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17 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

Your little one has been working on two basic reflexes for a few weeks: sucking and swallowing. By the time your baby is born, he or she will 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.

This week, your little one starts to plump up a bit with increased body fat. The fat, also called adipose tissue, helps to keep your baby warm and is important for metabolism since it’s a great source of energy. The heart keeps everything going by pumping about 100 pints of blood a day.

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How Big Is Your Baby at Seventeen Weeks?

Your baby is the size of a pear! At this stage, your baby might measure up to 6.8 inches and weigh nearly 5 ounces.

pregnancy week 17 fetus

Mom’s Body at 17 Weeks Pregnant

Your belly is probably the most prominent part of your anatomy – and from now on you'll be happiest in comfortable clothing that doesn’t pinch or bind anywhere.

There’s good news in the fashion department: If you're ready to show off your bump, it's easy to find maternity clothes that are fun and flattering. Wearing them out may be your first public announcement that you’re expecting, so enjoy the attention!

17 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

  • Trouble With Hemorrhoids – It’s true…they’re a pain in the you know what! 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’ve have had hemorrhoids in a previous pregnancy, you’re likely to get them again. The best prevention strategy? A high-fiber diet, plenty of water, and regular exercise.
  • Skin Feels Itchy and Sensitive – The skin on your belly and breasts is getting thinner, which can lead to itching and stretch marks. Drink lots of water to keep your skin hydrated, and apply a rich moisturizer all over. These steps may not be able to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, but they can help keep them to a minimum.
  • Gastric Distress – By 17 weeks, morning sickness should be a thing of the past for most moms-to-be, but you might be experiencing serious heartburn and indigestion. Eat small meals and avoid trigger foods to help keep discomfort at bay. Bloated tummies are sometimes caused by fizzy drinks or simply by swallowing air when you’re eating. Try to eat slowly and drink non-carbonated beverages to combat this problem.
  • Feeling Hungry – It’s normal to feel hungrier than usual now, especially if you had severe morning sickness and lost a little weight during your first trimester. But don’t worry too much if you have no appetite! This too, is normal. Try to eat healthy food even if you don’t feel much like it.
  • Mild Hip Pain – 17 weeks can sometimes find you struggling with hip pain, though this discomfort might be more likely to strike during the third trimester. There are a few reasons hip pain may occur – these include normal changes to the pelvis; round ligament pain that extends around the hip, abdomen, and groin area; and pressure on your sciatic nerves, which is usually felt as tingling or a numb sensation throughout the hips, thighs, and buttocks, sometimes traveling further down the legs.
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17 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • This week you might be thinking about gender prediction. It’s sometimes possible to see whether your baby is a boy or a girl on an ultrasound, and gender prediction tends to happen during the ultrasound that often takes place during the 18th to 20th week of pregnancy. Your little one may or may not cooperate; position is one factor that can affect accuracy.
  • Have you looked into childbirth classes yet? You’re getting closer and closer to the halfway mark, so consider doing this if you haven’t already.
  • Store high heels for after your baby has been born. Even if you’re feeling OK, it’s very easy to lose your balance as your center of gravity shifts – and the extra weight you’re carrying can make those heels even harder on your feet and ankles. Avoid a fall and stay comfy by choosing flats and other low-heeled footwear.

17 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • Call your doctor right away for heavy bleeding or pain. Cramping should always be reported, even if you believe you're simply feeling round ligament pain. Anything out of the ordinary may be cause for concern now.
  • Let your doctor know if you’re experiencing severe dizzy spells. While it’s normal to have some dizziness at this point, the sensation shouldn’t be severe, nor should it last long.
  • A word about amnio. If you undergo amniocentesis, you'll probably have this test done between 15 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, as they are at a higher risk for having a baby with a genetic disorder like Down syndrome. Amnio may also be a logical next step if your MSAFP test came back positive. Speak to your healthcare provider about the pros and cons.
  • Lower back and hip pain - Pain in these areas could be due to sciatica, a condition in which the growing uterus exerts pressure on the sciatic nerve. Tell your provider the discomfort so that he or she can rule out problems. Additionally, your doctor may be able to recommend and demonstrate some exercises for relieving the pain that you’re feeling.

17 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

Do some research on child care providers

Eat a high-fiber diet and drink plenty of water to help prevent hemorrhoids

Start your baby name list, if you haven't already

Sign up for even more weekly pregnancy tips.

17 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

Do some research on child care providers

Eat a high-fiber diet and drink plenty of water to help prevent hemorrhoids

Start your baby name list, if you haven't already

Sign up to get weekly pregnancy tips