17 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms & Baby Development - Babylist
17 Weeks Pregnant
April 6, 2021

17 Weeks Pregnant

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17 Weeks Pregnant.
17 Weeks Pregnant

How Big is Your Baby at 17 Weeks?

Your baby is 5.1 inches long and weighs 4.49 ounces this week. That’s about the size of a cassette tape.

Here’s what else to know when you’re 17 weeks pregnant:

Your Baby’s Development at 17 Weeks

As you approach the half-way mark, baby is working hard to grow and develop. They’re practicing important skills they’ll need for life outside the womb.

  • Bone development: The cartilage in your 17-week fetus’ limbs has turned almost completely to bone. Their bones will continue to harden and fuse into their early years of life.
  • Sweat glands: Is it hot in there? Baby is developing sweat glands. Babies don’t actually sweat, though, until after they are born—and it can take a few weeks for all of the glands to start working.
  • Sucking and swallowing: So how does your baby spend their days? They’re practicing sucking and swallowing in order to get ready for the world outside the womb, and those first attempts at getting milk from the breast or the bottle. Some babies even begin to suck their thumbs in the womb.
  • Umbilical cord: The umbilical cord on baby at 17 weeks is getting longer and thicker, so it’ll be strong enough to keep up with all the demands of the second half of pregnancy. Think of the umbilical cord as a lifeline from mom to baby. It has a vein that carries blood filled with oxygen and nutrients to baby, and two arteries that send all the waste (like carbon dioxide) back to the placenta.

17 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound


💛 Congratulations 💛

You have 23 weeks left of your pregnancy!

Your Body: 17 Weeks Pregnancy Symptoms

At 17 weeks pregnant, you’re in the sweet spot of your pregnancy. Your nausea has probably abated, but you’re not experiencing some of the discomforts that come later in pregnancy. So enjoy this time!

  • Braxton Hicks contractions: Just like your baby at 17 weeks, your body is also practicing—for labor. So-called Braxton Hicks contractions are practice contractions you might experience as early as now. They feel like a tightening across your belly like you put on a snug, stiff dress, but on the inside. They are also really irregular. If you start to have regular Braxton Hicks at 17 weeks and they are getting more intense, call your healthcare provider.
  • Baby starts to kick: Between 17 weeks and 22 weeks pregnant, most people start feeling the baby kick! Baby’s movements may feel kind of like gas or queasiness to you at first, but you will start to recognize it. It’s called quickening. For thousands of years, this fluttery sensation confirmed that a woman was really pregnant, and feeling baby’s movements for the first time was considered the second most significant event in a pregnancy behind only birth. Aristotle thought this was the moment the baby was first animated. He obviously didn’t know much, but it does feel so special. ✨
  • Increased melanin: Your body is producing extra melanin because of increased estrogen. That might lead to the mask of pregnancy on your face, or the line of pregnancy down your belly. It’s a thick dark line right down the center of your belly called “linea nigra.” It will fade after birth.
  • Morning sickness: At 17 weeks pregnant, most women expect morning sickness to be a thing of the past. But sometimes, the queasies can stick around longer for some. Morning sickness that continues into the second trimester is something you should mention to your doc. If it’s severe, it could hyperemesis gravidarum—basically morning sickness on steroids. With HG, you become at risk for dehydration and malnutrition, so it’s important to seek medical treatment.
  • Stretch marks: As your skin stretches durning pregnancy, you may earn some tiger stripes. Unfortunately, there’s really nothing you can do to prevent them completely—skin type, heredity and weight gain have more to do with stretch marks than any skin cream does. Still, it’s not a bad idea to stay hydrated and lotioned up. The stretch marks may look dark now, but over time, they do fade. (We swear.)

Fun Fact

Babies are born with 300 bones even though adults only have 206. How does this work?

Your Life at 17 Weeks Pregnant

You’re in the thick of the second trimester and, fingers crossed, feeling good. Here are a few ideas to help you pass the time and keep you comfortable.

  • Top tip: No one knows what you’re going through quite like someone else who’s been there. Seek out other parents-to-be to build a sisterhood of solidarity when it comes to glamorous things like leg cramps, swollen ankles and constipation. They can be a great resource for crowdsourcing information about hospitals, home remedies and what to stockpile for baby’s arrival. Check out local resource centers that host new parent groups or join a local Facebook group to connect with others in the trenches of pregnancy.
  • Must-have product: Sunscreen can help to prevent discoloration from pregnancy-induced melasma and protect your extra-sensitive skin. Look for a product that uses zinc oxide, a safe sun protectant during pregnancy. Thinkbaby and Earth Mama are solid picks.
  • Name game: Have a few baby names on your mind? Use your phone’s Notes app, or another note-taking app, to collect all of your favorites. Sometimes the most inspired names pop up out of nowhere, so be sure to jot things down on the go. Trust us, it’s no fun when you forget a name you loved before you’ve had a chance to write it down.
  • Great gear: The bigger your belly gets, the harder it is to find a comfortable sleeping position. Fortunately, a full-body pregnancy pillow can really help. Some women swear by the Snoogle, but U-shaped options are also popular.

Did You Know?

The umblical cord will grow to up to two feet long before your baby is born.

17 Weeks Pregnant Tests

20 week ultrasound image

Between 16 and 20 weeks, you may find yourself getting a battery of tests.

These may involve screening tests and a diagnostic tests. What’s the difference? A screening tells you the risk factor of your baby having a condition, and a diagnostic test tells you whether they actually have it.

Screenings, like a nuchal translucency, pretty much test for signs of a problem, like an abnormal neck measurement or irregular level of hormones.

Diagnostic tests, like amniocentesis, CVS or cordocentesis, have clearer results. But diagnostic usually equals more invasive. In other words, they may have to take your blood, amniotic fluid or even blood from the umbilical cord for testing. Some diagnostic tests come with risks, so many parents-to-be opt not to do them unless a screening test suggests there could be an issue or there’s family history of a genetic condition.

We have more infor about what to expect with these mid-pregnancy tests.

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Your 17 Weeks Pregnant Belly

At 17 weeks pregnant, it’s common to wonder whether or not your belly is normal. Well, what’s normal? Some women are 17 weeks pregnant and not showing—others have a cantaloupe on their hands. There’s such a wide range.

Body type and weight gain are big factors. Plus, if you’ve been pregnant before, you often show earlier than a first-timer. And, obviously, if you’re 17 weeks pregnant with twins you’re going to look bigger than your friend with a solo babe.

As long as you’re both growing as expected, it’s all good, no matter what your pregnant belly looks like.

17 Week Baby Bumps from Real Moms

17 weeks pregnant belly @tiffe626

17 weeks pregnant pictures @abbeighblake

17 weeks pregnant bump @rubyvretchkoff

17 weeks pregnant size @mariposapixiegirl

17 weeks pregnant with twins @carrienichols

17 weeks pregnant belly pictures @laeti.and.the.city

baby bumps at 17 weeks pregnant @sleep eat love

17 weeks pregnant pictures @bjevans26

17 weeks pregnant belly size @littlemisscheff

Do you think this content is helpful? Let our editors know!

17 Weeks Pregnant Checklist

  • Other expectant parents are a great resource for information and support. Search online to find groups for expecting moms whose members share a similar due date (Facebook is one place to look), or if you prefer in-person meeting opps, check out local parent centers to see what’s available in your area.
  • If your doctor has suggested additional screening tests, research their pros and cons to decide what’s right for you.
  • Keep taking your prenatal vitamins and drinking plenty of water.
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