Week 17 sees more big changes, as your baby starts storing body fat and working on her swallowing and sucking skills. Here’s everything your baby and your body is doing at 17 weeks pregnant.
How big is my baby at 17 weeks?
Your little one is now around five inches long, which means she could still fit in the palm of your hand. She should also weigh about five ounces now, which is just a little bit heavier than a £2 coin!
What’s my baby doing at 17 weeks?
At 17 weeks, your baby’s body is coated with hair called lanugo, which helps to keep her warm until she has enough body fat. She’ll also be covered in vernix – a waxy substance that protects her skin from the amniotic fluid that she’s floating in at the moment. When she’s born, you’ll see some of the vernix still on her skin, but your midwife will usually rub most of it off with a towel.
Her heart is now regulated by the brain, which means it’s not beating so randomly any more, but will still be beating about twice as fast as yours. As we mentioned last week, as lot of her time spent in the womb is practising the skills she’ll need on the outside, this week, she’ll be honing her sucking and swallowing skills in preparation of her first feed.
Another cute addition this week? She’ll get her fingerprints!
What is my body doing at 17 weeks?
By week 17, your body is showing signs of being pregnant and most women find their appetite goes into overdrive! Don’t be surprised if you’re suddenly feeling hungrier than ever before, it’s a sign your baby is getting bigger and hungrier too! That said, remember eating for two isn’t to be taken literally and that you should only be gaining around four pounds a month during pregnancy.
You’ll probably notice it’s not only your belly getting bigger, hormones and milk-producing gland are developing to get your body ready to feed your baby. All of this activity, paired with an increase of bloody flow can mean you grow up to three cup sizes during pregnancy!
Right now your ovaries are also releasing a hormone called relaxin. As the name suggests, it relaxes ligaments and joints in your body in preparation for birth when you need the muscles and joints in your pelvis to be flexible to allow your baby out. This loosening of the joints can also increase the risk of you getting backache, and you need to be careful when you exercise as you could strain muscles more easily.
Common symptoms to look out for:
- Loose teeth: Did you know hormones can affect the ligaments and bones in your mouth, which can make your teeth feel wobbly or even fall out. If you do lose teeth, contact your dentist straight away.
- Heartburn and indigestion: You might have shaken off the morning sickness and extreme tiredness, but unfortunately this side effect isn’t going anywhere. If you’re suffering with heartburn, eat little and often and avoid lying down after a big meal.
- Headaches: These have appeared on the common symptoms list for the past few weeks, and are a common culprit to look out for.
- Backaches: As we mentioned above, pregnancy backaches can be a painful side effect of pregnancy. Ease this common symptom by making sure you have a firm mattress and placing a cushion behind your back when sitting down.
- Stretch marks: Now your body begins to grow, stretch marks can be common. This one is hereditary, so ask your mum how pregnancy affected her body! If you are suffering with stretch marks already, take a look at these creams to help prevent any more from appearing.