17 Weeks Pregnant

Your baby is the size of a


At 17 weeks pregnant, you’re well into your second trimester and many big changes and developments are happening right now and in the coming weeks. Keep reading to find out more about your baby’s growth and those little movements you may start to feel, along with insights on symptoms and helpful tips for you at 17 weeks pregnant.

Highlights at 17 Weeks Pregnant

Below we’ve highlighted some of the ways your baby is growing and changing, and how you may feel at 17 weeks pregnant:

  • Tiny toenails are sprouting this week!

  • Your little one is putting on more weight as well as developing the protective film on their skin known as vernix.

  • You may start to feel your baby move over the next few weeks. Get ready for those belly flutters!

  • You may notice your breasts getting larger now. It might be time to shop for some new bras.

If you haven’t discovered your baby’s gender yet, have some (completely unscientific) fun by reading our old wives’ tales for gender prediction or using our Chinese gender predictor:

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17 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

Your baby is making some exciting strides this week! Here's what happening inside your belly in terms of baby development at 17 weeks pregnant:

  • At week 17, your little one starts to develop a layer of brown fat under their skin and more layers will form as your pregnancy progresses. This added fat provides energy and will help keep your baby warm after birth—right now, your uterus is doing a nice job of that!

  • The oil-producing glands in your baby's skin may begin to produce vernix, which is a white, greasy film that protects and covers the skin and helps regulate body temperature.

  • At this point, your baby is becoming a little more active within the amniotic sac. You may not be able to feel any of this movement yet, but you’ll likely start to sense some tiny flips and rolls in the coming weeks.

  • Did you know your baby is also growing toenails this week? By the end of this month, nails will likely extend to the tips of the toes and fingers, and they may even need to be trimmed shortly after birth!

How Many Months Is 17 Weeks Pregnant?

In your 17th week of pregnancy, you may be wondering what month you're in. There isn't a single, standard way to group the 40 weeks of pregnancy into months, but at 17 weeks pregnant you’re likely completing your fourth month of pregnancy!

How Big Is a Baby at 17 Weeks Pregnant?

When you’re 17 weeks pregnant, your baby is about the size of a pear! At this stage, your baby might measure about five inches long.

Your Baby: What Does 17 Weeks Pregnant Look Like?

To get an idea of what things are looking like inside your belly at 17 weeks pregnant, check out the illustration below:

Your Body at 17 Weeks Pregnant

You may have noticed more growth and changes in your breasts. More blood is flowing to the breasts in preparation for milk production, and you may start to see darker veins appearing.

It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to go up one or even two cup sizes, so you may want to get a professional bra fitting to make sure you’re wearing the most comfortable size for you.

The placenta is also growing in order to help deliver enough nutrients and oxygen to your developing baby while helping to eliminate waste.

Have your feet gotten bigger recently? This could be due to pregnancy weight gain and also swelling, known as edema, that happens as your body retains extra fluid during pregnancy. Try a cool foot bath to relieve the swelling and elevate your feet whenever you can to stay comfortable. To keep track of your weight gain, use our pregnancy weight gain calculator.

17 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

At 17 weeks pregnant, here are some of the symptoms you may be experiencing:

  • 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. Though hemorrhoids are more common later in pregnancy, it's smart to take steps now to help prevent them from occurring, such as following a high-fiber diet, drinking plenty of water, and getting regular exercise. And if you’re looking for ways to soothe hemorrhoids, try soaking in a warm bath (without soap or bubble bath) and avoid sitting for long periods of time. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you have severe pain or bleeding at 17 weeks pregnant or anytime during your pregnancy.

  • Itchy or sensitive skin. At 17 weeks pregnant, your belly and breasts are still growing, and the skin is stretching, which can sometimes lead to stretch marks and itching. Although you can’t completely prevent stretch marks from appearing, you can help reduce the itchiness of your skin by drinking lots of water and applying moisturizer to your skin in the mornings and evenings.

  • Heartburn and indigestion. By this time, morning sickness is a thing of the past for most moms-to-be, but you might be dealing with heartburn and indigestion, two symptoms you could experience at 17 weeks pregnant or later in this trimester. Try to eat six small meals a day instead of three large ones, avoiding spicy foods or other foods that you find contribute to your discomfort. It can also help to eat slowly and avoid lying down right after eating.

  • Leg cramps. In the second trimester, you may find your sleep interrupted by leg cramps. It’s not known what causes these cramps, but you can try stretching your legs before bed or massaging your calf muscles to relieve cramping at 17 weeks pregnant. Staying hydrated and physically active can also help, as can wearing comfortable, supportive shoes.

  • Lower back pain. At 17 weeks pregnant, your expanding uterus is growing in size and changing your center of gravity and your posture, putting more pressure on your back. As you gain weight during your pregnancy, you may experience lower back pain from time to time; exercise and stretching may help relieve some of the discomfort. Applying a heating pad to the affected area may also offer some relief. If you can, try to avoid standing for long periods of time. Your healthcare provider can also advise you on how to handle any form of back pain at 17 weeks pregnant, and beyond.

How Big Is a Pregnant Belly at 17 Weeks?

Although every pregnancy and body is different, your belly bump may be more obvious at 17 weeks pregnant and in the coming weeks as the size of your uterus increases, which may also be affecting your center of gravity.

It’s also possible that you may be feeling some of your baby’s movements at 17 weeks of pregnancy. If this isn’t your first baby, then you may be more aware of what the feeling is like and recognize it sooner. But don't worry if you haven’t felt anything yet. In the coming weeks, you’ll likely notice some activity that feels like fluttering or a light rumbling in your stomach.

What Does 17 Weeks Pregnant Look Like?

For a better idea of what your belly might look like around 17 weeks pregnant, and in your fourth month of pregnancy, check out the image below.

17 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

As you make your way through pregnancy, there are plenty of important things to consider, from finding out the gender, if you wish, to looking into childbirth classes. Check out our list below.

  • You’re probably eager to know whether you’re having a boy or girl. It still may be a bit too soon to know for sure at 17 weeks, but you can usually find out (if you choose to) at an ultrasound exam that you’ll probably have at around 18 to 20 weeks. Of course, your little one may or may not cooperate during the ultrasound! The position of your baby is one factor that can affect whether your healthcare provider can accurately pinpoint your baby’s gender at 17 weeks pregnant, or in the next few weeks. In the meantime, you can learn more about the science behind what determines the sex of a baby, or take our gender quiz to have some fun guessing.

  • Have you looked into childbirth classes yet? You’re getting closer and closer to the halfway mark, so consider doing some research on this now. The earlier you start looking, the more options you may have for available classes, times, and dates. If you’re not sure where to start, ask your healthcare provider or parents in your area for suggestions.

  • Think about whether you're interested in any of the genetic tests that may be offered to you. Jot down any questions you have about them and ask your healthcare provider for advice on the risks and benefits of each.

  • If you have a little spare time this week, start looking into healthcare providers for your baby. You can ask other parents for recommendations or check a list of providers covered by your insurance. Your own healthcare provider will also be able to point you in the right direction. Once you’ve found a few options, you may want to meet up with potential providers for a face-to-face appointment before your baby is born. For more on this important topic, read our article on how to choose a pediatrician.

  • Pregnancy can sometimes put a strain on even the most harmonious relationship, which is understandable given all the financial and practical worries that such a big lifestyle change can bring. Talking to your partner about your feelings and involving them as much as possible in events related to your pregnancy, like scans, prenatal classes, and general planning, can help you both communicate and support each other. If you think you need outside support, your healthcare provider can help you find counseling and support groups in your area.

17 Weeks Pregnant: Questions for Your Healthcare Provider

Here are some questions that you could ask your healthcare provider at 17 weeks pregnant:

  • Is it normal to experience dizziness? What can I do about it?

  • Are any genetic tests recommended for my personal situation?

  • Should I have amniocentesis? This is an optional test, and whether you have amnio or not is a personal choice. Your healthcare provider will be able to provide you with more information about this test and give you personalized advice about it.

  • Should I have the maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (or MSAFP for short) screening test?

  • Is it safe to get a professional massage?

17 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

As your pregnancy progresses and you get used to the various emotional and physical symptoms, consider the following to-dos at 17 weeks:

□ Do some research on healthcare providers to care for your baby after birth.

□ Planning a babymoon? Schedule a prenatal checkup before you travel.

□ Get a professional bra fitting at your local lingerie or department store. You’ll want to make sure you’re wearing the most comfortable bras as your pregnancy progresses.

□ Start a baby name shortlist. You may not know whether you’re looking for boy or girl names yet, but our Baby Name Generator can help you search by gender, theme, and many other filters.

□ Suggest that your partner read some of the content we have for expectant fathers to help them prepare for fatherhood.

How We Wrote This Article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.