illustration of developing human baby at 17 weeks

17 weeks pregnant

For information about weeks 16 to 19 of a twin or multiple pregnancy, tap here.

Baby’s senses are developing fast, and her brain is beginning to coordinate with her other developing systems, like the way it’s starting to regulate her heartbeat, instead of letting it beat willy-nilly like it has been. Baby’s umbilical cord is also growing stronger, and getting better at delivering nutrients to her. Basically, Baby is having a ball, at this point. You, on the other hand, could be seeing your sleep schedule start to get disrupted, and you might notice weird dreams as a result.

How’s Baby?

Baby is now 5 inches long, about the size of a pomegranate, and the soft cartilage that makes up her skeleton is ossifying, or turning into bone. You can help Baby out with the bone-hardening process by making sure you’re getting plenty of the usual suspects: calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, C, and D, and then a couple of less common nutrients, like riboflavin and phosphorous.

The umbilical cord is strengthening, and Baby’s heart is beating up to 150 times a minute, and is now controlled by her brain rather than beating at random intervals. Furthermore, her brain is continuing to develop senses of sight, smell, sound and touch, and her arms and legs have reached their normal proportions and will continue to grow at this constant rate from here on out. She is developing her coordination, so that she will be all ready to take on the world in just a little more than a trimester and a half. If Baby is a girl, she is also already producing millions of eggs in her ovaries that she could use to be a mom herself someday!

How’s mom?

The main pregnancy symptom for women around week 17 is round ligament pain, felt in the lower stomach and pelvis as the uterus expands and puts pressure on the nearby ligaments. In order to deal with these pains, try lying on your left side rather than your back in order to most reduce the amount of pressure that your uterus doles out to its surroundings. You may want to pick up a maternity belt in order to help support your belly, and baby. Bodily fluids like vaginal discharge, sweat, and mucous are also probably flowing more than normal, as a result of the increased blood circulation in your body. Your appetite is going to pick up soon as well, because a growing baby needs more and more nutrition each day to keep development on course.

You might also start experiencing weird dreams, probably due to your most likely disrupted sleep schedule. While pregnancy hormones and the fact that you’re going through a major change in your life may play a part in the fact that you could be experiencing strange or vivid dreams, it could also be the case that you're just remembering your dreams more vividly than before. If you’re waking up a few times every night for a bathroom run, aches and pains, or just straight up insomnia, you have a better chance of remembering the dreams you were having before each time you wake up than you do of remembering dreams from the middle of the night when you sleep until morning. Keeping track of your dreams, especially if they’re particularly vivid, can be a handy way to keep an eye on your state of mind as your due date approaches.

Read more
  • U Gembruch, C Shi, J Smrcek. "Biometry of the Fetal Heart between 10 and 17 Weeks of Gestation." Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy. 15(1):20-31. Web. Mar-00.
  • F Hytten. "Blood volume changes in normal pregnancy." Clinics in Haemotology. 14(3):601-12. Web. Oct-85.
  • "Prenatal visits during the second trimester." Stanford Children's Health. Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, n.d. Web.
  • Lexi Krock. "Fertility Throughout Life." Nova. PBS, 10/1/2015. Web.
  • "Fetal Growth Chart." BabyYourBaby. Utah Department of Health, n.d. Web.
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