“What month?” – friends often ask the expectant mother. This is the beginning of the fifth month and at this time the baby is actively developing: the baby listens to sounds coming from outside and distinguishes his mother’s voice. It’s time to start reading fairy tales aloud, listening to classical music and talking to the baby, stroking the tummy. Let it be only the 17th week of pregnancy now, but a woman already feels like a real mommy at such moments.
17th week of pregnancy and fetal size
The fetus, which has been developing successfully, grows up to 140 g in weight and 13–14 cm in length from crown to tailbone. If you look at a photo of an ultrasound of pregnancy at the 17th week, you can see the ears, eyes, formed arms and legs, and also determine the sex of the baby. The fruit size can be compared with the palm of an adult. An ultrasound at the 17th week of pregnancy will give a complete picture of the development of the fetus – the size, heart rate and physical activity of the baby.
At the 17th week of pregnancy, the baby’s back and neck muscles contract. Due to this, the fetal head rises and occupies an almost vertical position (previously, the neck was bent, and the chin was pressed to the chest). The handles are fully bent at the elbow joints, and the fingers are clenched into fists most of the time and only occasionally straighten.
The child develops subcutaneous fatty tissue – white and brown fat begins to be deposited. The latter, after birth, will help the child maintain body temperature and not freeze. Sweat glands appear in the baby’s skin.
The baby’s weight at the 17th week of pregnancy is 160 g (comparable to the size of a pear ), and he reaches 18 cm.
Baby teeth are covered with dentin (dense tooth tissue), and permanent teeth are laid under them.
By week 17, the formation of the conduction system of the heart is completed. Due to this, now it can work autonomously, that is, independently of brain signals.
The previously formed bronchi begin to divide into thin tubules that end in future alveoli (small blisters at the ends of the bronchi). Now the fetal respiratory organs look like many branches with “clusters of berries” at the ends
What happens to a woman’s weight?
At the 17th week of pregnancy, it increases by an average of 2.5-3.6 kg. However, weight gain in each case is individual and depends on many factors:
- The initial weight before pregnancy
- The presence of toxicosis
- The nature of the woman’s diet and physical activity
Only a specialist can clarify whether the existing increase is optimal for a given woman.
With the onset of the 17th week of pregnancy, feelings of lack of air, fatigue and inexplicable weakness may somewhat overshadow the baby’s bearing. The expectant mother needs to walk more often, communicate with pleasant, positive-minded people, often rest and not be too long in an upright position.
We remind you that excessive weight gain negatively affects a woman’s health, the course of pregnancy, and the fetus’s development. That is why dynamic monitoring by specialists throughout pregnancy is so important.
What are the reasons for the appearance of extra pounds? The most common include genetic predisposition and malnutrition (overeating, eating disorders, incorrect diet). Some reasons are directly related to pregnancy: toxicosis and fluid retention in the body.
To ensure that weight gain meets medical standards at this stage of pregnancy, take a responsible approach to your diet and eating habits.
As measures to reduce weight, a pregnant woman should not use strict diets and fasting. The diet should be as varied as possible. Previously, our articles discussed the topic of losing weight during pregnancy in more detail.
The uterus grows, increases and crowds the rest of the organs, so frequent urination is possible. Sleeping on your back becomes increasingly problematic, disrupting blood circulation in large vessels. The best position for resting and sleeping is on the side. You can use a pillow between your legs.
Nutrition in the 17th week of pregnancy
Expectant mothers should adhere to the following recommendations:
- Nutrition should be rational and balanced. Food should be taken in small portions. Contrary to popular belief, you should not eat “for two” – the baby does not need more food. It is enough that the woman’s diet is varied and contains the necessary amount of macro- and micronutrients. For good digestion, taking a walk immediately after eating for 15-30 minutes is better.
- Do not eat spicy, too salty or fatty foods. Spicy foods and spices can contribute to heartburn, excessive salt intake retains water in the body, which is highly undesirable with a tendency to edema, and fatty and fried foods create a feeling of heaviness. But fruits and raw and boiled vegetables improve bowel function, contain many vitamins, and strengthen the immune system. Therefore, the expectant mother should consume them daily.
The stomach at this time is small. it may not even be visible in big-size women.
Medical examinations in 17th week of pregnancy
This week of pregnancy is optimal for the screening procedure, more commonly known as the “triple test”. It is usually done during the second trimester, preferably from 16 to 18 weeks, to identify any potentially serious issues with the baby’s development and assess its progress according to the due date. Screening tests can be used to detect major deformities and genetic disorders. They often lead to fatal consequences.
The triple test is so named because the study evaluates the result of three different tests. For them, blood is taken from a vein, the following indicators are studied:
- concentration of hCG (chorionic gonadotropin);
- AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) level;
- free estriol.
A comprehensive assessment of all indicators is conducted to determine the risks of developing pathology. In addition, a woman undergoes an examination by a gynecologist, and passes standard blood and urine tests.
Twin development at the 17th week of pregnancy
From the 15th week of pregnancy, the belly of the future mother begins to increase, and from the 17th week, it can already exceed the size of the belly of a woman with one baby at the same time. The organ of hearing by 17 weeks is already fully formed. It clearly distinguishes the auricle – the “catcher” of sound, the middle ear – the conductor of sound, and the inner ear – the transformer of sound into a nerve impulse that the brain perceives. Now the kids are beginning to hear, which means that future parents of twins should not only communicate with their babies but also listen to music with them and try to avoid quarrels with a scream.
Tips for pregnant mother in 17th week of pregnancy
- With frequent urination, try to drink most of the liquid in the morning and drink as little as possible a couple of hours before bedtime.
- If you experience cramps during urination, pain in the lower abdomen or the lumbar region, or body temperature rises, consult a doctor as soon as possible – these may be symptoms of cystitis or pyelonephritis.
- If you experience nosebleeds, don’t panic. Tilt your head forward, and put ice or something cold on the bridge of your nose for a few minutes. But if the bleeding doesn’t stop, go see a doctor.
- With increased bleeding gums, use a toothbrush with soft bristles, and avoid peppery, salty and pickled foods that irritate the oral mucosa. If your gums bleed constantly, see your dentist.
- Choose comfortable shoes with a heel no higher than 3-4 cm with non-slip soles. This will help avoid injury.
- If the calf muscle is cramped, pull your toes towards you, loosen the tension, and repeat this with more force. After the muscle has relaxed, massage the lower leg (movements from the foot to the knee). Next, slowly walk around the room for several minutes to restore blood circulation, then lie down comfortably. If your seizures become more frequent, see your doctor.
It is necessary to correct the daily regimen so that there is enough time for a good sleep, walks on the street for at least 1.5-2 hours a day, especially before bedtime.
It is important to pay attention to dosed physical activity. Activity is useful in preparing for childbirth.
If possible, buy comfortable maternity clothes for home and a few everyday kits for work and outings.