Week 17

Your baby this week

140

GRAMS IN WEIGHT

Your baby will be able to hear music.

Your baby’s skeleton continues to develop.

Your baby's umbilical cord is also getting tougher.

How big is your baby?

At now almost 13cm (just over 5 inches), your baby is about the size of a pear, weighing about 140 grams. She’s come a long way, but she still has far to go!

How big is your baby?

At now almost 13cm (just over 5 inches), your baby is about the size of a pear, weighing about 140 grams. She’s come a long way, but she still has far to go!

What does your baby look like?

Your baby is starting to become a unique individual. The lines of her fingerprints have now finished forming on her fingertips, and they’re unlike anybody else’s in the world. Her eyebrows and eyelashes are also starting to grow. Fat tissue is starting to grow, giving her a cuter, more human look.

Changes in your body this week

Your weight gain will vary, but you’re likely to be gaining a pound a week from now and through the rest of your pregnancy. Your bump has probably grown quite considerably, you may struggle to see your waistline. If you haven’t already, this is the time to add some dedicated maternity clothes to your wardrobe. They’ll be designed to keep you comfortable as well as fashionable, so why not splash out.

Your growing uterus is pushing other organs to the side of your abdomen to make room for your developing baby. As this can put pressure on your stomach, you’re more likely to suffer indigestion after eating. If you suffer, try eating small meals often instead of the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner.

How your baby is developing

One of the biggest developments of this week is the presence of myelin, a fatty white substance that wraps around your baby’s spinal cord. Myelin helps the function of her nervous system, speeding up the messages sent between brain and nerves – in other words, it will allow for quick impulses.

Her sense of hearing is continuing to develop.

How your baby is developing

One of the biggest developments of this week is the presence of myelin, a fatty white substance that wraps around your baby’s spinal cord. Myelin helps the function of her nervous system, speeding up the messages sent between brain and nerves – in other words, it will allow for quick impulses.

Her sense of hearing is continuing to develop.

She will be able to hear music played from outside your belly, so now’s the time for you to start getting her accustomed to your taste in music. Plus, if she starts ‘bopping’ along, you may even be able to feel it.

She is becoming much stronger this week as her skeleton continues to develop, with cartilage hardening into bone. The umbilical cord is also getting tougher, growing thicker and longer.

Health concerns

It is very common at this stage, now that your bump is growing and your skin is stretching, to experience itching. If the itching is annoying you, make sure your clothing is loose-fitting and, preferably, made of cotton. This should help calm down the irritation.

Applying some moisturising lotion can help, but make sure you choose one that’s unscented. Otherwise, it could irritate the skin even more.

If the itching is driving you mad, and if it is predominantly on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet, let your doctor or midwife know, as this could be a sign of a potentially serious condition. According to the NHS, this type of itching could be a sign of a liver condition known as intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), also known as Obstetric Cholestasis (OC). The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists reports that the condition is uncommon, affecting about “7 in 1000 women”, which is less than one per cent.

Are there any symptoms you should be looking out for?

Because your increased amount of blood flow puts extra pressure on your veins, you are more likely to develop varicose veins during pregnancy.

Varicose veins are veins that bulge near the surface of the skin. They can look lumpy and twisted, and they can either be blue or dark purple in colour. They are completely harmless, but their prominence can bother a lot of sufferers. If they’re causing you pain and there is worry they’ll lead to complications, then your doctor may suggest treatment, but their removal is often considered a cosmetic procedure.

To help ease your varicose veins, you can try exercising regularly and avoiding standing or sitting still for too long.

The rapid expansion at your front may also mean you experience stretch marks. Stretch marks are another common pregnancy occurrence that, while harmless, are very annoying and can damage your confidence. They most commonly appear on your tummy and upper thighs. Most stretch marks will fade over time, but speak to your doctor or midwife about treatment options if they’re really bothering you.

Safety first

In your second trimester, you’re likely to be feeling a bit more energised than you were in the early weeks (the second trimester is sometimes known as the “honeymoon period” of pregnancy). This means you’re more likely to dive into an exercise routine with more enthusiasm.

While this is great, it’s important to ensure your body stays sufficiently hydrated. The Natural Hydration Council has said that a pregnant woman’s “water requirements are 0.3 litres higher” than those of a non-pregnant woman, which translates to one or two extra glasses each day.

You should always carry a water bottle with you whenever you’re exercising and take frequent sips (don’t feel you need to down as much as possible in one go, as this can be dangerous as well). You should regularly check for the signs of dehydration and stay vigilant while you’re exercising. The main symptoms are dizziness, fatigue, headache, and dry mouth. Another tell-tale sign is if your wee is dark yellow (clear urine is a good sign you’re getting enough fluids).

Important issues this week

If you’ve been having strange dreams, you’re not alone. Some common pregnancy symptoms – such as leg cramps, indigestion, and the frequent need to urinate – can result in a very disturbed night’s sleep, but they may also be the reason why you seem to be remembering all your dreams. Waking up at regular intervals means, at some point, you’re bound to wake up from rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – the phase of sleep in which dreams are most likely to occur. If you wake up during REM sleep, you’ll probably remember the contents of your dream.

This, mixed with the natural feelings of nervousness and anxiety, could lead to some very vivid dreams in pregnancy, perhaps to a greater extent than you’ve ever had before.

Interrupted sleep can be a pain, affecting your ability to function during the day, but your vivid dreams at least mean you can make something interesting out of your restless nights. You might find it fun to keep a dream journal, where you jot down all the weird and wonderful dreams you remember. Tis can also be useful as a sleep journal, perhaps to keep a track on exactly how much sleep you are getting, and of-course, it goes without saying, that fewer hours and more disturbed sleep can take its toll on you physically. Try to give yourself some time to take naps (if you possibly can) whenever you feel tired and try not to undertake strenuous or exacting work when you are sleep deprived.

Keeping fit, staying healthy

Are you having problems remembering to do your all-important pelvic floor exercises (or Kegels)? Because it’s crucial to keep your pelvic floor strong during and after pregnancy, it’s a good idea to get your body used to doing them.

You should be aiming to do three to four sets of ten pelvic floor squeezes each day. It sounds like a lot, but they’re really simple. If you’re not managing to keep this up, here is a good tip to ensure your Kegels become ingrained in your daily routine.

Pick an everyday activity that you do more than once a day – such as making a cup of tea, washing your hands after using the loo, or brushing your teeth – and make sure you do your pelvic floor exercises while doing this activity. Soon you will associate the activity with your pelvic floor exercises, and you won’t have to remember to do them, you’ll just clench and relax automatically.

Looking forward; planning ahead

Have you decided on a name yet? It’s a big decision, one that’s going to stick with your child for the rest of her life – you’ll want to get it right, but it can be one of the most contentious pregnancy choices you, and your partner, will have to make.

You might have a family name that’s been passed down the generations or one with a meaning that holds a special significance for you. It’s easy to find a list of the most popular baby names at the moment by searching online, or maybe you want to give your baby something a bit more unique.

There’s lots of advice out there about ‘hot’ baby names and how to go about making the choice, but here at My BabyManual we think you are probably aware of the importance of this decision, so we’ll leave you to decide on your own processes for naming your baby – after all, this is absolutely one case when the parents know best and you shouldn’t feel pressured. You have plenty of time to come to a decision (some parents are still deciding a few weeks after the baby is born).

Important – If you or your child are unwell you should seek medical advice from a professional – contact your GP or visit an A&E department in an emergency. While My BabyManual strives to provide dependable and trusted information on pregnancy and childcare 24/7 via our website pages, we cannot provide individual answers to specific healthcare questions.
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