What to Expect When You Are 17 Weeks Pregnant

Being 17 weeks pregnant marks an exciting milestone – you’ve made it nearly halfway through your pregnancy! At 17 weeks, your baby is the size of a pomegranate and rapidly developing.

As your body continues to change and your baby grows, you’ll experience new symptoms and developments. Here’s a comprehensive look at what to expect when you are 17 weeks pregnant.

Key Takeaways When 17 Weeks Pregnant

  • Your baby is about 5 inches long and 4-5 oz in weight
  • You may start feeling first movements of your baby
  • Your belly is noticeably growing
  • Symptoms like nausea, fatigue, and frequent urination continue
  • Backaches, leg cramps, and other aches/pains are common
  • Your blood pressure will be monitored for preeclampsia risk
  • You’ll likely have your quad marker screening test
  • Your breasts are getting bigger to prepare for breastfeeding
  • Skin changes like stretch marks and darkening areola can occur
  • You may experience round ligament pain as your uterus grows
  • Your healthcare provider will be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat
  • You’ll start needing maternity clothes for your changing body
  • You can feel your baby move for the first time around now

As you start the second trimester and near the halfway point, pregnancy symptoms continue while your belly grows more noticeably. Your 17 week ultrasound gives you a glimpse of your active baby. Here’s a detailed overview of what to expect when 17 weeks pregnant.

Baby Development at 17 Weeks

Your baby at 17 weeks is about the size of a pomegranate, measuring approximately 5 inches long from head to rump and weighing around 4-5 ounces.

Development is happening quickly as your baby gains weight and their organs, muscles, bones and nervous system mature. The umbilical cord continues supplying nutrients and oxygen from your placenta.

At 17 weeks pregnant, your baby can move their joints and is becoming much more active. They can now make facial expressions like frowning, squinting, and grimacing. Early fingerprints are forming on your baby’s tiny fingers.

Your baby’s eyes can blink and sense light, while their ears are starting to pick up muffled versions of your voice and heartbeat. The umbilical cord is growing thicker and stronger as it transports 300-400 gallons of blood between your placenta and baby each day.

Size and Appearance

  • Length: 5.1 inches
  • Weight: 4.7 oz
  • Size: Pomegranate
  • Fingernails and toenails beginning to form
  • Peach fuzz hair covers entire body
  • Facial features become more distinct

Developmental Milestones

  • Early fingerprints forming
  • Hears muffled sounds
  • Can sense light / blink / move eyes
  • Makes facial expressions
  • Can kick and stretch arms/legs

Your baby is busy moving around inside your womb at 17 weeks pregnant. While you won’t feel distinct kicks yet, some mothers may sense the first fluttering movements of the baby during week 17 as they start to become more active.

Common Symptoms at 17 Weeks Pregnant

At 17 weeks pregnant, some of the unpleasant first trimester symptoms start fading while new aches and changes to your body occur. Here are some common symptoms you may experience.

Fatigue – As your bump grows, fatigue continues plaguing your first half of pregnancy. Try taking brief naps and getting extra rest.

Nausea – Hormone changes can still cause nausea or vomiting for some women at 17 weeks. Eat small, frequent meals and avoid trigger foods.

Frequent urination – Growing uterus puts pressure on bladder, causing more bathroom trips. This continues throughout pregnancy.

Constipation – Hormones cause digestion to slow down, leading to constipation. Drink lots of water and eat high-fiber foods.

Cramping – Some mild uterine cramping and gas pains are normal as uterus expands. Call doctor if severe.

Bloating – Hormone changes can cause bloating or swelling, especially in face, hands, feet and ankles.

Headaches – Changing hormone levels, increased blood volume and other factors cause headaches. Rest and hydrate.

Dizziness – Lower blood pressure and increased blood volume can lead to dizziness. Rise slowly and rest.

Itchy belly – Itchy abdomen is common as skin expands. Use stretch mark creams and avoid hot showers.

Round ligament pain – You may feel brief, sharp pains in your lower belly as the round ligaments stretch.

Leg cramps – Increased weight and pressure on legs can cause painful calf cramps, especially at night. Stretch legs before bed.

Back pain – Added weight in the front along with looser ligaments strains your back. Use good posture and avoid heavy lifting.

Insomnia – Discomfort plus increased bathroom trips disturb sleep. Nap during the day and practice good sleep habits.

While every pregnancy is different, these are some of the most common symptoms and discomforts women experience at 17 weeks pregnant as your body goes through physical changes while supporting your growing baby.

17 Weeks Pregnant Belly

At 17 weeks pregnant your uterus is about the size of a grapefruit and your belly is noticeably expanding each week. As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll need roomier maternity clothes to stay comfortable.

Some women start “popping” and sporting an obvious baby bump around 17-20 weeks. Early in the second trimester is when many mamas-to-be start showing and make the switch to maternity clothes.

However every pregnancy bump is unique. When you first show depends on factors like your pre-pregnancy weight, height, muscle tone, and where you carry weight. First time moms tend to pop later.

Start wearing maternity clothes whenever your regular clothes feel snug or uncomfortable. At this stage, empire waist and wrap styles with stretchy side panels or ruching can keep up with your changing shape.

Focus on wearing breathable, stretchy fabrics that don’t squeeze or restrict your bump. Try different maternity styles to find what suits your body best.

Weight Gain at 17 Weeks

The recommended weight gain throughout a healthy pregnancy is 25-35 pounds. This helps nourish your growing baby while allowing your body to accommodate changes.

By 17 weeks pregnant, you should have gained around 5-10 pounds. Expect to continue steadily gaining around a pound per week through the second trimester. Eating a balanced diet with whole foods and exercising regularly will help.

Don’t obsess over the numbers on the scale – your focus should be on maintaining good nutrition habits and listening to your body’s cues. Meet with your doctor or nutritionist if you have concerns about weight gain.

Baby Movement

Sometime between 16 and 22 weeks, many pregnant women first start sensing baby’s movements, called quickening. Around the halfway point, your baby has developed enough strength that those flutters and swishes can be felt.

These early movements may feel like gas bubbles, fluttering “butterflies,” or light tapping. Over the coming weeks they will get stronger and more distinct as your baby grows.

Don’t worry if you aren’t feeling noticeable movement yet – some women don’t experience quickening until after 20 weeks with their first pregnancy. Baby’s position also plays a role. Bring up concerns with your doctor.

Stay tuned to those first amazing brushes of baby kicking – an exciting milestone is right around the corner! Try sitting quietly after eating to better focus on sensations.

17 Week Ultrasound

Typically at 17 weeks pregnant, you’ll have an anatomy scan ultrasound. This important test checks your baby’s development and screens for potential health conditions.

During the level 2 anatomy ultrasound, the sonographer will carefully examine baby’s overall anatomy from head to toe, as well as take measurements and evaluate growth.

The ultrasound technician will check that your baby’s organs, limbs, heart and brain are developing normally. You’ll finally be able to see your baby’s profile and facial features!

This comprehensive scan gives the first peek at your baby’s gender, if you opt to find out. The ultrasound technician will also assess the amount of amniotic fluid and position of the placenta.

If any potential concerns like birth defects or complications are suspected, your doctor may order additional testing like a targeted ultrasound, amniocentesis or fetal echocardiogram.

Quad Marker Screening

Also called the quadruple or quad marker screening, this optional non-invasive blood test is usually done around 15-20 weeks of pregnancy. It can help assess risk of certain chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome.

The quad screening looks at 4 different hormones in your blood related to baby’s development:

  • Estriol (related to baby’s growth)
  • HCG (placenta hormone)
  • Inhibin (development of placenta and nerves)
  • AFP (fetal protein indicating neural tube / abdominal issues)

Based on these hormone levels plus factors like your weight and age, it provides a modified individual risk score for Down syndrome and trisomies 18 and 13. The quad screen only estimates probabilities and can’t diagnose conditions.

If your probabilities come back higher, your practitioner will recommend further diagnostic testing like amniocentesis to confirm. Testing is always optional and results may reassure or provide an early heads up to prepare.

Changes to Breasts

As your second trimester progresses, breast changes continue as they prep for breastfeeding. Rising hormone levels signal your breasts to start enlarging and producing colostrum.

Expanding milk ducts and growing milk glands make your breasts feel more tender, tingly and sensitive. They may feel swollen, dense, or heavier. Your areolas and nipples also darken and expand.

Wearing supportive bras, nursing pads, and not stimulating nipples can provide relief from breast tenderness. These changes are gearing up your breasts for breastfeeding.

Skin Changes

Common skin changes like stretch marks, spider veins, melasma, and linea negra (dark line on belly) may become noticeable around 17 weeks pregnant as your body rapidly adapts.

Stretch marks – These reddish bands form as your skin stretches to accommodate your growing bump. Moisturizing often with creams containing vitamin E, cocoa butter, or shea butter may help, but genetics also play a role.

Dark line on belly – Increased hormones cause the linea negra or “pregnancy line” running down abdomen. It should fade after you deliver.

Mask of pregnancy – Dark, patchy facial skin called melasma or chloasma caused by hormonal shifts. Wear sunscreen to limit. Usually resolves after birth.

Spider veins – Hormones dilate blood vessels causing tiny red broken capillaries. These should gradually fade postpartum.

Itchy belly – Your expanding abdomen gets itchy as the skin is stretched thin. Use lotions and avoid hot showers.

Your body is going through a period of intense change during pregnancy. Be kind to yourself and your transforming shape. Most skin changes will resolve after baby arrives.

Doctor Appointments and Tests

  • Fundal height measured
  • Heartbeat checked with Doppler
  • Blood pressure monitored
  • Urine tested
  • Weight tracked
  • Breasts and uterus examined
  • Baby’s movement assessed
  • Quad marker screening offered
  • 16-20 week ultrasound
  • Discuss genetic screening options

At your 17 week prenatal checkup, your doctor will check on your health and your baby’s growth and development. Blood pressure and urine are monitored for pregnancy complications like preeclampsia.

The quad marker screening is typically offered now to assess risk of issues like Down syndrome based on hormone levels. The 16-20 week anatomy scan ultrasound provides an in-depth look at baby’s organs.

Your doctor can start hearing baby’s heartbeat on a Doppler. Routine third trimester tests like the glucose screening test are coming up. Discuss genetic testing options with your practitioner if desired.

Tips for Dad/Partner

Here are some ways partners can offer extra support when 17 weeks pregnant:

  • Go with her to doctor visits to hear baby’s heartbeat
  • Help research parenthood classes to take together
  • Offer massages for backaches or leg cramps
  • Help her shop for comfy maternity clothes
  • Cook nutritious dinners so she can rest
  • Discuss hopes and concerns about upcoming changes
  • Plan a weekend babymoon trip to celebrate before baby comes
  • Learn about pregnancy massage techniques to try
  • Take over chores she has trouble with like laundry
  • Reassure her she’s beautiful and you find her bump sexy
  • Start brainstorming baby names together

This milestone week is an exciting time of transition. Show your unwavering support as she deals with aches, prepares for motherhood, and experiences the wonder of feeling your baby’s first kicks!

When to Call the Doctor

Contact your healthcare provider right away if you experience:

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding or bleeding with cramps
  • Regular cramping or contractions before 37 weeks
  • Sudden gush of water from vagina
  • Signs of preterm labor like 4+ contractions per hour
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Extreme headache, changes in vision, intense dizziness
  • High fever over 100.4°F
  • Burning or pain when peeing
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

Otherwise discuss any troubling or persistent symptoms at your next visit. Call the office to speak with a nurse if you have any concerns. Stay in close contact with your prenatal care team throughout your pregnancy.

Lifestyle Tips for Week 17

  • Start taking birthing and breastfeeding classes
  • Talk to HR about maternity leave from work
  • Start planning nursery design and themes
  • Interview pediatricians to choose your baby’s doctor
  • Stay active with walking, prenatal yoga, swimming
  • Give into cravings in moderation
  • Stay hydrated with water and milk
  • Read up on what to pack in your hospital bag
  • Plan relaxing dates with your partner before baby
  • Start browsing baby gear and making registries
  • Consider hiring a doula for extra birthing support
  • Discuss options if you want pain management during labor
  • Pamper yourself with prenatal massages or pedicures

Making time for self-care and planning can help you feel more prepared during your second trimester. Stay active while indulging cravings in moderation. Share this journey with your partner through childbirth classes, pediatrician interviews, and nursery planning.

17 Weeks Pregnant FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about what to expect when 17 weeks pregnant:

What does a 17 week ultrasound check for?

The 17 week anatomy ultrasound carefully examines all of your baby’s organs, limbs, and features to ensure normal development. It screens for potential issues like heart defects, cleft lip, or neural tube defects. They also check amniotic fluid levels, placenta location, and growth measurements.

What causes round ligament pain?

As your uterus expands rapidly, it stretches the large round ligaments that help support it. This causes sporadic stabbing pains in the lower belly or groin area when changing positions. While uncomfortable, it’s generally harmless.

How can I relieve pregnancy headaches?

Be sure to drink plenty of water, limit caffeine, try relaxing techniques, use cold compresses, massage pressure points, and rest in a dark room. Check with your doctor if headaches persist – high blood pressure could cause them.

When will I feel the first baby kicks?

Most women feel the first subtle flutters of baby movement (quickening) between 16-25 weeks in their first pregnancy, earlier in subsequent pregnancies. Pay attention after meals or when resting. Don’t worry if you haven’t yet – baby’s position affects when you’ll first feel them.

What causes leg cramps during pregnancy?

The extra weight and pressure on your legs can strain muscles and cause painful leg cramps, usually at night. Stretching your calf muscles before bed, properly hydrating, getting enough magnesium and potassium, and not pointing your toes when stretching out your legs may help prevent them.

How much weight should I gain at 17 weeks?

It varies by your pre-pregnancy BMI, but the average woman should gain around 5-10 pounds by 17 weeks. Expect to steadily gain around 1 pound per week for the rest of pregnancy for ideal weight gain of 25-35 pounds total. Focus on eating healthy rather than precise weight gain.

The Takeaway

When you are 17 weeks pregnant, you’re nearing the halfway point of your exciting journey. As your baby masters new skills like moving facial muscles and grasping, you’ll start feeling little flutters of their movement.

Aim to stay active, nourish your body with nutrient-dense foods, and get plenty of rest. Take comfort in knowing your little one is growing bigger and stronger each day inside your protective womb.