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17 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms, Tips, and More

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 reason you’re going through it all.

Weight gain at week 17
If you began your pregnancy with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9, your total weight gain goal so far should be 5 to 12 pounds. That means if you weighed 140 pounds when you got pregnant, you should expect to weigh between 145 and 152 pounds by the end of week 17.

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.

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Your baby

Your baby

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Around 5 inches in length and weighing in at about 4 to 5 ounces, your baby is now bulking up. Their skeleton, which has been comprised primarily of soft cartilage, is now transitioning into solid bone. Your baby is even adding a bit of fat to their body, which will help regulate body temperature.

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Twins

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 will monitor you closely using ultrasound. Treatment includes bed rest and even early delivery in some cases.

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Symptoms

17 weeks pregnant symptoms

By week 17 some symptoms you may experience, in addition to nausea, include:

GI issues

GI issues, such as heartburn, indigestion, and nausea, are some of the most common pregnancy discomforts. They are experienced by most women at some point during pregnancy.

Heartburn, a burning sensation that tends to rise in your throat, can make you 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 a lot of discomfort.

Gas and constipation are two other common GI issues. Because these issues can get worse the farther along you are in your pregnancy, it’s best to make any diet or lifestyle changes early on to limit those discomforts before they get worse. You can’t do anything about the hormonal and body changes that contribute to these feelings, but you can drink lots of water, move more (even a short walk can help), and eat more fiber. High-fiber foods can help control constipation in the long-term, though they may make you gassier in the short-term. Read more on abdominal pain during pregnancy: Is it gas pain or something else?

Skin pigmentation

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 melasma. 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 known.

The best way to prevent melasma 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 uncomfortable. If the changes are making you uncomfortable, just remember, you’re almost halfway through your pregnancy.

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 sure 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. Also, trying sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees and ankles.

You may also want to try swimming. Swimming may help relieve some discomfort, plus it’s a great low-impact exercise during pregnancy.

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Things to do

Things to do this week for a healthy pregnancy

Stick to flats or low-heeled shoes. As your belly continues to protrude, try to maintain your postural balance. To address the 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.

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 after), you might want to start thinking about baby names if you haven’t already.

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.

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Call the doctor

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, fluid leakage, or severe abdominal pain, call your doctor immediately. You should also call your doctor if you have a fever. Read more about vaginal discharge during pregnancy.

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.

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