Your baby is now the size of a potato, measuring five (5) inches from crown to rump and weighing about five (5) ounces. You are in your fourth month of pregnancy.
During week 17 of pregnancy, your baby begins to develop adipose tissue, which is the fat that is forming under your baby’s skin. All of that baby fat will help your baby regulate his or her heat production and metabolism. Sweat glands also begin to form under the skin. The bones continue to harden, changing from soft cartilage into hard bone. The circulatory and urinary systems now completely developed and functioning. Your baby’s heart is now regulated by the brain, beating at about 140 to 150 beats per minute.
The umbilical cord, which is your baby’s lifeline to the placenta, begins to grow thicker, stronger, and longer during week 17 of pregnancy. Your baby may even be playing with the umbilical cord with his or her hands. On your baby’s face and head, the head hair as well as the eyebrows and eyelashes begin to fill in. The ears, which are in place on the sides of the head, start to pop up away from the head. Your baby continues to be able to hear the sounds in his or her environment which include your voice as well as the noises of your digestive system and heartbeat. Your baby continues practicing swallowing and sucking, two skills necessary for survival outside the womb. During week 17 of pregnancy, your baby also begins inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid with the lungs.
During week 17 of pregnancy, your appetite may be increasing. In fact, you may begin to feel hungry all of the time. Make sure to eat a well-balanced diet to keep both yourself and your baby healthy. You should have an obvious baby bump. As your abdomen grows, you may find your center of balance is off. Be careful when standing up to avoid tipping over. Also be careful on stairs to avoid falling. You may want to begin wearing shoes with low heels, although plenty of women continue to wear high heels throughout pregnancy. As your blood volume continues to increase, you may feel lightheaded or experience dizziness, which is another reason to take care when standing up. Other symptoms during week 17 of pregnancy include five to ten pounds of weight gain, heartburn, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, headaches, backaches, stretch marks, and dry eyes. Many women also report vivid dreams during pregnancy, which are thought to be caused by your heightened emotions about the impending birth of your baby.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not meant to replace the professional medical advice of your health care provider.
17 weeks pregnant: http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy-week-by-week/17-weeks-pregnant_70769
17th week of pregnancy: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/weekbyweek/week17.htm
Curtis, Glade B. & Judith Schuler. 2011. Your pregnancy week by week. 7th edn. Philadelphia: Running Press.
Stone, Joanne & Keith Eddleman, eds. 2003. The pregnancy bible: Your complete guide to pregnancy and early parenthood. Willowdale, Ontario: Firefly Books.
Your pregnancy: 17 weeks: http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-17-weeks_1106.bc
Your pregnancy week by week: Weeks 17-20: http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/your-pregnancy-week-by-week-weeks-17-20
4-D Ultrasound of 17 Week Fetus: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sucking_his_thumb_and_waving.jpg
Baby Bump at 17 Weeks: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sheila_17_weeks.jpg