17 weeks pregnant

At 17 weeks pregnant, your baby is about the size of a pear. Your little one will be measuring about 5 inches in height, from crown to rump and weighing around 140 gms. Isn't he growing too fast! You can take a look into his development along with what's in store for you this week below.

17 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby's Development

Here's a sneak peek into your baby's 17 weeks development:

Hearty connection

Your little one's heart will not beat randomly, as it is now being regulated by the brain. So, your baby's heart now continues to beat at 140 to 150 beats per minute. That's about twice as fast as yours!

Reflexes in motion

Your baby is preparing herself for the first breastfeed as she sharpens her sucking and swallowing skills. Moreover, she's also working hard on perfecting other survival reflexes needed outside the womb.

Tiny little fingerprints

Proof that your baby is one of a kind is getting developed. In the upcoming weeks, the pads on your little one's fingertips and toes will have unique swirls and creases, forming into her fingerprints.

Baby's gained some weight

Your baby's body is busy creating fat cells. Initially, these cells will appear in the face, neck, breast, and stomach wall and then later in the shoulders, arms, chest, back, and legs. These fat tissues are highly responsible for storing energy, insulating the body, and protecting the organs.

Growth in umbilical cord and placenta

As your baby is growing, the umbilical cord is becoming longer and thicker. The placenta, too, is expanding and increasing the blood circulation to supply oxygen and nutrients to the baby.

17 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms

At 17 weeks pregnant, here's what you might feel:


A real pain! Haemorrhoids are veins in the rectum that become over-dilated due to an increased blood volume in the pelvic region. Although haemorrhoids are quite common later in the pregnancy, it's best to take measures to prevent or minimise the effect. Try eating high-fibrous foods, drinking lots of water, and exercising regularly. If you're already suffering from haemorrhoids, try soaking in a warm bath without soap and avoid sitting for long durations. In case of severe pain or bleeding, contact your doctor.

Itchy or sensitive skin

As your 17 weeks pregnant belly and breasts are still growing, the skin stretches that may at times lead to stretch marks and itching. You can reduce the itching by staying hydrated and moisturising your skin twice in the day.

Indigestion and heartburn

If you experience heartburn and indigestion, avoid spicy foods or foods that you find are leading to your discomfort. Try eating six smaller meals rather than three larger ones. Do not lie down immediately after eating.

Leg cramps

Painful leg cramps can interrupt your sleep. Stretching your legs before sleeping or massaging the calf muscles when the cramp strikes can help relieve the pain. Also, staying hydrated and physically active and wearing comfortable, supportive shoes can help.

Things to Consider at the Seventeenth Week of Pregnancy

Here are a few points to keep in mind this week:

  • Ultrasound: At 17 weeks pregnant ultrasound, you are most likely to find out your baby's gender. However, the accuracy of the result also depends on your baby's position and other factors.

  • Childbirth classes: You've almost reached halfway through your second trimester, so now is the time to start looking for a childbirth class (if you haven't already). The earlier you search, the better options you will find in terms of available classes, dates and time. If you don't know where to begin your search, you can ask your doctor or other experienced family members or friends.

  • Genetic tests: If you have been offered any genetic tests, think about whether it is something you would like to do. In case of any concerns or questions regarding the tests, it is better to get them clarified with your doctor before taking the test.

  • Paediatrician: Have you chosen a paediatrician for your baby yet? If not, use some spare time from your schedule and lookup for the best paediatricians in your locality. You can ask other parents in your network or your ob-gyn for recommendations. Also, check if the healthcare services are covered by your insurance. Once you have your options ready, you can set up a face-to-face appointment with the paediatrician before your baby is born.

  • Communication: As financial and practical responsibilities come along with pregnancy, open communication with your partner can avoid or defuse conflicts. Talk to your partner about how you feel and let them be a part of the journey through involving in ultrasounds, prenatal classes, and general planning. If you need any outside support, you can talk to your doctor for guidance-related counselling and support groups.

Precautions & Tips at 17th Week of Pregnancy

At this stage of pregnancy, the following tips might come in handy for you:

  • Sciatica: The sciatic nerve is the largest in the body that runs from the lower back to the ankles and feet. Sciatica causes a sharp, shooting pain, tingling or numbness in the back or buttocks that radiates down to the back of your legs. This occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed by slipped or ruptured discs, bulging, arthritis, or by spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal). Apply a heating pad on the affected area or do back stretches to ease the pain.

  • Tooth changes: Hormonal changes can affect the gums, ligaments and bones in your mouth. This can loosen your teeth and even cause them to fall out (sometimes). Although the condition stops after delivery, visit the dentist if you have periodontitis.

  • Ligament pain: Thick bands called ligaments support your uterus. These ligaments run from the groin up the side of the abdomen. During pregnancy, these ligaments stretch out to house your growing bump, and this can cause sharp pains and dull aches in the lower abdomen. Spend time off your feet and reduce the intensity of your workouts to ease round ligament pain. Try wearing a belly band for a little additional support.

  • Hats, shade and sunscreen: Although hormones are majorly responsible for skin changes during pregnancy, the sun can make these complexion matters even worse. Try staying under shade when possible, use a wide-brimmed hat, apply a good sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher before stepping out. Sunscreen is the safest and best way to deal with sun rays during pregnancy.

  • Back pain: When back pain strikes, try doing some gentle yoga or Pilates. These will help stretch and loosen your spine while releasing the tension, which is a major factor in back pain. Moreover, yoga and Pilates boost your energy and mood levels and help you cope with pregnancy pains. You can also practice simple moves that strengthen your abdominal muscles that will help reduce strain on your lower back. However, avoid exercising on your back.

  • Non-dairy calcium foods: If dairy products fall in the food aversions list, you can take your calcium in different ways. Try calcium-fortified orange juice or other fruit juices, as they contain as much calcium as milk. Green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, almonds and calcium-fortified soy products like tofu are also great calcium sources.

  • Prenatal exercise: Before starting any new exercise, make sure you have a word with your doctor. You can try pregnancy-safe exercises like aerobic, dancing, prenatal yoga, stretching, swimming, cycling on a stationary bicycle, and walking. It is best to avoid contact sports, gymnastics, hot yoga, skiing, and scuba diving as they involve high risks of injury.

Ask Your Doctor

Here's a list of questions that you can ask your doctor at the next prenatal visit:

  • Is experiencing dizziness at this stage normal? How can I deal with it?

  • Do I have to get any of the genetic tests done?

  • Should I have amniocentesis?

  • Do I have to take the maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (or MSAFP for short) screening test?

  • Can I get a professional massage? Is it safe?

Track your baby's development with our week-by-week expert tips on pregnancy.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you're lucky enough, you may experience the first movement of your baby. Most expecting mothers experience the first moves between 16 to 18 weeks. However, if you don't, there's nothing to worry about. Some moms-to-be experience this moment around 18 to 22 weeks.

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