bamama is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

17 Weeks Pregnant: What Every Mom Should Know

17 Weeks Pregnant_ What Every Mom Should Know

At around 17 weeks into pregnancy, both your and your baby’s bodies undergo plenty of changes. In this guide, I’ll share some advice on how to keep both of you safe and healthy during this time.

Your baby’s body will undergo changes with their internal reflexes, skin on their fingers, and heartbeat pacing, among others. I’ll show you how to help them adjust to the changes from outside the womb.

Your own body will change in that you’ll start feeling hungrier, experience more snoring, develop stretch marks and indigestion, and more. These things can be annoying, so allow me to share tips on how to deal with them.

Baby’s Development at 17 Weeks

Baby’s Development at 17 Weeks

When you’ve been pregnant for 17 weeks (a little over four months), you’re 23 weeks away from the expected birth date. Coming from 16 weeks pregnant, you’ll notice some differences.

You can also use this time to the 20th week of pregnancy to find out the gender of your baby. Here are a few things you should pay attention to at this time.

How Is the Baby Like?

Your baby has grown since last week, now weighing in at 150 grams or more and measuring in at around 13 centimeters. That’s around the size of your palm.

They’re also beginning to grow baby fat, which will envelop most of their body until they shed it when they grow out of their toddler phase.

Your baby is still tiny, nowhere close to how big they’ll be when they’re born. However, they will continue growing rapidly, which you’ll definitely notice as your belly grows even bigger.

Baby Is the Size of Your Palm

Your baby will be around the size of your palm, which may seem small for the number of weeks you’ve had them growing. However, this is the beginning of a very rapid period of growth.

Another comparison of how big your baby this week is about the size of a turnip. Your baby bump should therefore start to be more noticeable, even when wearing looser clothing.

Practicing Sucking and Swallowing Skills

Even if your baby hasn’t been born yet and doesn’t need to feed through their mouth, they’re already practicing how to. Muscles in their mouth and throat are constantly developing.

Your baby’s reflexes and habits that they’ll have as a newborn, like sucking and swallowing, are already developing at this stage. There’s no need to worry about teaching them how to do so, as these skills come naturally.

Skin Development and Fingerprints Are Starting to Form

Fingerprints are one unique identifier that helps distinguish us from other people. Your baby’s fingertips will start to form swirls and creases that make up fingerprints at 17 weeks.

Aside from the skin on their fingertips, the rest of their skin will start to develop the sweat glands they’ll need to cool off if they’re too hot. By next week, their skin will already be fully formed.

More Regular Cardiac Activity

Your baby’s brain is now developed enough to regulate their heartbeat better and make it more consistent. This is good because there will be fewer irregular heartbeats going forward.

Your little one’s heart will be able to pump blood through the heart at around 140 to 150 beats per minute. That’s much faster than an adult’s heart, which is expected at this stage.

From Cartilage to Bones

Up until this point, the support structure of your baby’s body was mostly made up of softer cartilage. However, at 17 weeks, your baby’s skeleton will start changing into bone.

NOTE: Bones are becoming stronger, but they require a significant amount of calcium to ensure their strength. Check out the best prenatal vitamins and the food to avoid to keep your baby healthy.

The Umbilical Cord is Growing

The umbilical cord connects the placenta to the rest of your body. At 17 weeks pregnant, it will start to get stronger and thicker to accommodate more volume being transported.

As your baby gets closer to being born, they’ll need more nutrients while also passing waste products back to you for your body to dispose of.

All of this rapid growth of the umbilical cord is necessary for your baby’s growth. The cord will be around 23 centimeters long and 2.5 centimeters thick at the end of the pregnancy. 

Mommy at 17 Weeks of Pregnancy

Mommy at 17 Weeks of Pregnancy

You’ll undergo your own changes when you become 17 weeks pregnant. Some other things, like increased body odor, are not as common but still normal.

While these changes are to be expected and shouldn’t worry you too much, they’ll unfortunately make you pretty uncomfortable and may be painful at some points.

However, if things stay painful or become too much to bear, you might want to contact your OB-GYN. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially with a little one growing inside.

Growing Love for Food

Unlike other parts of the first trimester, where you’ve probably lost your appetite, the seventeenth week will have you searching for food everywhere.

Your appetite will grow considerably, to the point where you’ll feel like you’re eating enough food for two people. That’s actually pretty accurate.

At this point, your baby is growing at a much faster rate than in the first trimester, so they’ll need more nutrients. Their appetite increases; therefore, yours does, too.

While eating more is expected at this stage, you should monitor your body weight and have regular check-ups with your doctor. They can tell if the weight gain is normal or not.

Snoring When Sleeping

Your nose will continue to get stuffy, which started at sixteen weeks. However, the symptoms may get either better or worse. 

One thing that might annoy your partner in bed is increased snoring, both in loudness and frequency. The stuffiness and possible lack of humidity might be making this worse.

The increased stuffiness in your nose is caused by your pregnancy hormones acting up. You can lessen the stuffiness by placing a humidifier in your bedroom.

More Heightened Symptoms than Usual

One thing you’ll notice in the 17th week is that the symptoms you first developed last week might be heightened, either being more frequent or more intense.

For example, you might discover that you have more vaginal discharge than normal. You might also experience more frequent pain as your uterus is constantly expanding.

While this is completely normal, you might want to mitigate the effects by considering getting maternity jeans or a pregnancy pillow to make you more comfortable.

Better Sleep

Compared to the first trimester, you’ll also be getting better sleep, especially if you’ve fixed the stuffy nose problem by adding a humidifier to your bedroom.

While snoring will probably affect your partner more in terms of sleep, your sleep is better this week because your body’s getting used to splitting resources between you and the baby.

You’ll also want to practice sleeping on your side more because it places the least pressure on your veins and internal organs. This makes sure that blood flows efficiently throughout your body.

Pregnancy Symptoms at 17 Weeks

Pregnancy Symptoms at 17 Weeks

These are some other symptoms that you should look out for when 17 weeks pregnant. You’ll do yourself a favor by paying attention to them and taking steps to mitigate their side effects.

Dizziness

If you’ve felt lightheaded and dizzy at several points over the last week through to the 17th week, that’s actually a normal occurrence during the 2nd trimester.

This is most likely due to cardiovascular changes, such as a higher heart rate, enlarged blood vessels, and temporary changes in circulation due to your body accommodating for the baby.

Itchy Skin

Your skin might feel itchier during the 17th week, especially near areas that are growing and stretching a lot. Examples include your breast area and belly.

Try using an ice pack or cold compress on the affected area to gain some relief. Then, use moisturizer or other pregnancy-safe skincare items to reduce dryness and irritation.

Sometimes, deodorant that worked fine when you weren’t pregnant can cause itchiness while you’re pregnant. Consider using alternative, pregnancy-safe deodorants.

Vision Changes

You might notice that your eyes start feeling dry, and your vision gets blurry. Don’t rush to the ophthalmologist just yet, because vision changes like these are to be expected in pregnancy.

The hormonal changes you’re going through affect everything in your body, which can also, in turn, affect your vision. 

However, if symptoms get progressively worse or become more extreme, like loss of vision, contact your doctor immediately.

Weird Dreams

Vivid and weird dreams you wouldn’t usually get pre-pregnancy are also a regular occurrence. Your hormones and intense emotions are why this happens.

While there’s nothing you can really do to stop this, I’d recommend writing the dreams down and reflecting on them later to give you a better look into your mental state.

Stretch Marks

These are pretty normal for pregnant women, especially as bellies grow and the rest of the body changes rapidly. These tend to fade postpartum.

Even if they don’t fade away or take a while to, try to be easier on yourself. Love and accept the body that’s doing so much to produce and care for another life.

You can also use stretch mark cream to reduce how defined the stretch marks are and reduce itchiness in that area. Just make sure to use a cream that’s baby-safe.

Constipation

Hormonal changes and your expanding uterus are the two main culprits if you start experiencing constipation during this week of your pregnancy.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to remedy it, like drinking a lot of water, eating high-fiber foods, and having low-impact exercises daily.

Tips for a 17-Week Pregnant Mom

Tips for a 17-Week Pregnant Mom

Here are some tips to help you get through the 17th week as a pregnant mom. Following these can help you reduce the pain, inconvenience, and discomfort you might be feeling.

Stretch Regularly

To prevent a condition called sciatica, which is sharp shooting pain from the lower back all the way to the ankles, try stretching regularly.

Stretching regularly allows the collection of muscles, tendons, and bones in your lower back to be more mobile and reduces the chances of it pinching the sciatic nerve.

See the Dentist for Loose Teeth

Being 17 weeks pregnant can also mean having loose teeth, similar to how your baby teeth felt during your childhood. This can happen and is actually quite typical.

The pregnancy hormones are once again to blame. If your teeth are doing more than just wiggling, such as falling out, it’s essential to see a dentist to get them checked.

Sit or Lie Down More to Reduce Round Ligament Pain

While exercising regularly during your second term is recommended, doing it too much can increase both the frequency and the intensity of round ligament pain.

Your uterus is constantly growing, which puts pressure on the ligaments holding it to the rest of your body. You can reduce this pressure by sitting or lying down more often.

You can also try having different pregnancy sleeping positions to change the angles that you rest at. This might help in balancing out your weight better.

Try Eating Non-dairy Calcium Rich Foods

If you’re lactose intolerant or just aren’t a fan of dairy-based foods, many alternatives can satisfy your baby’s calcium needs.

There are options like calcium-fortified orange juice, leafy green vegetables, sesame seeds, almonds, and calcium-fortified soy products.

These usually have the same or even higher amounts of calcium per serving than dairy-based food products.

Wear Sunscreen or Stay Out of the Sun

Your hormones are the culprit once again if you’re wondering why you’ll sometimes see random spots, heat rashes, or darkening moles on your skin.

To ensure you don’t exacerbate the problem, stay out of direct sunlight, especially after 9 am and before 5 pm. This is when the UV rays are the most damaging to the skin.

If you need to go out at these times, always wear sunscreen with higher SPF protection. Just remember to ensure that the sunscreen is baby-safe.

Conclusion

At 17 weeks pregnant, you’ve only got a little over halfway to go. It can be an exciting time as a mother, and there are many symptoms and changes that can surprise you.

Your baby’s beginning to develop the necessary reflexes and grow bones while you’ll get stretch marks, gain more weight, and have some pain when exercising or standing up a lot.

Symptoms like these are painful and annoying, but following my tips, like seeing the dentist, reducing exercise if it’s too much, or stretching regularly can help reduce the pain.

If you’ve finished your 17th week and are into your 18th week, there will once again be different symptoms and things to look out for.

Sky Bustillo
Sky Bustillo

Hi, I’m Sky!
As a Filipina in her mid-20s, a sister to young ones, and a tita to my nieces and nephews, I somehow share the same sentiment as other parents. I have a growing aspiration of becoming a mom someday!
But there also comes a worry that you won’t be able to give the best to your children, especially with the food they eat, the products they use, and the new habits and hobbies we introduce to them.
Your kid’s safety and welfare are your top priority, that’s why I always make it to a point to learn from the stories and experiences of other moms.
It’s a delight to share what I learned and know to help the moms close to my heart, and this time, I’m writing to relay advice to you from the insights of other moms and my experience around kids, too.
I’d love to be a part of your journey, and I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful for you and your young one!