Your baby at 17 weeks
Your baby is the size of a pear
This week, your little one is really starting to put on weight. The fat, also called adipose tissue, helps to keep your baby warm and is important for metabolism since it's a great source of energy. Your baby might measure up to 17.3 cm (6.8 inches) and weighs nearly 142 g (5 oz).
Your little one has been working on two basic reflexes for a few weeks: sucking and swallowing. By the time baby is born, he or she will have nearly all the same reflexes that you do.
Girl or boy?
If you're going to have a girl, a special set of tissues is developing into the uterus and vagina. If a boy is in your future, these same tissues have started along a different path: the penis has formed and the prostate is beginning to take shape. The newly formed testosterone-secreting cells are key in these developments.
Your pregnancy at 17 weeks
Gone are the shapeless shifts and clunky footwear: mums-to-be can stock up on fashionable, high-quality maternity clothes. Wearing them may be your first public announcement that you're pregnant, so enjoy the attention!
A word about amnio
If you’re required to undergo amniocentesis, you'll probably have it soon: most doctors perform the test before the 18th week of pregnancy. “Amnio” is the single most accurate method of identifying many birth defects, but it's not a test that every expectant mum should have. It is usually offered to pregnant women over the age of 35, as they are at a higher risk for having a baby with a genetic disorder like Down's syndrome. It may also be a logical next step if your AFP test was positive. Speak to your healthcare provider about the pros and cons.
A pain in the...
Haemorrhoids are essentially veins in the rectum that have become over-dilated due to increased blood volume and flow in the pelvic area. If you're prone to varicose veins or if you had haemorrhoids during a previous pregnancy, you're likely to get them again. The best prevention strategy? A high-fibre diet, plenty of water and regular exercise.
Did you know?
Your baby is starting to increase body fat to provide warmth – in fact, it will make up two thirds of his or her birth weight! The heart is now regulated by the brain and is beating regularly. And even though the eyelids are still sealed, the baby can perceive light.