Changes in Your Body
You’re solidly into your second trimester by this point, and hopefully any fatigue or nausea you’ve been feeling has let up. If not, just look down at your growing belly to remember the great reason you’re going through it all.
As your uterus continues to expand for your growing baby, your organs will shift to make room, possibly leading to some more frequent gastrointestinal (GI) issues such as heartburn or indigestion.
If you’ve got brownish or blackish spots popping up on your face, you may be part of the 50 to 70 percent of pregnant women who experience chloasma. This is also called the mask of pregnancy. Scientists theorize that hormonal changes are the cause of these darkening spots, but the specifics aren’t yet known. The best way to prevent chloasma is to protect yourself from the sun. Buy a wide-brimmed hat if you’re expecting to be outside in the coming months, and apply sunscreen before going outside.
Hormones can make some women love being pregnant, but they can also make others feel miserable. If the changes are making you miserable, just remember, you’re almost halfway there.
Around 5 inches in length and weighing in at about 4 to 5 ounces, your baby is now bulking up. The skeleton, which has been comprised of primarily soft cartilage up to this point, is now transitioning into solid bone. Your baby is even adding a bit of fat to its little body, which will help regulate body temperature (and beef up those squeezable cheeks).
Twin Development at Week 17
Your doctor will track the growth of your twins throughout your pregnancy. Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is a condition in which one or more babies measure behind for their gestational age. Twins are at a higher risk for developing IUGR, but it’s also linked to chromosomal abnormalities, problems with the placenta, and other maternal issues.
If your doctor thinks your twins may have IUGR, they may monitor you closely using ultrasound. Treatment includes bed rest and even early delivery in some cases.
GI issues, such as heartburn, indigestion, and nausea, are some of the most common pregnancy discomforts, and they are experienced by the vast majority of women at some point during pregnancy. Heartburn, that burning sensation that tends to rise in your throat, can make you pretty uncomfortable, even if it’s not generally harmful. To avoid it, try eating a little at a time, and see if that helps. Your doctor may be able to offer you tips on antacids that are safe for your baby if the heartburn is causing you too much discomfort.
Gas and constipation are two other common GI issues that can plague your pregnancy. Because these issues can get worse the farther along you are, it’s best to make any diet or lifestyle changes early on to try to head those discomforts off before they get worse. You can’t do anything about the hormonal and body changes that are contributing to these feelings, but you can drink lots of water, move more (even a short walk can help), and eat more fiber. Though it may make you gassier in the short term, high-fiber foods can help control constipation in the long run.
Sciatic Nerve Pain
If you’ve been having intermittent shooting pains radiating from one of your legs, it may be from your sciatic nerve. It’s the largest nerve in your body and the pain can start in your lower back or hip and reach all the way down your legs. Researchers aren’t precisely sure as to why pregnant women experience this pain, but it could be due to the pressure your growing baby is putting on the nerve. Because the pain is generally centralized in one of your legs, try lying on the side that doesn’t hurt until the pain subsides. You may also want to try visiting a swimming pool. Swimming may help relieve some discomfort, plus it’s a great low-impact exercise during pregnancy.
Things to Do This Week for a Healthy Pregnancy
- Stick to flats or low-heeled shoes. As your belly continues to protrude outward, try to maintain your postural balance. To address this change in your center of gravity, you might want to shelve the high heels for now. The aftermath of a scary fall is not something you want to deal with.
- Start thinking about baby names. Anxious to find out whether your baby-to-be is a boy or girl? If so, you might be able to find out at your next ultrasound, which many women have sometime between 16 and 20 weeks. In preparation for the big reveal (or shortly thereafter), you might want to start throwing name ideas out there, if you haven’t already. It’ll give you some time to feel out which sounds the most appropriate for your child.
- Schedule a prenatal massage. As your body changes, you may find that you have new aches and pains. A prenatal massage is a great way to pamper your body and help relieve some of your discomfort. It’s also a nice way to relax. Just make sure you find someone who is trained in prenatal massage, and be sure to let the masseuse know how far along you are.
When to Call the Doctor
While your chances of miscarriage have decreased by this point, there is still a risk. If you have vaginal bleeding or fluid leakage, or severe abdominal pain, call your doctor immediately. You should also call your doctor if you have a fever.
If your sciatic pain seems to get worse in intensity or frequency, call your doctor to make sure nothing else is going on. They may be able to help you find relief.