Should I Have a Baby Bump at 17 Weeks
At 17 weeks of pregnancy, your baby bump may begin to be more visible as your fetus grows, although some women don’t show for a few more weeks

At 17 weeks of pregnancy, your baby bump may begin to be more visible, although some women don’t show for a few more weeks. 

Your fetus is growing, and your body is undergoing various changes. The round ligaments that support the uterus thicken and are stretched. The uterus continues to expand, and the internal organs start repositioning to provide space to accommodate the growing fetus. The center of gravity changes at this stage, and you may feel off balance. 

The umbilical cord starts getting longer and thicker to provide the increasing demand for nutrients from the baby. Changes in your body are attributed to the decreased level of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone and adjustments to the level of estrogen and progesterone hormones.

As your baby bump becomes more visible, your uterus can be felt through the abdominal wall.

What symptoms should I expect at 17 weeks?

Most women find the second trimester to be more manageable because morning sickness fades, and acute exhaustion and breast soreness subside.

Most early pregnancy symptoms will have reduced or disappeared as the fetal metabolic and oxygen supply is taken over by the placenta. Your breast size may increase as your milk glands start to prepare to breastfeed. 

Symptoms specific week 17 of pregnancy include:

Fetal development at 17 weeks

At 17 weeks, the fetus typically weighs around 150 grams and measures 13 cm from the crown to butt. The fetus continues to grow in proportion with its head. 

The skeleton, which is made up of soft cartilage, starts transitioning to a solid bone. Major body systems are getting established. Hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes grow longer, and the fetus can open and close its mouth and move its eyeballs even though the eyes are still shut. The heart is now controlled by the brain and may be beating at 140-150 beats per minute. Most of the survival reflexes, such as sucking and swallowing, are being perfected in the uterus during this time.

SLIDESHOW

Conception: The Amazing Journey from Egg to Embryo See Slideshow

What tests should be done at 17 weeks?

During your check-up, your doctor may measure the height of your uterus to gauge your baby’s growth, as well as check your weight, blood pressure, and fetal heart rate. To ensure the proper growth of the fetus, your doctor may advise a few screening tests to rule out chromosomal aberrations and neural tube defects. Tests include

What to do at 17 weeks of pregnancy

  • You should consume your daily recommended extra calories, which will provide adequate nutrition for both you and your baby.
  • Increase the intake of foods with omega acids because this helps with the baby’s eye and brain development.
  • Stick to flats or low-heeled shoes to address the change in the center of gravity due to internal organ repositioning.
  • Take multivitamins containing iron, folic acid, and calcium.
  • Increase the uptake of vitamin D (per doctor recommendation) for bone health and development.
  • Practice stress management and get plenty of sleep.
  • Exercise regularly.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/1/2021
References
Image Source: iStock Images

BabyCenter. Pregnancy Week by Week. https://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy/week-by-week

BetterHealth. Pregnancy - week by week. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-week-by-week