Baby this week
At week 17 your baby is now around the size of an onion and measures about 13cm (5 inches) in length. Her weight is now close to 170 grams (6oz).
A new kind of growth spurt is just around the corner for your baby. Until this point, your baby has met many milestones in her development such as the growth of limbs and internal organs. Soon, she will be developing fat tissue which will not only fill out her little body but will also serve to regulate her body temperature and store energy. In fact, in an 8-pound newborn baby, more than 5 pounds of the weight is pure fat.
If you were to be able to see your baby during week 17, you would see a long, lanky baby, with thin legs and arms, and skin that is extremely wrinkled. However, once your baby starts developing fat tissue, her body will start to plump up and she will look more like a newborn baby with chubby cheeks and legs.
Your baby’s face is also continuing to develop as eyes and ears move into their proper position. Her brain is beginning to develop the areas that will control her sense of taste, touch, hearing, smell, and vision. It is known that even in these early stages of pregnancy, your baby can hear and will be able to see light in several weeks.
At only 170 grams, your baby is still very tiny but is also very active. Even at this small size, your baby is now large enough that she could kick and make movements that you can actually feel.
Your body this week
As you enter week 17 of your pregnancy, you will start noticing those slight feelings of movement in your abdomen as your baby swims and squirms. It will feel like a fluttery sensation, almost like when you get butterflies in your stomach. For first time mums, it can be hard to recognise these sensations and your baby. The sensation is so light at first that you may mistake if for gas. If you’ve had a baby previously you may instantly recognise them as a baby movement.
Your body is continuing to change in subtle ways. You might see a few extra pounds accumulating around your waistline this week, and you may start to see some changes happening to your skin. It’s very common to have dry, itchy skin during pregnancy. Breakouts of acne are also a common symptom. Your body is also producing extra pigment now which can cause dark spots to develop on your face or linea nigra, running from your navel down your abdomen. All skin changes that occur during pregnancy are harmless and will go away after your baby is born.
During the second trimester of pregnancy, it is common to feel a resurgence of your sex drive. Many couples worry that having sex will somehow harm the baby, but this is not the case. As long as there are no complications such as placenta praevia (a low lying placenta), or problems with a bleeding or a weak cervix, having sex is perfecting harmless to your baby. You might notice that there is some slight cramping after sex as the muscles in your uterus may slightly contract. These cramps should be minor and will go away within a few minutes.
Leg cramps are a common side effect of pregnancy. It’s thought that leg cramps are due to a build-up of acids in your muscles; however, what causes this build-up is a mystery. Regardless of the cause, they hurt! To help stave off nightly leg cramps, drink plenty of fluids, stretch your calf and foot muscles daily, try not to cross your legs, and take a warm bath before bed.
Skip forward to Week 18 here