Pregnancy Week 17

Freaking out with the increasing numbers on weighing scale? Don’t be. This is the time when your baby is getting stronger and more mature and your body is responding it by being bigger. The relieving part is that you look like a pregnant woman with your increasing weight rather than being an overeating person. Apart from that, you are now comfortable in your pregnancy and can successfully deal the symptoms.

By now, ultrasounds, routine doctor’s visits and medical tests would be the part of your daily life. But congratulations, by this week you are almost halfway there. With every passing week, you are becoming closer in meeting your bundle of joy.

Let’s see what you can expect this week.

Growth and Development of Baby

By week 17, your baby is pretty much complete. At a whopping 5 ½ inches long and weighing 5 ounces, your baby is busy in various important reflexes which would help him in surviving in the external world.

The baby has started accumulating fat at a higher rate which will become two third of his body weight at the time of birth. This fat or adipose tissue will keep the body temperature warm. Your baby is sharpening his skills in sucking and swallowing for suckle at your breasts or bottles. Your baby has gained individuality through the creases and swirls also called fingerprints on his fingers and toes.

Fortunately, the eye movement has completely stopped by now as they are settled in their position on either side of nose. The developing eyelashes and eyebrows make your baby look beautiful, cute and more human. The eyelids are fused shut but they can move around their eyes. The sense of hearing is developing at a rapid pace making your baby anxious at most external voices. He will respond to voice by moving around which may feel you like soft fluttering or rolling sensation. However, the feeling of actual movements is still a week or two away. It is said that if babies tend to listen some voice regularly they can recognize the same voice once they are out.

The continuously lengthening arms and legs do not make head look big anymore. Earlier, the heart was beating randomly but now, it is controlled by brain and beating at 140-150 beats per minute.

The cartilage is changing into fully formed bones but they are still flexible to allow their easy passage through the birth canal. The skin is being deposited with the thick greasy substance “vernix” which will protect baby in amniotic fluid.

If you have not done yet, you will be called for anomaly scan to screen for fetal abnormalities. This is very important to ensure that all parts, organs and systems of your baby have developed perfectly.

Changes in Mother’s Body

The good news for all the mothers-to-be is that soon you will be feeling your baby’s most awaited movements. Many of second time mums must have felt them by now which are like fluttering, bubbling or some sort of indigestion. However, the first time moms would feel baby’s wriggling around by week 18 or 20. Soon, you will not mistake yours with the baby’s movements as apart from feeling you will be seeing them as a bump on your tummy. Can you tell which one is foot and which is hand? Undoubtedly, these movements can take away every bit of pregnancy pain making mother excited and feel connected to her developing baby.

Most of the women experience a dark line standing vertically on their tummy which is known as linea nigra. This is just a skin pigmentation which will wear out as soon as the baby comes out.

This week must be working for you as energy booster as you are losing that tiredness and exhaustion and becoming more active. Being healthy and active at this point will pay you long term dividends. So, follow your exercise regime regularly with no more excuses with special focus on pelvic floor exercises. Pelvic floor muscles are responsible for the well being of bladder, womb and lower bowel positions. Strengthening them will help in efficient working of them all. Apart from that, you will be saved from the stress incontinence issues later.

Some common and minor problems in this week include little tiredness and insomnia, both complementing each other. Apart from the emotional and mental reasons of insomnia, your physical posture also does not allow you to sleep comfortable. Buy some maternity pillows to get a comfortable posture while sleeping. Another one is not-so-severe headaches, but be cautious with the severe headache symptoms as this is the sign of something wrong inside. Vaginal discharge, nasal congestion and sweating are other common and mild symptoms during this week.

As the uterus is continuously increasing in size, you begin to show. To accommodate your growing uterus, your internal organs are making compromises. The intestines are shifting up and outwards towards the sides of abdomen. As less space is left for your abdomen to expand, you feel bloated after a heavy dinner or lunch.

There is a nerve named sciatic nerve, largest body nerve, which runs along the length of the legs. It lies below uterus. In pregnancy, the growing uterus may exert some pressure on this nerve causing occasional pain in the legs. For some women, this pain is terribly awful. You can alleviate this by avoiding long hours standing or by putting pillows under your legs.

Have your partner lately complained about disturbance to him due to your powerful snoring? The stuffiness in the body causes you to develop temporary snoring habit. You can use humidifier or can rest on the pile of pillows so that your head is elevated. If the problem persists, just ask him to use earplugs or banish on the couch in the lobby. After all, your good sleep is more important than his.

Care Tips for the Week

  • “Eating for two” is advisable but do not take it in literal meaning. After three months of queasiness and aversions, you must be heading your dinner table to settle your insatiable appetite. However, we would advise you to be bit cautious as you just need 340 more calories to sustain the growing child. Otherwise, you will end up looking like two people. Try to foster the optimal eating habits.
  • To ease your sciatic pain in legs, you can either use ice or heating pads.
  • By now, it must be clear to you that pregnancy hormones can affect even the smallest part of your body and your teeth are not different from them. You may feel loosened teeth due to the affecting of ligaments and bones of mouth. Although, the problem is solved once the baby is out but those who have periodontitis must see the dentist immediately.
  • As your center of gravity is changing, maintaining right posture is of utmost importance to keep the backache at bay. Using supportive chair at work and firm mattresses at home can ease this symptom. Do it anyway, but keep your posture in line.
  • Stretch marks are the most common badge of pregnancy which is wanted but unavoidable too. At best, you can do is allow your weight to gain at a steady rate so that stretching is gradual and less extreme.
  • You tend to dehydrate when pregnant, so make sure you are drinking at least eight glasses of water every day.
  • The growing uterus exerts pressure on the rectum walls making muscles uncontrollable and they lead to gassy outbursts. An easy way to stop that is eating slowly as fast eating may cause you to inhale air forming gas pockets in the stomach.
  • Pregnancy triggers various allergies and rashes on your body parts like groin area, breasts and arm pits due to skin rubbing. Though common, but you must not treat them with any prescription or over-the-counter medications. Talk to your health care provider for some safe medications.
  • In case of cramps or physical discomfort, try changing positions like sitting, standing or sleeping more often.

Some nice things to do

  • At night, lie down in your bed quietly and feel the baby inside. You might feel the fluttering inside. No need to disappoint if you fail as first time mums is most likely to feel the baby movements by 18th week.
  • Talk to your partner and family member and decide whether you want to know the baby’s gender. Doing so will help you in lot of planning but having suspense has its own pleasure.
  • Most of the couples are worried over the expenses with the baby. Though, having a baby affects your finances badly but a little planning can make parenting easier to handle. You must start saving a small portion of your salary from now. These savings will help you in various indispensible expenses.

Remember one thing, every baby shows different developmental pace. So, you must not worry if your symptoms and body changes are not matching with your friends. Sooner or later, you tend to feel and experience the same.