What's happening in week 17 of your pregnancy
At week 17 you might be starting to feel your growing baby moving about.
At a glance
- Your baby now weighs around 140g
- You might start to feel them wriggling around
- Start pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your muscles
How big is my baby at 17 weeks?
Your little one is piling on the pounds now (well, not literally!) and is growing very quickly. They weigh around 140g and would fit in the palm of your hand.
Their little face looks entirely human, especially as their eyebrows and eyelashes have started to grow. Despite this, their eyelids are still fused shut, although they can move their eyes around.
Your baby’s heartbeat is now being regulated by the brain beating at between 140-150 beats per minute – that’s about twice as fast as yours!
Amazingly, your baby’s toes and fingers will form their own unique patterns this week as they develop the fingerprints that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Facts to know about your baby in week 17
- Baby will weigh around 140g and would fit in the palm of your hand
- Having a girl? By 18 weeks, her uterus and fallopian tubes are formed and fully in place
You at 17 weeks pregnant
You might be beginning to have 'is that wind or can I feel my baby moving?' dilemmas at 17 weeks. While some first-time mums will feel their baby wriggling around by about this stage for most this happens a little later around 18-20 weeks. If you've had a baby before you may feel them earlier. You will no doubt find your baby moving really exciting, and feel even more connection with them. The recommendations are that women should monitor their baby’s pattern of movements from around week 16-24 right up to when they give birth, and report any reduction in movements promptly.
So what will it feel like? Some mums-to-be describe it as bubbles in their tummy, or fluttering like a butterfly flying around. Rest assured as your baby grows, those lovely descriptions will be replaced with a simple 'like kicking' turn of phrase!
Every single baby is different and there’s no set number of kicks you should be feeling. Instead, it’s more about knowing what’s normal for your little one.
As they become more fidgety you’ll start to notice a pattern and it’s this regular pattern of movements that you should be getting to know and recognise.
Jane Brewin, CEO of Tommy’s the baby charity who run the #Movementsmatter awareness campaign, says: “There are no set number of movements a woman should feel, what is important is that she knows what feels normal for her and her baby. It is not true that babies move less often towards the end of pregnancy, a woman should feel their baby move right up to the time of labour, and during labour too. We urge women to never hesitate to contact their midwife or maternity unit for advice, no matter how many times this happens.”
You are probably feeling a bit more energetic and less tired at this point, and keeping healthy and active are as important as ever. One 'work out' your midwife might have flagged up to you will pay you long term dividends – pelvic floor exercises! Strengthening these muscles (which hold your bladder, womb and lower bowel in place) now will help to keep them working efficiently after birth and hopefully avoid the embarrassment of stress incontinence should you find yourself bouncing on a trampoline or having an uncontrollable fit of laughter!
Facts to know about you in week 17
- The line down the middle of their tummy during pregnancy is called the linea nigra - another 'pregnancy stripe'
- Breast milk sprays out of many holes, not just one. The exact number varies from mum to mum
- There are actually four different shapes that a woman's pelvis can take
- You might start to get hot and bothered as a pregnant woman's body temperature rises to 37.8 degrees C when it's normally 37 degrees C
What to think about in week 17
Sometimes we can’t help but to just endlessly worry about stuff, and in pregnancy, worrying can reach a new level. As each week passes, you might find yourself getting over one concern only to focus on another – it is totally normal, but can cause you a lot of stress if it becomes too overwhelming.
Always speak to your midwife about your fears – some could be unique to you, but others will be things that play on the minds of all mums-to-be – your upcoming anomaly scan, for example, or anxieties about your delivery. Don't let worries spoil your pregnancy - do always seek reassurance (you will be taken seriously) if you have any thing playing on your mind.
By now you should generally be feeling a bit more energetic and be starting to enjoy your pregnancy. If you haven’t before now, you may well be feeling sex is back on the table, in fact you may even find your sex drive is higher than it’s been for a long time.
There is no reason you can’t enjoy an active sex life during your pregnancy, so don’t be put off by some myths surrounding sex during pregnancy. Sex isn’t linked with miscarriage and won’t bring on an early labour. In the final weeks it’s thought a combination of the prostaglandins in semen (which soften the cervix) and the hormone oxytocin (triggered by orgasm) may set off contractions, but it won’t cause premature labour.
There’s no need to fear your baby will feel something if you are having sex. The baby is far too cushioned in the womb to feel a thing. If your baby moves around when you orgasm, it’s only because they can hear your heart beating faster - just like it would if you were exercising.
Another thing that may be starting to enter your head is creating your baby’s nursery. Welcoming your new baby into your home is so exciting, and you’ll want everything to be perfect for them, especially the nursery. There are masses of ideas and design around for decorating the nursery, and there is a ton of inspiration out there to help you create the perfect nursery for your baby, whatever your budget. But if money is tight, don’t go overboard especially as it's recommended the safest place for your baby to sleep is in a room with you for the first six months.
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Signs and symptoms at 17 weeks pregnant
Don’t think it’s only at the end of your pregnancy you may have stretch marks, the truth is they can start to appear a lot earlier. Early stretch marks appear pink in colour and may also be itchy. Darker skinned women tend to have stetch marks that are lighter than the surrounding skin. Caused by a combination of, yep, you’ve guessed it, hormone changes as well as the physical stretch of the skin that occurs in pregnancy. The skin has less time to adjust to these changes and expands faster causing the skin to ‘tear’ and this is what we know as a stretch mark. Stretch marks can start to appear in your second trimester (even in your first trimester if your breasts grow quickly). Stretch marks may enlarge and grow in length and become red or purple in colour. After pregnancy they may begin to fade and become pale white or silver.
Some mums-to-be can suffer with heartburn a lot during they pregnancy. Caused by hormones that relax muscles and ligaments in the body, the valve at the top of the stomach is relaxed allowing stomach acids to escape back into the gullet which leaves you with a burning sensation in your chest. If you suffer with it at night, it’s better to get up and sit upright or stand to allow it to settle as lying flat can be the worst thing and don’t lie flat for a minimum of two hours after you’ve eaten. Stand up and walk around to encourage your digestive juices to flow in the right direction.
Watch our video below on: Staying healthy during pregnancy
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