Week Seventeen is here, and the baby is finally full of life! Well, from flopping, flipping, and smiling, the baby will make everything stronger until you can feel and enjoy. The baby is adding weight rather fast, and your center of gravity keeps shifting; think of getting away those high heels away until the end of the third trimester.
Baby’s growth and development in week seventeen
By this week, the baby has grown even bigger and measures about 5.1 inches long and 6 ounces. He/she would be bigger than your palm. The movements in the uterus are becoming intense day after day, and you should be able to feel them. These movements are referred as ‘quickening’ and are felt as the baby practices the hardening bones and maturing joints. The movements help to guide cells development especially in your legs, neck, and hand joints.
While these acrobatics commenced towards the end of the first trimester, it is only now that they are becoming more emphatic. This is a great time to share some moments, you, your partner, and the baby by playing some cool music in a cool and relaxing environment. Hold your partner’s hands and rub the belly softly while talking sweet words to the baby. He/she can hear and will respond!
Apart from kicks, the baby is also changing positions and breaths are more intense. The developing diaphragm contracts and regularly expands as the baby takes more amniotic fluid. The hands are regularly folded so that he/she puts the thumb into the mouth and sucks repeatedly. The movements are very critical for the fast developing lungs, air sacs, and taste buds.
Changes to expect in Mom’s body during week 17
- Shifting body balance: As the baby keeps growing rapidly from week 16, your weight shifts forward so that the center of gravity keeps shifting. Because of this, you will find it difficult to walk as briskly as you were used to in the first trimester. To keep your balance and enjoy more, it is better to pack your high heel shoes in the wardrobe until after delivery. Look for comfortable and stylish low heel shoes for easier balance.
- Regular heartburn: By mid of the 17th week, the uterus will have risen to or slightly below the navel. Therefore, the stomach and other organs will be pushed upwards, and heartburn will become a regular occurrence. You might also experience frequent indigestion and other related discomforts.
Apart from the abdomen being pushed upwards, the elevated progesterone hormone will relax the valve separating esophagus and stomach and make acid to drip easily into the stomach. This will give a burning sensation (heartburn) that will recur till the 40th week of pregnancy.
While there is not much you can do about it, here are some few tips to keep heartburn and associated discomfort at bay;
- Alter the eating habits by taking small meals, chewing food completely, and eating slowly.
- Take some moments before lying down after every meal (approximately 1-2) hours.
- Consider staying away from food that brings about heartburn such as caffeine, spicy, and greasy types.
- Consider chewing gum after eating because the saliva from the mouth helps to neutralize the acid.
- You may also talk to your doctor about it for a description of appropriate antacid tablets.
- Vaginal discharge/Leucorrhoea: By the close of the 17th week, you will be experiencing more vaginal discharge called leucorrhoea. It will be milky-clear in appearance, but, should not have any sign of blood stain. Often, it is difficult to tell whether it is just normal discharge or leaking amniotic fluid. If you note the discharge is accompanied by burning sensation or itching, there may be some infections, and you need the attention of your doctor.
- Weight gain: By this week, your weight will have increased with about 9-10 pounds, and you can anticipate adding 20 more by the end of the 40th week. However, this could change slightly depending on your body size.
- Elevated energy levels: From around the 17th week, many pregnant women experience elevated energy levels which make life enjoyable because you enjoy doing more tasks at home. You will want to engage in house cleaning, gardening, washing the car, and cooking. While this is perfectly in order, you need to take care of the following;
- Only use detergents that are not toxic because some chemicals can get through the skin and compromise the baby’s development.
- Do your cleaning in the open or areas with enough ventilation. Consider keeping the doors and windows open and air conditioning running when cleaning the house.
- Stay away from fumes and avoid mixing chemicals when cleaning. If unsure of the commercial cleaning agents, you might consider using the natural ones such as baking soda to scrub greasy surfaces.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This syndrome starts occurring on the 17th week and is characterized by swelling, numbness, inflammation, and some pain in the wrist and fingers. It is particularly evident in the evening after doing some significant amount of work. This is common because of the elevated blood and other fluids in the body and will go away a few weeks after delivery.
To relief yourself the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, here are a few things you can do;
- Utilize a wrist guard
- Take regular breaks to stretch hands
- Use an ergonomic keyboard
- Consult your doctor whether to use Tylenol
- Make sure to continue with regular exercises
Things to do during the 17th week
- Continue with your weekly exercises. Depending on the growing baby bump, you might want to review the exercises together with your fitness assistant.
- Review your pregnancy diary to see what has changed since week one and appreciate the baby’s growth.
- Participate in mild home activities that help to keep your body healthier. Consider mowing the lawn, watering flowers, and cleaning the car.
- With more energy, stay blissful and avoid stress by participating in the community, workplace corporate responsibility works, and other resourceful events.
- Go out to shop for additional maternity clothes because the ones you have will keep becoming smaller.
- Keep reviewing the best baby’s clothes and buying what you think is the best for your unborn child.
- Examine the items that you will need during delivery by talking to other pregnant moms and your doctor.
- Start thinking about baby care and discuss hiring a home nursing assistant especially during the last weeks or pregnancy and immediately after delivery.
- If you have not settled on the baby’s name, continue discussing with your partner.
- Think of talking to your HR about the process of getting a maternity leave. Go through your workplace policy on maternity leave. Some organizations require you to fill a leave form to get maternity leave.