Baby's Growth and Development at 17 Weeks Pregnant
Between the 17th week of pregnancy and the 20th week, your baby experiences growth changes.
- Right now, your baby is about 4½ to 5½ inches long, or about the length of a large orange.
- Little hiccups continue and you might feel them!
- When you’re around 17 weeks pregnant, a necessary fat called brown fat develops under your baby’s skin. This will help keep her warm after birth. Later in your pregnancy, additional layers of fat develop.
- Air passages in your baby’s lungs finish branching.
- By your 17th week of pregnancy, your baby’s lungs prepare to take in oxygen.
Your Changing Body at 17 Weeks Pregnant
The good news about the 17th week of pregnancy and beyond is that while your body changes accelerate, early pregnancy symptoms dissipate.
- By your 17th week of pregnancy, your growing placenta reaches one inch in thickness. Your placenta continues to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your baby and to eliminate waste.
- You are gaining about one pound a week between the 16th and 20th weeks of pregnancy.
- When you’re around 17 weeks pregnant, your bones, muscles, and joints begin to change to accommodate your growing body.
- You also might experience backaches, cramps, swollen legs and ankles, and varicose veins.
Wellness and Nutrition at 17 Weeks Pregnant
Necessary nutrients: what your body really needs during pregnancy
As you know, eating a balanced diet with colorful, nutritious foods and taking a prenatal supplement significantly impacts you and your baby’s growth and health.
At 17 weeks pregnant, it's important to continue boosting your diet with some specific nutrients that have been shown to provide unique benefits.
- Calcium: low-fat yogurt, reduced-fat milk, reduced-fat cheese, low-fat cottage cheese, tofu, almonds, broccoli
- Folic acid (folate): orange juice, spinach, asparagus, kale, collard greens, beans, whole-grain breads, fortified whole-grain cereals, wheat germ
- Iron: lean beef, nuts, eggs, soy, fortified whole-grain cereals, oatmeal, leafy greens
- Protein: lean beef, chicken, turkey, pork, beans, tofu, dairy
- Vitamin A: citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, mangoes, potatoes with the skin
- Vitamin C: carrots, winter squash, mangoes, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, lean sources of meat, eggs, dairy, fortified whole-grain cereals
- Zinc: lean beef, whole grains, nuts, legumes, seeds, fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals, peas, lean dairy, spinach
Exercise That Counts: The Pelvic Tilt
The pelvic tilt is an exercise that strengthens your stomach muscles. A helpful move for your 17th week of pregnancy and beyond, it might relieve backaches and back pain as well as improve flexibility.
Try It for Yourself
- Get down on your hands and knees.
- Tilt your hips forward.
- Pull in your stomach and gently round your back.
- Hold for five seconds.
- Release gently and relax your back and stomach.
- Try keeping your back flat when you are in the release position.
- Repeat several times.