The 17th week of pregnancy is a comfortable time as the body has adjusted to the growing changes. This is the
time when you can develop rashes or allergies which tend to flare up with a change in diet or medical prescription. You can check with your medical practitioner before taking any medications to heal the rashes. You might start noticing your baby’s movements at this stage or within the next few weeks. Strange movements such as bubbles, twitches or butterflies might be experienced at this stage. These feelings are the baby’s movements.
Change positions while standing, sitting or sleeping to avoid discomfort and cramps. You might feel lightheaded, dizzy or faint, especially if you are prone to low blood pressure. Lie down and elevate your feet with the support of pillows. Munching in between meals on healthy snacks like dry fruits, fresh fruit or juice might help. Not all women will experience this and some women might even be feeling much better and energetic at this stage of pregnancy.
Your Symptoms: Your center of gravity is changing, so you may feel off-balance. Vivid dreams and dry eyes are also very common.
Baby’s Development: Baby’s fingers and hands are well-developed and are beginning to grasp. If you are having a girl, her uterus and vagina are forming.
Baby’s Size: 10.1 cm (size of a turnip).
To Do: Take some time to relax with your partner. Now is a good time to travel since you are probably feeling well and haven’t gotten too big yet; consider a romantic getaway.
The baby is about 61/2 inches long and weighs 4 ounces. The umbilical cord becomes stronger, thicker and longer as the weeks advance. It carries blood and nutrients to the growing baby. The baby’s sense of hearing is progressing as the ears move to their final position. The internal parts are well developed by now. The baby develops adipose tissue which helps in regulating the baby’s body temperature. The baby has distinctive features now and holds up the head more erect. The body and limbs of the baby are longer than the head by now making the whole body more proportionate. The baby develops pads on the tiny fingertips and toes. The eyes are well developed now but remain firmly closed.
Meconium or the excretory waste is formed which consists of a black gooey substance. If the baby is a male, the prostate glands start developing. The skeleton transforms from cartilage to bone and the bones remain flexible to be able to pass through the birth canal. The baby’s skin develops further but is still transparent. A protective cover starts developing around the baby’s skin called vernix. Brown fat deposits will start forming under the skin which will help to maintain body temperature during birth. The baby now weighs more than the placenta and loud noises can actually startle the baby.
Changes with your body
The abdomen is growing in size. The other internal organs will move to provide space for the uterus and the baby to grow. The top of the uterus is more round at this stage and is increasing in length. The uterus starts pushing your intestines up and out towards one side of the abdomen. You can feel your uterus while standing rather than in the sleeping position.
There might be periodic pain in the legs called as sciatic nerve pain which can be unbearable for some women. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and runs under the uterus right down the entire length of the leg. The cause of the pain can be related to the pressure on the nerve caused by the growing baby and can be reduced by avoiding standing in one place for too long or putting pillows under the legs while sleeping at night to provide support. The secretions all over the body increase due to increase in blood volume and sweating might increase. Nasal congestion or increased vaginal discharge is no worry as this will disappear after the baby is born.
Eating a balanced and healthy diet will help to boost your immunity and prevent you from falling sick. Keeping a clean and hygienic lifestyle can be a preventive for all those fungal and bacterial infections. If you are expecting twins make sure you are eating sufficient amount of protein as the requirement will double as compared to a single pregnancy.
What to expect
You are in total control of your pregnancy by now and can handle any situation with ease. The occasional butterflies that you might experience in the stomach are movements in the fetus which can actually uplift your spirits. Some women might not look pregnant yet especially if they are tall because the weight of pregnancy gets evenly distributed over the entire body. To ensure your baby’s prenatal health, several routine tests will be offered to you at every doctor’s visit. Blood pressure could be checked, urine test for a urinary tract infection or a blood test to analyze the levels of protein in your blood. Some tests are performed just once while other routine ones will be done all through the pregnancy. The Alpha-Fetaprotein and Triple test is generally performed between the 15th and 17th week and is carried out to detect the possibility of chromosomal abnormalities or birth defects. It can also indicate the possibility of pregnancy problems such as miscarriage or premature birth in some cases.
Fetal ultrasound is done mainly between the 10th and 20th week by most women but it can be done more than twice as it is not harmful to the baby’s health. It uses high frequency sound waves to create internal images of your baby. These are visualized in 3d images which give you details about the development. Amniocentesis is a test used to detect genetic defects of the baby and is performed between the 15th and the 18th week by using a needle to remove fluid from the amniotic sac. The accuracy levels of this test are very high but there are some prenatal risks such as miscarriage associated with this as a result of infection or injury to the amniotic sac while conducting this test.