Your baby is now the size of a big orange, and has developed a layer of fat, eyelashes and individual fingerprints. Your appetite is increasing and you may be developing stretch marks.
17 Weeks Pregnant – Fetus
Your baby is starting to put on some weight! He or she is already developing a thin layer of fat that will keep him warm after delivery – it will grow thicker as weeks go by. The baby now weighs about 142 g / 5 oz, and is about 13 cm / 5.1 inches in length, the size of a big orange.
The baby’s bones are hardening, and he can move his joints, make grabbing movements and open and close his mouth. Eyelashes and eyebrows are growing, sweat glands are developing, and your baby has his own individual fingerprints! Isn’t this amazing?
The placenta keeps growing as well, and it is almost as big as the baby now, supplying your little one with blood and nutrients.
Your baby’s heart is beating twice as fast as yours – between 140-150 beats per minute – but this superfast flutter is now being regulated by the baby’s brain. This might not tell you much, but it is important, because it means that your baby’s heartbeat is not irregular anymore.
17 Weeks Pregnant – Symptoms
Not only there is no nausea anymore, but you are developing some appetite! This is only natural – healthy weight gain is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Make sure to eat small, frequent, nutritious meals, and even though it is OK to be more hungry (and eat more) than you used to before getting pregnant, resist the urge to eat for two, and never force yourself to eat more than you want to.
It is also important to drink a lot of fluids (eight glasses a day or more), as dehydration is very dangerous for you and your baby and might even cause you to go into premature labor.
Did you wake up one morning to find red or purple stretch marks on your belly, thighs, buttocks or breasts? If your mother had them, your chances to have the are higher, though this is only a rule of thumb. The stretch marks will fade to thin, white lines after delivery, but despite what some cosmetic products might claim, they are here to stay.
You may feel pain in your legs, especially in the mornings, when you stretch your body. This happens because the baby’s weights puts pressure on the sciatic nerve that runs from under your uterus to your legs. Try to avoid stretching your legs, and massage your leg to ease the pain.
17 Weeks Pregnant – Questions
The delivery is still weeks ago, but there are still things to prepare. If you have older children, you may want to start preparing them for the arrival of a new family member. You may also want to start working on your pelvic floor muscles, which may do you much good after delivery.
1. How to Tell Your Child You’re Pregnant Again?
It’s best to wait until your second trimester starts. The risk of miscarriage is much lower and your bump is starting to show, so it will be easier for your child to apprehend what you’re talking about. Plus, toddlers have a funny sense of time – “yesterday” may mean today morning or even a month ago, so “in nine months” may not mean much to your child. Instead, you may enjoy pictures of weekly baby development together.
When you talk about how it’s going to be after the new baby is born, speak in simple words and keep it positive, but don’t forget to explain that at first, the baby will not do much except feeding, crying and sleeping. You can add that all babies behave like that, tell him about what he was like when he was a baby too and show him photos of him as a baby.
You may explain that the baby is growing very slowly. Tell your child that the baby may cry and demand much of mommy’s and daddy’s time because he will not be able to eat or move by his own, but that you and his dad will still spend time with him or her.
2. What are Pelvic Floor Exercises?
Pelvic floor exercises, also called Kegel exercises, are exercises meant to strengthen the muscles that are located between your legs, supporting and controlling your vagina, bladder, uterus and lower bowel. Pelvic muscles get weaker with age and pregnancies have their part in this. Weak pelvic muscles can cause urinary incontinence (leaking urine), affect your sex life (lesser sensitivity and weaker orgasms) and even cause one or more of your pelvic organs to bulge into the vagina (pelvic organ prolapse). You can start doing Kegels after delivery once you feel you are able to tighten the pelvic muscles, but it is best to start as early as possible – before you conceive, if possible.
Before you start, it is important you recognize the pelvic muscles. The fastest way to do it is to stop the flow of urine midway when emptying your bladder.
When you’re sure you know how to recognize those muscles, sit comfortably and squeeze the pelvic muscles about 10 – 15 times. Try to hold each squeeze for a few seconds, but do your best to breathe normally and avoid tightening your stomach or other muscles while squeezing. Add more squeezes every week if possible.