Pregnancy Week 17
Your teeny tiny baby is beginning to toughen up. Initially, their skeleton was made up of cartilage but now this is developing into bone. The umbilical cord is getting much stronger as it provides your baby with all of the blood, oxygen and nutrients they need.
As your baby is busy growing and developing their bones, it is important that you make sure you are getting enough vitamin D. Without enough vitamin D at this crucial stage, there is a risk your baby could develop rickets, a condition which leads to bone deformations and soft, weak bones which break easily.
All pregnant women are recommended to take a daily supplement of 10mg of vitamin D. It’s also a good idea to get out in the sunshine (although this can be difficult over the winter months in the UK!) Foods which are high in vitamin D include eggs, mushrooms, salmon and mackerel.
Measuring in at 12cm from head to toe, your baby is putting on weight at a rapid rate and now weighs 140g – around the size of a pomegranate.
The unique patterns on their toes and fingers are developing this week giving them the fingerprints they will have for the rest of their life. Even identical twins, who share the same DNA, will have distinct and different fingerprints.
Their fingernails and toenails are also starting to grow and your baby can now open and shut their mouth, react to loud noises and even move their eyes, although their eyelids are still closed for now.
How will I feel at 17 weeks pregnant?
Your baby is not the only one who is growing and you may feel your shape is changing quite quickly. You can expect to put on between 1lb and 2lb a week and this is normal and healthy.
Now is a great time to start looking at antenatal classes. Check out what is available in your area and remember you can take classes online now too. We offer a number of online antenatal classes which will teach you what you need to know ready for your baby’s arrival.
You might start feeling your baby move – this can feel like bubbles in your tummy, a butterfly fluttering or even a rolling sensation. These movements will become more noticeable as your baby grows but right now, you might think your little one’s movements are just your digestive system at work.
Your baby is more likely to move after you have eaten, when you listen to loud music (I like to think they are dancing along), when you talk or rub your bump and when you are sitting back and relaxing with no other distractions.
You may find that you are feeling quite stressed, overwhelmed or anxious. Your hormones can have a big impact on your moods and you are also going through a lot of changes so this is understandable and anxiety affects one in 10 pregnant women. If you are feeling worried or your mood is low, please do tell your midwife so she can support you.
You may also begin to notice the start of some stretchmarks as your body changes. This red or purple marks are most common on your bump or breasts as these are the areas which are growing the most, although they may also appear on your thighs or bum.
Stretchmarks affect 80% of pregnant women so if you do get them, you are definitely not alone. You can get products to rub onto them although it isn’t clear how much these help and most marks will naturally fade and become less obvious after your baby is born anyway.