At 17 weeks you’ve adjusted to your pregnancy and learned to cope with the symptoms. The regular routine checkups and ultrasounds have helped monitor the growth of your unborn baby throughout. You’ve heard your baby’s heartbeat and felt the first kick. This week brings more development. Your baby’s learning to breathe.
The fetus is growing fast. It measures between 5 to 5.5 inches in length and weighs close to 5 ounces. The baby weighs more than the placenta.
The umbilical cord is the main medium for the supply of blood, oxygen and nourishment for the fetus in the womb. The umbilical cord develops; it grows in length, strength and thickness. Your baby’s sense of hearing is progressing rapidly. Thus, your baby can hear sounds in the womb and may get startled at the sound of loud noises.
When a woman is 17 weeks pregnant, the fetus starts developing brown fat under the skin. The layers of adipose tissue under the skin will help keep the baby warm after birth. As the pregnancy progresses, the fetus develops additional deposits of brown fat.
The tiny skeletal structure is rubbery cartilage. They are not solid bones like those of adults. At 17 weeks, the cartilage transforms into the bones. The bones grow stronger with every passing week, but they remain flexible for easy movement through the birth canal. Development of bone in infants continues even after birth.
The baby at presents derives oxygen via the umbilical cord. However she cannot do so after birth. Your baby at this stage is also preparing for independent breathing. The lungs have branched out and getting ready to start the function.
Changes to the body
Your belly develops a pouch like appearance. The internal organs shift to make place for your baby. The uterus presses down on your intestines and upwards on your stomach. This results in digestive problems of the digestive system such as heartburn, acidity, gas, bloating and constipation.
The increased blood flow in the body brings about major changes. You may sweat excessively. The proportion of vaginal discharge increases.
Like already mentioned above,. Stretch marks start appearing by the 17th week. They develop on the breasts, the belly and inner thighs. As the skin stretches, it becomes thin and dry. It develops an itchy sensation. The milk glands have kicked into action. It has started producing the colostrum- the thick, yellow milk rich in proteins that will nourish your baby in the first few days. You may also observe wet spots on the sheets or water sitting around the nipples.
You may have difficulty sleeping on account of three reasons – leg cramps, backaches and weird dreams. You will feel a lot of baby movements (time of the day depends upon when your baby is most active).
How should you prepare for this week?
- Eat a balanced diet and take a rental multi-vitamins regularly. Your diet should contain Protein, Iron, folate, calcium, zinc, Vitamin A, C and b group vitamins.
- Try using a pillow between the legs to increase comfort when sleeping.
- You can plug breast milk leaks by wearing breast pads in your bra. The leakage is not going to be much.
- Take pictures of your flourishing baby bump. One day you’ll look back at them and feel happy.
- Enroll for childbirth class. It will prepare you for labor and delivery.
- Discuss with your partners various issues concerning your baby- baby names, about keeping the gender a surprise and joining a childbirth class.
- Get Routine checkups, ultrasounds and tests.