Pregnancy week 17

17th week means you are four months and one week pregnant!!! Just five more months for your little one to come out of your tummy. 

Read on to understand what new developments take place in your baby and what you should expect in pregnancy week 17.

Your baby at pregnancy week 17

At week 17, your baby measures around 5.14 inches (i.e., crown to rump length) and weighs little over 6 ounces (179 grams). It’s as big as a large onion now. The developmental changes in week 17 are:

  • A significant milestone of week 17 is- your baby is gaining fat in its body. Fat tissue or adipose tissue will develop in every part of the body. This fat keeps your baby warm inside the womb and after birth and protects the vital organs. 
  • The muscles and bones gather more strength and help in flexible movement inside the amniotic sac. 
  • Its sucking action improves, and it can open and close its mouth to swallow the amniotic sac. 
  • The toenails and fingernails become prominent. 
  • Ears have almost matured by this week, and it can hear external sounds. 
  • The brain is capable of regulating the heartbeat at this stage. The fetal heartbeat at the 17th week is 120-160 beats per minute.  

Prenatal tests 

Your doctor may recommend a Multiple Marker Test (MMT) to rule out fetal abnormalities like Down syndrome, trisomy 18 syndrome, and spina bifida. This test can be done anytime between 15-20th of pregnancy. MMT test is a blood test and will be conducted at the health care clinic. 

Your body at pregnancy week 17

Whatever symptoms you have been experiencing at the beginning of your second trimester may continue to persist. It includes bleeding gums, nose bleeds, weight gain, stretch marks, itchy skin, vaginal discharges, cramping in legs, etc. Apart from this, you can also experience the following symptoms.

Lower back pain – A prevalent symptom of later stages of pregnancy is lower back pain. This happens due to weight gain. As your uterus increases, it tends to put a lot of pressure on your pelvic muscles. 

Increased appetite – Your baby is growing very fast and is demanding more food. Hence, you, too, tend to feel hungry. 

Mild headaches – You may get headaches when you have a work schedule when you travel or working before the computer. But this is absolutely normal. 

Nasal congestion – Your nose tends to get blocked very often now. The mucus gathers inside your nose to the spike in blood volume and changes in hormonal levels. 

Self-care tips for 17-week pregnant moms

  • Hydration is essential. You must drink 2-3 liters of water every day. This will not only keep you hydrated and energetic but also help overcome dizziness and headaches. 
  • You may take OTC paracetamol if you have too much leg cramps or lower body pain. But always ask your doctor before doing so. 
  • Some workplace tips for working moms are – Make sure you have a comfortable chair that doesn’t aggravate back pain. Use a good cushion for back support. 
  • At home, you can take warm showers, do mild stretching activities, and take warm water/ice compress on your achy back and legs. You may also enjoy prenatal massage. This offers immense relief. 
  • It’s vital to consume foods at small intervals. Store healthy snacks and fruits at home and carry extra food at the office to never stay hungry. 
  • Check with your doctor the saline sprays or decongestants that you can use to reduce nasal congestion.