Your baby is the size of a pear

17 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby's Development

This week, your little one starts to develop a layer of brown fat under the skin, and will add more layers as your pregnancy progresses. This added fat provides energy and will help keep your baby warm after birth — right now, your uterus is doing a nice job of that! The oil-producing glands in your baby's skin may begin to produce vernix, which is a white, greasy film that protects and covers the skin and helps regulate body temperature. At this point, your baby is becoming a little more active within the amniotic sac. You may not be able to feel any of this movement yet, but you’ll likely start to notice these tiny flips and rolls in the coming weeks. Did you know your baby is also growing toenails this week? By the end of this month, nails will likely extend to the tips of the toes and fingers, and they may even need to be trimmed shortly after birth!

The Size of the Fetus at 17 Weeks Pregnant

When you’re 17 weeks pregnant, the fetus is about the size of a pear! At this stage, your baby might measure just over five inches long (12.7 centimetres), crown to rump, and weigh about five ounces (140 grams). To get a visual idea of what things are looking like inside your belly, check out the illustration below:

Baby at 17 weeks pregnant

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Mom's Body at 17 Weeks Pregnant

You may have noticed more growth and changes in your breasts. More blood is flowing to the breasts in preparation for milk production, and you may start to see darker veins appearing. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to go up one or even two cup sizes, so when you’re 17 weeks pregnant, you may want to get a professional bra fitting to make sure you’re wearing the most comfortable size for you. The placenta is also growing in order to help deliver enough nutrients and oxygen to your developing baby, while helping to eliminate waste. It’s also possible that you may be feeling some of your baby’s movements in your belly at 17 weeks pregnant. If this isn’t your first baby, then you may be more aware of what the feeling is like, and recognize it sooner. Don't worry if you haven’t felt anything yet. In the coming weeks, you’ll likely notice some activity that feels like fluttering or a light rumbling in your stomach. Have your feet have gotten bigger recently? This could be due to pregnancy weight gain and to swelling, known as edema, that happens as your body’s retains extra fluid during pregnancy. Try a cool foot bath to relieve the swelling, and elevate your feet whenever you can to help keep yourself more comfortable.

17 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

At 17 weeks pregnant, here are some of the symptoms you may be experiencing:

  • Hemorrhoids. It’s true … they’re a pain in the you know what! Hemorrhoids are essentially veins in the rectum that have become over-dilated due to increased blood volume and flow in the pelvic area. Though hemorrhoids are more common later in pregnancy, it's smart to take steps now to help prevent them, such as following a high-fibre diet, drinking plenty of water, and getting regular exercise. And if you’re looking for ways to soothe hemorrhoids, try soaking in a warm bath (without soap or bubble bath), and avoid sitting for long periods of time. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you have severe pain or bleeding.

  • Itchy or sensitive skin. At 17 weeks pregnant, your belly and breasts are still growing, and the skin is stretching, which can sometimes lead to stretch marks and itching. Although you can’t completely prevent stretch marks from appearing, you can help reduce the itchiness by drinking lots of water and applying moisturizer to your skin in the mornings and evenings.

  • Heartburn and indigestion. By this time, morning sickness is a thing of the past for most moms-to-be, but you might be experiencing heartburn and indigestion, two symptoms that can also hit later in pregnancy. Try to eat several small meals each day, and avoid spicy foods or other foods that you find contribute to your discomfort. It can also help to eat slowly and avoid lying down right after eating.

  • Leg cramps. In the second trimester, you may find your sleep interrupted by leg cramps. It’s not known what causes these cramps, but you can try stretching your legs before bed or massaging your calf muscles if a cramp strikes. Staying hydrated and physically active can also help, as can wearing comfortable, supportive shoes.

  • Lower back pain. Your expanding uterus is changing your centre of gravity and your posture, putting more pressure on your back. As you gain weight during your pregnancy, you may experience lower back pain from time to time, but exercise and stretching may help relieve some of the discomfort. Applying a heating pad to the affected area may also offer some relief. If you can, try to avoid standing for long periods of time. Your healthcare provider can also advise you on how to handle any form of back pain at 17 weeks pregnant, and beyond.

17 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • You’re probably eager to know whether you’re having a boy or girl. Keep in mind, it still may be a bit too soon to know for sure, but you can usually find out (if you choose to) at an ultrasound exam that you’ll probably have at around 18 to 20 weeks. Of course, your little one may or may not cooperate during the ultrasound! This is because your baby’s position is one factor that can affect whether your healthcare provider can give you accurate info about your baby’s gender. In the meantime, what do you think? Do you think your baby is a “she” or a “he”? Take our gender quiz to have some fun guessing.

  • Have you looked into childbirth classes yet? You’re getting closer and closer to the halfway mark, so consider doing some research on this now. The earlier you start looking, the more options you may have for available classes, times, and dates. If you’re not sure where to start, ask your healthcare provider or parents in your area for suggestions.

  • If you have a little spare time this week, start looking into healthcare providers for your baby. You can ask other parents for recommendations or your healthcare provider will also be able to point you in the right direction. Once you’ve found a few options, you may want to meet up with potential providers for a face-to-face appointment before your baby is born. Your baby will be here in a few months, so 17 weeks pregnant is a great time to start doing a little research in advance. For more on this important topic, read our guide to choosing a pediatrician.

  • Pregnancy can sometimes put a strain on even the most harmonious relationship, which is understandable given all the financial and practical worries that such a big lifestyle change can bring. It can help to avoid or defuse conflicts if you talk to your partner about your feelings and involve them as much as possible in events related to your pregnancy, like scans, prenatal classes and general planning. If you think you need outside support, your healthcare provider can help you find counselling and support groups in your area.

17 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • Is it normal to experience dizziness? What can you do about it?

  • Should you have amniocentesis? This is an optional test, and whether you have amnio or not is a personal choice. Your healthcare provider will be able to provide you with more information about this test and give you personalized advice about it.

  • Is it safe to get a professional massage?

  • How many months are you at 17 weeks pregnant?

17 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

  • Do some research on healthcare providers for after your baby is born.

  • Planning a babymoon? Schedule a prenatal checkup before you travel.

  • Get a professional bra fitting at your local lingerie or department store. You’ll want to make sure you’re wearing the most comfortable bras as your pregnancy progresses.

  • Start a baby name shortlist. You may not know whether you’re looking for boy or girl names yet, but our Baby Name Generator can help you search by gender, them, and many other filters.

  • Suggest that your partner reads some of the content we have for expectant fathers like symptoms and challenges dads-to-be may face.

  • Sign up for even more weekly pregnancy tips:

How we wrote this article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.