Week 17 of Your Pregnancy

Pregnancy Week by Week: Week 17

Verywell / Bailey Mariner

At 17 weeks pregnant, your baby is putting on some fat and gaining muscle. Meanwhile, you may notice some new aches and pains or a stuffy nose.

17 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months? 4 months and 1 week

Which Trimester? Second trimester

How Many Weeks to Go? 23 weeks

Your Baby's Development at 17 Weeks

At 17 weeks, baby measures just over 5 1/4 inches (13.5 centimeters) when measured from the top of their head to the bottom of their buttocks (crown-rump length).

The average height for a baby at 17 weeks from the top of their head to their heels (known as crown-heel length) is just under 7 3/4 inches (19.6 centimeters). This week, baby weighs a little over 6 ounces (179 grams).

Fat

Your baby is making adipose or fat tissue. Fat cells first appear in the face, neck, breast, and stomach wall. Then, fat is added to the back, shoulders, arms, legs, and chest. Fat tissue has many important functions, such as storing energy, insulating the body, protecting the organs, and filling out the baby’s features.

Muscles and Bones

Your baby is getting bigger and stronger as muscles and bones continue to develop and mature.

Sucking

The baby can make sucking movements with the mouth and drink the amniotic fluid. As the weeks go on, the baby will get better at sucking. However, sucking and swallowing are not coordinated until around 32 to 34 weeks, and the sucking reflex doesn't fully mature until closer to 36 weeks.

Umbilical Cord and Placenta

The umbilical cord and placenta are steadily growing. The umbilical cord is getting thicker and longer to nourish your baby, while the placenta is expanding and increasing circulation to deliver nutrients and oxygen to the baby.

Explore a few of your baby's week 17 milestones in this interactive experience.

Your Common Symptoms This Week

As your second trimester continues, you may be one of the lucky ones with more energy and no symptoms. Or you may experience some common discomforts such as heartburnbleeding gums, nosebleeds, or headaches. A few other symptoms that may develop this week include minor aches and pains and a stuffy nose.

Lower Back and Pelvic Pain

With a growing uterus, stretching muscles, and changing hormones that affect your joints and ligaments, it's no wonder that backaches and pelvic aches are some of the most common pregnancy complaints. Studies show that about two out of three pregnant women have low back pain, and one out of five have pelvic pain.

Nasal Congestion

Another unpleasant side effect of pregnancy that typically arrives in the second trimester is pregnancy rhinitis or pregnancy-related nasal congestion. It affects about 39% of pregnant women, with most cases striking between week 13 and week 21.

The cause is unknown, but an increase of blood volume and hormones may cause mucous glands to ramp up production, leading to a stuffy nose and sneezing fits.

5:52

Things You Give Up During Pregnancy

Self-Care Tips

Continue to eat nutritious foods, drink plenty of fluids, and try to get enough rest. Along with the basics, you can also try to ease some of the second-trimester pregnancy symptoms and find a safe physical activity that you enjoy.

Dealing With Nasal Congestion

If pregnancy rhinitis has you sniffling, sneezing, and feeling congested, the first line of treatment is to try:

  • A saline spray or saline drops
  • A neti pot
  • Wearing a nasal strip over your nose to help open up your nasal passages
  • Sleeping with your head elevated on an extra pillow or two
  • Avoiding environmental triggers like chemical fumes, pollen, dust mites, and cigarette smoke
  • Using a humidifier in your home

If these methods aren't working, be sure to talk to your health care provider. Nasal congestion can be a sign of other conditions, such as allergies, a cold, or a sinus infection. Your doctor can determine if you need a medication or an antibiotic to relieve your symptoms and prescribe something safe.

Remember, not all over-the-counter medicine is safe to take during pregnancy, so ask your doctor before using any cold or allergy formulas.

Dealing With Back and Pelvic Pain

Back and pelvic pain tend to get worse as pregnancy progresses. To help relieve discomfort and try to prevent it from getting worse, you can:

  • Get a little exercise to stretch and strengthen your muscles.
  • Try not to stand for a long time.
  • Wear a back and belly support belt.
  • Lift with your legs; instead of bending down at your waist to pick up items, bend at your knees while keeping your back straight.
  • Wear comfortable, supportive shoes and avoid high heels.

Prenatal Exercise

Exercise may help prevent and relieve mild back and pelvic pain, but there are many other reasons to engage in physical activity during pregnancy. Exercise can help you stay within the recommended weight guidelines, decrease your risk of gestational diabetes, lower your risk of cesarean birth, and help your body recover faster after your baby is born.

Before starting a new exercise program, talk to your doctor to be sure it is safe for you and your individual circumstances. Prenatal exercises that are generally safe during a healthy, low-risk pregnancy include:

While you're working out, take care to stay hydrated and avoid overheating or overdoing it.

It is not recommended to engage in exercises that could cause harm to you and your unborn child. Activities with a high risk of falling or injury that are not recommended during pregnancy include:

  • Contact sports
  • Gymnastics
  • Hot Yoga
  • Scuba diving
  • Skiing

Your Week 17 Checklist

  • Talk to your doctor about your symptoms, including nasal congestion.
  • Look into getting a belly support band.
  • Start or continue a prenatal exercise routine.
  • Talk openly with your partner about intimacy.

Advice for Partners

Your sex life may not be as active as it was before pregnancy. Pregnancy symptoms can definitely ruin the mood, and some women are just not feeling up to sexual activity. The lower interest in sex may continue throughout the pregnancy.

However, during the second trimester, your partner may be feeling better. Besides less nausea and more energy, your partner may experience an increase in vaginal lubrication and blood flow to the genital area that can make the clitoris and vagina more sensitive. These changes can lead to heightened sexual arousal and desire.

Of course, pregnancy doesn't only affect your partner's interest in sex. Your desire may change, as well. You may enjoy the changes happening to your partner’s body and feel a stronger sense of connection, or you might feel anxiety about harming the baby during intercourse and stress about your upcoming role as a parent.

You may also be struggling to adjust to your partner’s evolving identity from sexual partner to expectant mother (though these identities are not mutually exclusive!). All these feelings are normal. But, it's important to communicate openly as both of you experience sexual changes. Talk about it, reserving judgment, and remember that the both of you are adjusting.

Upcoming Doctor’s Visits

Recommended Products

If you're dealing with a stuffy nose or occasional nosebleeds, consider a humidifier.

Humidifiers

Humidifiers add moisture to the air. They can help relieve dryness in the nasal passages as well as ease the symptoms of nasal congestion, allergies, or a cold. After the baby is born and your nose is back to normal, you can move the humidifier to the nursery.

Special Considerations

The result of your genetic screening or diagnostic tests may be ready. Waiting for results is hard, but hearing the results can be even more difficult.

Results of Genetic Screening and Testing

Genetic screening tests are screening tests, which tell you, your partner, and the doctor your baby's risk of having a specific disorder. These tests cannot tell if the baby actually has the condition. Therefore, if the result of the screening comes back to say that the baby has a higher than average chance of an issue, your doctor will likely encourage you to have more tests.

Diagnostic tests such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis are diagnostic tests, which tell you, your partner, and your doctor if the baby has a disorder. The results of these tests are more certain.

About 3% of babies are born with congenital abnormalities. It can be devastating to hear that your child has a health concern. Some conditions may only lead to minor issues, but other disorders can have serious effects on your child and your family.

Learning the results ahead of time allows you and your partner to discuss your options and make difficult decisions. It also gives you an opportunity to get a head start on educating yourself, preparing for your baby's needs, and planning the best possible life and outcome for your child and your family.

A Word From Verywell

Your baby is getting longer and stronger with growing muscles and the addition of some fat. The baby's even big and strong enough for you to possibly feel their movements. But, if you haven't felt the baby move yet, don't worry.

You have a good chance of feeling your first fetal movements next week. Many moms, even first-time moms, begin to feel the baby between week 18 and week 20. Next week may also bring the opportunity to peek inside your baby's world since the big mid-pregnancy ultrasound is coming up soon.

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