Your Baby at 17 Weeks Pregnant
Growth spurt. This week, your little one starts to plump up a bit. The fat, also called adipose tissue, helps keep your baby warm. Fat tissue is also important for metabolism, since it's a great source of energy. Your fetus might measure up to 6.8 inches and weighs nearly 5 ounces.
Good reactions. Your little one has been working on two basic reflexes for a few weeks: sucking and swallowing. By the time your baby is born, she'll have nearly all the reflexes that you do.
Girl or boy? If you're going to have a girl, a special set of tissues is developing into the uterus and vagina. If a boy is in your future, these same tissues have started down a different path: The penis has formed and the prostate is beginning to take shape. The newly formed testosterone-secreting cells are key in these developments.
Your Pregnancy at 17 Weeks
Wardrobe S.O.S. Gone are the shapeless shifts and cutesy pastels of the past. Now you can find fashionable, high-quality maternity clothes that are fun and flattering. Wearing them may be your first public announcement that you're pregnant, so enjoy the attention!
A word about amnio. If you undergo amniocentesis, you'll probably have this test done between 14 and 20 weeks. Amnio is the single most accurate method of identifying many birth defects, but it's not a test that every expectant mom should have. It is usually offered to pregnant women over the age of 35, since they're at a higher risk for having a baby with a genetic disorder like Down's Syndrome. It may also be a logical next step if your AFP test came back positive. Speak to your provider about the pros and cons.
A pain in the... Hemorrhoids are essentially veins in the rectum that have become over-dilated due to increased blood volume and flow in the pelvic area. If you're prone to varicose veins or if you had hemorrhoids during a previous pregnancy, you're more likely to get them again. The best prevention strategy? A high-fiber diet, plenty of water, and regular exercise.