By Today's ParentUpdated May 16, 2022
PHOTO: MANDY MILKS, ERIK PUTZ, ANTHONY SWANEVELD. FELT: THEFELTSTORE.COM
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.
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).
Did you know that your placenta will grow about 50 kilometres of blood vessels during pregnancy? That’s both impressive and gross.
We doubt that you’ll be able to guess what the trendiest baby name in U.S. history is.
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.
Give your BFF this post-delivery all natural care package. The 'Almost a Mommy Gift Set' contains nursing pads, massage oil, belly butter, shower steamers, nursing balm and a bark & cranberry tin candle to help her care for herself while she cares for her newborn. $100, ecofillosophy.comPhoto: Ecofillosophy
Those first few weeks with baby are tough, and any new mom will be looking for some cozy yet stylish clothes to wear. These leggings are actually maternity tights, so there’s plenty of stretch to mould to a new mom’s changing body. Plus, paired with a long tunic and necklace, yoga pants are essentially eveningwear, right? The Everyday Legging, $104, alday.caPhoto: alday.ca
Whether it’s a weekly food service like Chef’s Plate, with a box of everything needed to prep a meal at home, or a local catering company in your neighbourhood that drops off already-cooked gourmet meals, the way to the heart is through the stomach. You can also make a home-cooked meal or delicious baked goods to bring over—trust us, the new parents will be eternally grateful.Photo: Erik Putz
Guys, with all those late-night cluster feedings and rocking that sweet new baby, Momma will need some over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones so she can keep up with One Bad Mother! With no cord to fuss over, she can do whatever she has to hands-free. Beats Solo 3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones in Rose Gold, $329.95, indigo.caPhoto: Indigo
If you opt to breastfeed, it's fairly likely that you're going to deal with some sore ta-tas. These super soft pads are made with 100% cotton flannel and filled with flax seed that can be heated up to help clear clogged ducts, prevent mastitis, maximize milk output while pumping, or relieve pain associated with infections, pumping and let down, or you can pop them in the freezer and use them to help relieve engorgement. Donut Give Up! breast comfort packs, from $25, lillemer.com
For whatever reason, becoming a new mom seems to comes hand-in-hand with dry skin—especially if you’re breastfeeding. This intense serum is infused with two forms of hyaluronic acid to intensely moisturize. Bonus: it absorbs quickly to deliver a concentrated boost of hydration for busy moms on the go! Beauty Counter Countermatch Intense Moisture Serum, $65, beautycounter.comPhoto: Beauty Counter
She’s in for long nights and lots of couch/recliner/rocker time. A soft, stylish blanket is guaranteed to make it all better (or at least look better). We love this beautiful blanket that’s made in Peru for Canadian company Cambie. Blanket, $120, cambiedesign.comPhoto: Cambie
This may not be the sexiest gift, but it is practical. Based in Vancouver, this gifting company prides themselves in sourcing only the best products, tested by real moms. This gift set comes with organic perineal balm to sooth any tears, bottom spray, maternity pads and a couple pairs of those fabulous mesh undies you wish you stole from the hospital—you’re welcome. Birth baby basket, $107, basicbabyco.comPhoto: Basic Baby Co.
Those first few weeks at home with your baby can get busy, leaving you very little time to sit down to a proper meal. Snack guilt-free with a subscription box full of yummy snacks vetted by a certified holistic health coach. You’ll discover tons of natural, organic products without ever having to make a trip to the grocery store. Healthy Me Living snack subscription box, $27/month. cratejoy.comPhoto: Cratejoy.com
A subscription to a monthly beauty box is a sweet gift that keeps on giving. There are plenty on the market, but we’re big fans of FabFitFun. It’s jam-packed with everything from beauty goodies to lifestyle treats. $50 US per month (plus shipping), fabfitfun.comPhoto: FabFitFun
The gift of a clean house, guys—that’s what she wants. A one-time deep clean or a a weekly or monthly service will mean the world to tired new parents.Photo: iStockphoto
Gee, you know what else would go really well with those Bluetooth headphones? A subscription to Spotify or Apple Music. That way, she can get down with all her favourite music, commercial-free. A subscription to a streaming service like Netflix, Crave or Hulu is awesome, too—she needs entertainment for all those nighttime feedings. Spotify, $10 per month, spotify.com; Apple Music, $10 per month, apple.comPhoto: Spotify
It’s too much work to leave the house with a new baby in tow, so why not call in a manicurist to pamper the new mom at home?Photo: iStockphoto
Gift cards make no-fail presents. Team up with friends and give a big one (that robe from Anthropologie, come on!) or tackle a few gift cards individually from different places. We love Saje, Lush, Gap and Indigo, but anywhere that will appeal to the new mom and give her the ability to shop for herself deserves an A+ (and if they deliver to her door, even better).Photos: Lush and Anthropologie
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