What to expect at 17 weeks pregnant

Dr Christine Catling

Dr Christine Catling

Dr Christine Catling, a midwife for over 25 years, is the Director of Midwifery Studies at UTS. She believes research, innovation and good quality midwifery are pivotal to the well-being of mothers and young families. Christine has extensive experience in antenatal education, policy development and research, and has published on workforce issues, homebirth, vaginal birth...
Updated on Jun 14, 2024 · 4 mins read
What to expect at 17 weeks pregnant

Your baby


At this stage of your baby’s development, a significant transformation is underway. Previously, your little one may have appeared thin and delicate, but now an amazing change is occurring. This week fat will start to build up under the skin which helps produce heat as well as baby’s metabolism.

Notably, your baby’s sensory experiences are expanding. The ability to hear external sounds beyond the protective confines of the womb has emerged, giving your little one a connection to the outside world. Additionally, even though your baby’s breathing is not yet drawing in air, it is actively practicing respiration by inhaling amniotic fluid rich in oxygen, which is being supplied by the placenta.

Another exciting development takes place as your baby begins to engage with its own body and environment using its tiny hands (CUTE!). If you happen to be expecting twins or triplets, this stage marks a significant milestone when these siblings are likely to discover and interact with one another, fostering a unique bond within the womb.

17 weeks fetus size


At 17 weeks of pregnancy, the fetus is approximately the size of a turnip or a pomegranate. On average, the length of the fetus from crown to rump is about 5.1 inches (13 centimetres), and it weighs around 5.9 ounces (168 grams). However, it’s important to note that these measurements are approximate and can vary from one pregnancy to another.

By this stage, the fetus has undergone significant development. Its body is more proportionate, with the head becoming more aligned with the rest of the body. The limbs have grown and are now in better proportion to the body as well. The skeleton continues to harden, and the bones can be seen on an ultrasound.

Also, the facial features are becoming more defined, with the eyes moving closer together and the ears positioned in their proper place – your little person is starting to look like an actual little person!


How you’re feeling


Hot hot HOT! You might have already noticed an increase in your body temperature largely due to the increased blood flow – and it can affect you even in the winter months. There’s a reason for the old saying bun in the over – because you become the oven.

Many women may begin to feel their baby’s movements for the first time around this period. These movements, known as “quickening,” may feel like fluttering sensations or gentle taps – it’s exciting and definitely emotional! Meanwhile, your uterus continues to expand, which can lead to mild discomfort or a stretching sensation in the abdomen. You may now have a pregnant belly aka baby bump starting to show.

svg%3EYour pregnancy at 17 weeks


Weekly tip


If you’re feeling the heat and are extra sweaty, make sure you’re drinking lots of water so you don’t get dehydrated. Wear loose-fitting, natural fibre clothes and ditch the heavy covers at night.

Keeping a fan by your bed can also help as the heat really tends to feel worse in the dead of night when you’re trying to sleep. Outside of that think cool treats – ice blocks or sucking on ice cubes, spray bottles filled with cool water or taking a dip in a pool or at the beach (or close your eyes in the shower and imagine yourself on a tropical beach somewhere…)

Pregnancy is not the time to be overdoing it in the heat, so if you know it’s going to be a hot day plan to stay inside wherever possible and keep up the fluids. Dehydration and heatstroke can be dangerous for you and the baby so make sure you do everything you can to avoid it in the first place.

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