Week 17 Ultrasound Image: https://www.thebirthcompany.co.uk/your-pregnancy-guide/second-trimester/pregnancy-week-17
What to Expect This Appointment?
17 weeks, the fetus is the size of the palm of the hand, or an estimated five inches long. The body fat that began to accumulate last week, is continuing to provide heat. This body fat will continue to accumulate until birth when it will contribute to 65% of their body weight. If parents haven’t found out the gender of the baby, this week could be the week.
This is the first week that fetal movements are strong enough to be felt by the mother. Many first time mothers will experience the joy of movement from their little ones during this week. If mothers don’t feel movement, there isn’t any cause to panic. Sometimes it takes a little longer for mothers to feel their babies kick, especially if they have had multiple pregnancies.
What is Developing?
17 weeks, the fetus heart is regulated by the brain and is no longer just random beats. The established heart rate is around 140-160 beats per minute. This is almost twice as fast as an adult. During 17 weeks, the fetus is focused on sucking and swallowing motions. This is to prepare them for suckling against the breast or bottle nipple once they are born. This is part of the survival reflexes that babies are born with.
The baby is able to hear what is going on in the outside world. This means that loud noises, doorbells ringing, and dogs barking can startle the fetus. While most mothers would think it best to avoid these situations, the opposite is true. Research has shown that babies that were exposed to alarming noises like dogs barking in the womb, will be able to handle and sleep through dogs barking after they are born. This is due to these noises being familiar to them. It is the same practice with the parents’ voices. The more the parents talk to the baby, the better the bond between child and parent and the child will immediately recognize their parents’ voice.
Allergy season is a nightmare for normal people, but especially for expectant mothers. If the congestion or the snoring gets to be too much, consider using nasal strips at night. They might not be glamourous, but they will help open up the nasal passageways. 17 weeks will see the return of the appetite and mothers shouldn’t be alarmed when they find themselves craving excess amounts of food. It is important to remember that you only need 300 additional calories to support the pregnancy. Going overboard will only cause the mother to accumulate more fat that will be harder to work off post baby.
Sharp, periodic pain primarily in the legs could be caused by the fetus applying pressure to the sciatic nerve. This nerve runs under the uterus directly to the legs. The best way to address the pain is to apply both heat and cold compressions to the leg.
If eye dryness becomes an issue, over the counter eye drops are safe to use. Contact lens wearers should consider switching to their glasses if this becomes a consistent problem.