17 weeks pregnant: what to expect, advice and symptoms

a woman who is 17 weeks pregnant

by Stephanie Anthony |

At seventeen weeks pregnant, you start to see some more big changes. Your baby starts storing body fat and working on her swallowing and sucking skills. Here’s everything you need to know about any symptoms or what your baby and your body are doing at 17 weeks pregnant.

How big is my baby at 17 weeks pregnant?

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 pregnant?

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, a 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!

Your pregnancy symptoms in week 17

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1) Heartburn or indigestion
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1) Heartburn or 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.

What is my body doing at 17 weeks pregnant?

By week 17, your body is showing signs of being pregnant. You’ll probably notice it’s not only your belly getting bigger, but your hormones and milk-producing glands are also developing to get your body ready to feed your baby.

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.

Take a look at our pregnant girls guide to the gym and helpful guide to beating back pain.

Take me back to week 16

Take me to week 18

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