Your pregnancy: 17 weeks

How big is your baby now? Spread one of your hands wide open—your baby is about the same size.

Felt taco used to show how big baby is at 17 weeks
Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com

What’s going on in there: Fetal development at 17 weeks

Your baby is the size of a taco! She is (relatively) huge at nearly 13 centimetres (five inches) long and weighs an average of more than 5.5 ounces (160 grams). By 17 weeks pregnant, she is starting to pack on some layers of fat, starting her transition from a long and lean fetus to a cute, squishable baby. Her bones are also starting to harden, though she’ll be born with more bones than an adult (some will fuse together later). This flexibility will help her fit through the birth canal. She is starting to grow eyelashes and eyebrows and continues to develop her own unique fingerprints—a process that happens in layers over several weeks.

17 weeks pregnant symptoms

You’re likely ravenous these days—and that’s a good sign! Keep in mind that, while many women gain weight consistently over pregnancy, some will gain most of their baby weight during the second trimester. In related news, your belly and breasts are continuing their rapid growth, and the skin stretching can cause itchiness, so moisturize frequently. You might be suffering from heartburn and indigestion. You might also have increased vaginal discharge and be sweating more thanks to increased blood flow. (Some people call it a pregnancy glow—sure, let’s go with that!) If you’re already feeling your baby kick, you might notice that she moves in response to sounds this week, as well as after a meal and when you eat something that she enjoys, such as juices and sweets.

Headaches
That pounding pressure behind your temples is just one more thing to thank your hormones for. Pregnancy headaches are common but still annoying. You can help prevent headaches by trying to get as much sleep as possible, staying hydrated and eating regular snacks. To reduce their severity, try taking a nap in a dark room, drinking a big glass of water or popping a Tylenol (it’s safe to take during pregnancy in lower doses).

Pregnant woman standing outside in a white dress8 things I learned during pregnancy

What’s on your mind this week

Talk to your partner about life after baby
It’s true what they say: Communication really is key to a good marriage. If you’re in a relationship, start by having a conversation with your partner about how life will look after the baby arrives. Who will do the housework, and who will cook? How will night feedings work? Who is doing diapers? Is co-sleeping on the table? What about sleep training (also known as “cry it out”)? How often will each of you get a break and take time for yourselves? Talking through these decisions now, while you’re both rested and excited, will make it easier to make sure that you both have realistic expectations when the baby comes and resentment won’t brew while you’re busy taking care of the baby.

Just for kicks

Did you know that your placenta will grow about 50 kilometres of blood vessels during pregnancy? That’s both impressive and gross.  

Baby names

We doubt that you’ll be able to guess what the trendiest baby name in U.S. history is.

Pregnancy to-do list: Week 17

Sign up for infant CPR
If you’re an always-be-prepared kind of mom-to-be, you might want to take an infant CPR or first aid class before the baby arrives (and before you need to arrange all activities around a nursing and nap schedule). For minimal investment (about $30 and three hours of your time), you’ll learn what to do if your baby is choking, how to perform CPR and how to manage bleeding. For extra credit, encourage your partner or parents to come, too. 

Schedule self-care
Making a baby is hard work! Give yourself a break this week. Schedule a massage, a night out with your girlfriends (maybe to do some shopping?) or a date with a good book—whatever it is that makes you happy. It will take your mind off your growing body and baby and give you a chance to do something that’s just for you. And while you’re thinking about self-care, can we suggest you put a few of these items on your baby registry? Trust us on this one.  

Pamper pack

Read more:
How to indulge safely at the spa while pregnant
What you need to know before booking a prenatal massage
Next up: 18 weeks pregnant

 

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