Pregnancy: Week - 17

How your baby is growing:

Though he or she will not yet understand it, your baby has become capable of hearing and may even startle at loud or sudden noises whether you can feel it or not. The rate at which your baby is getting bigger is much faster now as fat deposits begin to form under the skin. These deposits not only add to the weight of the baby but they also help regulate body temperature and maintain metabolism. Thanks to these fatty deposits your baby is also growing even more rapidly and reaches around five inches long and five ounces in weight though he or she would still fit in the palm of your hand! The joints also finish up this week and the hardening of the entire skeleton has almost completed. Keep in mind that a newborn’s bones actually haven’t reached the same density and strength of even a toddler. This is so the body and skull remain flexible to exit the birth canal. You’ll be thankful for this later. The sweat glands begin to form this week. The umbilical cord thickens and the placenta continues to grow to support your bigger baby.

How your body is changing:

As blood flow continues to increase in the body you may experience even more new symptoms. The list seems endless, right? This week it’s excess vaginal discharge and secretions in general from sweat to slobber, and snoring.

As for the sweat, slobber and snoring, at least it’s more proof your partner loves you, because nothing can really be done.

Because weight gain tends to pick up even more this week, you need to keep in mind that you may begin to have balance issues. The same rules that were applied with dizziness apply here as well; driving is okay, of course. You just want to avoid slips and falls. Use common sense and you should be fine. It may seem weird that weight gain would make you a clumsy, but think of how the weight is being distributed, you just became very, very front heavy. As your baby grows your organs will also become crowded and misplaced, because of this any ongoing pains in the abdomen should be checked out by a doctor. A pain that would have been the proper position for gas before could be an appendix about to burst now. Don’t assume your insides are entirely stationary.

One more entirely pointless bit of information on body change this week, your belly will begin to be more egg shaped than round. While this is irrelevant it is cool to notice.

How your life is changing:

Oh the touching! As that belly become round and adorable everyone thinks touching it is a-okay. It’s important that if this makes you uncomfortable you say so. Being pregnant does not dissolve your personal bubble rights, and you deserve them. Even if someone does become offended, they’ll blame it on the effect those pregnancy hormones have on your mood, so no hard feelings. Just wait until you have the baby, a simple shopping trip can take hours as everyone loves a newborn and everyone has to stop and ask how much he or she weighed, how you enjoy being a mother and anything else that strikes their fancy. Some women enjoy this attention, some don’t, it’s all a matter of preference just remember you do have a choice.

A small change that few people think about is driving. Driving does change while pregnant. First you need to be sure you’re properly positioning your seatbelt for pregnancy. Keep the lap belt below your stomach close to your hips and never actually across that baby belly. The shoulder strap should lie directly between your breasts, no higher or lower. If your belt doesn’t fit correctly you can buy special adjusters at most stores or online. They are simple clips that hold the strap lower and allow more adjustment than the manufactures belt. Next problem can be tummy size and steering wheel issues. Raise the seat height and the steering wheel height up, if the car allows doing so, then pull the seat back as far as you can from the steering wheel while still being able to reach the peddles. This allows optimal distance between the wheel itself and your abdomen. Getting others drive for you is an easy option and there cannot better time to enjoy this privilege, but when you do have to drive this can make things far more comfortable.

You may also want to know:

A quick word on vaginal discharge:

Discharge, will continue to increase as you progress during your pregnancy. Some women find it excess enough to require panty liners. This is fine, however do not use tampons during pregnancy. Vaginal discharge is made up of shed cells from the vagina, bacteria, and secretions from the cervix. It is perfectly normal.

Watch out for discharge abnormalities that may require you to call your doctor:

  • Foul smelling, yellow, brown, gray or frothy discharge.
  • Itching or inflammation of the vagina or vulva.
  • Change in discharge to watery and/or blood tinged prior to your thirty-seventh week.
  • Egg yolk like mucous discharge that could be the mucous plug, discussed earlier before the third trimester.

Activity that you should plan for this week:

Start a belly photo album, as your tummy grows its fun to take photos every few weeks. Later you can flip through them and see how much you grew and changed during your pregnancy. It’s a good idea to wear the same clothing and location if you wish to do a slideshow of them online for friends and family. If you have another child, later it is also interesting to see the difference in size at different time periods. It’s the little things that make the best memories, not to mention once you have the baby and lose all your pregnancy weight you’ll be able to see what you’ve accomplished.