in different body areas. Eventually, fine fetal body hair known as lanugo sheds as more fat develops.
- As previously mentioned, the placenta and umbilical cord extend and thicken, delivering food, oxygen and other supplies to your baby.
- Your baby is practising sucking movements to prepare for nursing, bottle feeding, and dummies. These reflexes take weeks to mature properly.
- Your baby in utero has an official identity – fingerprints that formed weeks ago are rapidly developing!
- Their head remains on the big side, but their torso, legs and arms are finally catching up.
- A white substance called vernix caseosa, produced by the sebaceous glands, forms and protects your baby’s skin against slightly acidic amniotic fluids. While most of it falls away over time, some vernix might appear on newborn skin post-birth. Because of its protective qualities and moisturising effects, some healthcare providers might delay a baby’s first bath.
Because every pregnancy is unique, the above description generalises fetal development. Variations in the timing of milestones can occur.
Body Changes For Week Seventeen of Pregnancy
By week seventeen, the golden moments of the second trimester might gradually fade. Thankfully, however, you won’t return to a sickly and exhausted state.
Some pregnancy symptoms, however, are on the rise, ranging from unpleasant to mildly inconvenient or disruptive.
It’s important to note that all pregnancies are unique. The timing and experiences of pregnancy symptoms may vary.
Even if you’ve never snored in your life, weight gain, hormones and nasal congestion might result in some noisy nights. Waking up with a sore throat and next to a sleep-deprived partner are signs that you’ve been ‘chopping wood’, so to speak.
We include ways to reduce snoring and help your spouse sleep better, like suggesting they sleep on the couch (wink wink).
2. Bodily Secretions
Although you’re a glowing, pregnant goddess, body secretions might make you feel less than glamorous.
From sweat and blood to mucous and vaginal discharge, liquids might ooze and pour out of you.
Pregnant women often produce more bodily fluid, like sweat, nasal fluids and vaginal discharge, so pack emergency tissues, panty liners and spare clothes. Conversely, fluid-producing organs, like your eyes, dry up and feel scratchy and uncomfortable. In any case, drops should help lubricate the eyes.
3. Itchy Breasts
Breasts often itch during pregnancy because the skin grows and stretches insanely fast. As satisfying as it is, you can only damage your boobs by scratching. Fortunately, you can relieve breast itchiness in other effective ways.
Unfortunately, dizziness is a common second-trimester symptom, often attributed to a number of factors. Hormones are the primary cause of fainting spells, which relax and widen blood vessels so that enough blood flows to the growing fetus. It benefits your baby but can reduce the mother’s blood supply. Fainting occurs your blood pressure drops, with your brain receiving less blood.
Another cause is anaemia, a serious medical condition arising from a low red cell count. Iron deficiency anaemia may affect women during pregnancy, causing symptoms like dizziness and fatigue.
Finally, passing out could indicate low blood sugar, signalling you need to eat or simply aren’t eating enough.
5. Back Pain
Many associate back pain with late pregnancy when there’s a prominent bump to boast, but it can occur as early as week seventeen.
Various factors cause this stress. One such factor is the production of the hormone relaxin, which stretches and softens your ligaments to prepare for birth. While beneficial, this added elasticity leads to back discomfort sometimes.
Another is your body’s centre of gravity shifting forward as the uterus expands, affecting your posture and straining your back muscles.
You can relieve back pain by improving your posture through massage, getting a back belt for support, and more. Learn more in the next section.
Disclaimer note: these are some common pregnancy symptoms, but they’re not the only ones. You might also observe nosebleeds, headaches, stretchmarks, round ligament pain, heartburn, greasy skin, acne breakouts, and more. The list is quite exhaustive and unique to each pregnancy!
Week Seventeen of Pregnancy Tips and Tricks
This week, we’ve included some helpful self-care tips to nip developing pregnancy symptoms in the bud.
1. Stay Fit
Even as your body changes and you experience uncomfortable, new symptoms, continuing with regular exercise is crucial.
Consistent workouts can help you maintain an ideal pregnancy weight and provide various health benefits. In general, you don’t need to stop moving your body as long as you are comfortable.
However, be mindful of falling and dizzy spells during physical activity, and discontinue workouts if you feel too ill or are in considerable pain.
2. Keep Healthy and Control Your Portions
After a food-deprived first trimester, many women experience much-improved appetites over the second. And while it’s a relief to crave food again, be mindful about what you eat and how much.
You’ll gain more weight this trimester than last, which is essential but requires careful consideration for your health.
Many women associate pregnancy with guilt-free eating, believing the misconception they’re eating for two. It’s OK to give in to occasional temptations, but overeating or making poor food choices can lead to adverse pregnancy symptoms (hello, heartburn) and serious health complications.
So, how many extra calories should you consume each day? While we’re not health experts, pregnant women’s average daily calorie count is approximately 2200 calories, roughly 350 more than the standard pre-pregnancy diet.
If you’re fatigued, dizzy or don’t feel your best, look at your diet. Ensure you eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, dairy, and legumes. Take your prenatal pills – they provide the vitamins and minerals missing from your drinks and meals.
3. Sore Eyes Remedies
If you’re struggling with sore and dry eyes, there are a few things you can try. Take eye drops (ones that won’t impact the baby), improve your diet, take prenatal vitamins or use an air humidifier for relief.
4. Stopping Snoring
Have you never snored before or noticed it’s gotten worse? Multiple factors, namely weight gain, hormonal changes, or being genetically predisposed, could be at play.
Is it a sign of something serious? While snoring is common among pregnant women due to the above factors, you can’t rule out underlying health problems. Err on the side of caution by having your snoring checked by your GP.
If snoring is becoming a problem in the bedroom, try the following.
- Being on your back might contribute to snoring – sleeping on your side could make a difference. You might want to change sleep positions, anyway, because it’s more comfortable to do so when you’re 17 weeks pregnant.
- Propping yourself with pillows could help clear obstructed airways to reduce snoring.
- Attaching nasal dilator strips to your nose can open your nasal passages, reducing snoring and helping you achieve better sleep.
4. Back Pain Remedies
Back pain requires careful management and care.
Improving your posture is one surefire way of relieving back pain. Sitting upright, with your chest up and shoulders down and relaxed, might ease some discomfort. Additionally, consider an ergonomic office chair with ample back support if you work a desk job that involves prolonged sitting. Taking breaks and stretching regularly might also prove effective.
If you haven’t already, retire your high heels. Pregnancy can throw off your balance, increasing the risk of tumbling while strutting about in uncomfortable nine-inch stilettos. Flat shoes with a hurting back can also worsen your pain, so opt for kicks that provide arch support.
Although there isn’t extensive evidence showing their effectiveness, some doctors or chiropractors might recommend belly belts or bands. These accessories might reduce aches and pains, encourage better posture, make exercising easier and more comfortable and lower the risk of falls by improving your balance.
5. Buy Period Undies
Dealing with vaginal discharge can be a huge pain. If you’re tired of constantly changing panty liners, consider period undies. Offering protection and leakage against discharge and various fluids, Period undies have a wide array of uses beyond managing periods. They’re also highly comfortable, breathable, and environmentally friendly, to boot.
Easy to wash and highly affordable for the user, period undies are a practical solution for urinary incontinence, increased vaginal discharge or postpartum bleeding.
6. Take Cold Showers
Although you might like nothing better than washing the day off with a hot shower, the benefits of taking a cold one are tenfold.
Cool water can help cool you off and ease your back troubles. In addition, plunging into a cool pool is energising and can have an anti-depressant effect if you’re sluggish, lethargic or experiencing low moods during pregnancy.
7. Preventing Fainting
Fainting or feeling faint or dizzy can be frightening. Prevent fainting spells by avoiding rapid position changes, as fast movement might cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, and standing for long periods.
Other simple tips include staying away from hot showers, eating regularly and healthily, and maintaining hydration.
If you’re about to faint, find a safe space to lie down and put your feet in the air or sit with your head between your knees. If you fall while fainting, urgently seek medical care.
8. Responding to Tummy Touchers
There will be people, sometimes even strangers, wanting to touch and feel your pregnant belly for kicks. Remember that setting boundaries is okay, as it’s your body and not public property. Politely let people know to ask your permission before touching, or inform them you don’t want your belly touched. Don’t be concerned about being rude; you might feel discomfort about your belly being touched or consider it an overly intimate gesture.
If you don’t mind and like the attention, then have at it.
Do I need an Ultrasound for Week 17 of Pregnancy?
Another important and exciting date awaits: your second prenatal ultrasound and appointment!
Known as the anomaly of anatomy scan, this ultrasound assesses your baby’s health and development in great detail. Using visuals from the ultrasound, the sonographer will examine several organs and body parts, ensuring that fetal development is progressing as expected. In addition, the umbilical cord, placenta, and amniotic fluid levels are checked for problems.
You might get to learn the sex of your baby if your little one isn’t feeling camera-shy. Sometimes, babies hide or cross their legs, making it impossible to get a clear picture of whether you’re having a little boy or girl!
Now that you know what second-trimester ultrasounds are for, what will your baby look like? More like a baby than earlier scans, which showed a blurry bundle of cells on the screen. You might glimpse the tiny head, nose, eyes and adorable little legs. This ultrasound might provide a detailed look at your child, but the 2D images you take home may look fuzzy and reveal less than you expected. Because of this, some parents-to-be have 3D or even 4D scans for more clear and detailed visuals of their future child. Curious about their pros and cons and whether you should have one? Read all about 3D scans here.
FAQ: Week 17 of Pregnancy
All your pregnancy questions about week 17 answered.
1.) How Long Will I Be Pregnant?
You’re four months in, with five months to go, but there’s a catch. Most doctors track pregnancy by weeks, not months; technically speaking, pregnancy is closer to ten months than nine. By that measure, pregnancy is more digestible if broken down into weeks.
2.) How Big Is My Baby?
Your baby is the size of a potato, turnip or granadilla and extends across your hand. Although sources may vary, your baby’s approximately 13.5 cm. You’ll find out your baby’s exact measurements this week if you have your scan.
3.) How Much Does My Baby Weigh?
Your baby’s roughly 170 grams, less than a cup of sugar.
4.) How Much Should I Exercise in a Week?
Regular exercise supports a healthy pregnancy. The recommended amount of weekly exercise time is roughly 150 minutes or two-and-a-half hours.
5.) What Are the Most Common Pregnancy Symptoms at 17 Weeks?
Pregnancy symptoms vary between people, but common ones include aches and pains, dizziness, bodily secretions and more.
6.) Will I Feel My Baby This Week?
It’s possible. Quickening, feeling your baby’s first movements, happens from week 18 onwards. It feels like tiny flutters or bubbles.
7.) What Is My Baby Doing This Week?
Your baby is moving around and practising his reflexes. He’s also sleeping a lot, which is necessary for brain and body development.
8.) What Are Some Major Developments in the Womb This Week?
Your skinny baby accumulates a bit of fat, which protects and keeps them warm. The placenta and umbilical cord grow to meet your baby’s nutritional needs.
Fun Facts for Week Seventeen of Pregnancy
- Do you feel sweatier than ever? Caused by the increased blood volume in your body, perspiring is a less-than-ideal symptom of pregnancy that keeps your expanding body cooler.
- Feel like you’re getting hurt all the time? You’re not becoming more accidental, but your body is more injury-prone now. The hormone relaxin gets your body ready for birth by smoothing ligaments. While a good and necessary thing, your looser, more relaxed ligaments are less stable. Be careful about tripping and falling!
Week Seventeen of Pregnancy Checklist
- Decide (together) whether you want to find out the sex in your upcoming ultrasound.
- Prioritise comfort this week with period undies, decent shoes and back belts!
- Follow a balanced diet, but make sure it’s flavoursome and delicious!
- It’s safe to exercise – are you keeping active? If not, start soon!
- Is snoring affecting your life? We’ve got some solutions to reduce snoring for you and your partner.
- Nearly at the end of week 17? Our week 18 article comes soon!