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Guide to Being 17 Weeks Pregnant

At 17 weeks, your body is changing, but you're feeling a whole lot better after that tough first trimester. See more pregnancy pictures.
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Just like fingerprints and snowflakes, no two pregnancies are alike. However, there are some standard experiences and changes that will probably occur right around your 17th week.

Now that you're firmly planted in the honeymoon period that is the second trimester, you're (ideally) free of morning sickness and other first trimester symptoms. Use all the time you would've spent sitting very, very still or clinging to the toilet to give your baby some special care. You can guarantee the healthiest start to his life by exercising regularly and eating as well as possible. Also, by now you're probably noticing some pretty funky physical changes, from your skin to your uterus, so keep reading to learn more about these seemingly bizarre, but totally normal pregnancy-induced modifications.

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Although you've still got some time before your belly reaches truly uncomfortable proportions, all the activity going on in your body is bound to have some significant side effects on you physically. For example, your stomach is being compressed thanks to your growing uterus, so it's not unusual to experience heartburn as a result. Also, your ever-expanding midsection is likely messing with your posture, with the end result of mild to serious backaches.

Your skin is also under substantial duress, thanks to the hormones and necessary stretching. This can cause a litany of superficial changes, like stretch marks, itchiness (particularly in the abdomen or breasts, where you're growing the most) and darkening skin pigmentation. You might also develop the linea negra, which is Latin for "dark line." It's just that -- a dark line that extends from your belly button to your pubic area. Don't worry; it goes away.

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Consult your obstetrician if you're feeling any sort of significant discomfort, and he or she will provide a handy list of pregnancy-safe medications that'll take the edge off.

The little guy or gal inside you is getting so big!
The little guy or gal inside you is getting so big!
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Although Junior's only tipping the scales around 3.5 ounces, that's a significant gain from just two weeks ago, when he only weighed half as much. He's now starting to pack on the pounds as fat is forming in his body. Roughly 5 inches from rump to crown, your baby's skeletal system is hardening from cartilage into bone, and his urinary and circulatory systems are fully functional. He's also reached the stage of development where he can hear. His world is full of many sounds, from your incredibly loud heartbeat to the rumblings of your active digestive system.

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It's very common for any future Daddy to feel neglected and comparatively unimportant because he's not the one carrying the baby. If you suspect that your partner longs to be more involved, enlist his help as your right-hand man.

Ask him to be present during your regular checkups, while you shop for baby furniture and to help out when you set up the gift registry. He can also take off some of the pressure by giving you regular foot rubs, cooking dinner and taking over house cleaning. Be sure to heap praise upon your helper, rather than taking his efforts for granted. Many a woman has slogged through pregnancy with nary a finger lifted by her partner, so tell your guy how much you appreciate him. If you're lucky, maybe he'll keep it up after the baby is born!

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You've been poked and prodded for months now, and this will continue for a while (even after childbirth).

So, is an amniocentesis really necessary? For many healthy women without pregnancy complications, the answer is no. Those of you with certain risk factors will probably be encouraged to undergo this diagnostic test, which checks for chromosomal abnormalities that often can't be detected in any other way.

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Many women are hesitant to undergo the minor procedure since it involves using a long needle to extract amniotic fluid from the uterus (not exactly a walk in the park, you know?). Amniocentesis carries a 1 percent risk of miscarriage, but the test is important for women who have certain risk factors. If you've got a family history of chromosomal abnormalities, are older than 35 and have had positive nuchal fold test results, you'll be urged or even required to have the test done. Discuss the test at length with your obstetrician and partner until you feel as comfortable as possible and have all your questions answered.

Keep up your favorite normal activities! Shopping, anyone?
Keep up your favorite normal activities! Shopping, anyone?
Jupiterimages/Thinkstock

You shouldn't be concerned if you feel a little bit dizzy on occasion. Your body is under a significant amount of stress right now, so it's only natural that you feel off-kilter at times. You can try to avoid the spins by transitioning slowly from sitting to standing, lying down to sitting, and so on.

It's also very common for even the most dentally conscious of us to experience bleeding gums during pregnancy. There's no need to switch up your oral hygiene routine; the culprit is simply the increase in your body's blood supply to sustain the pregnancy.

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Fetal movement is common by this point, but by no means guaranteed. Try not to stress yourself out if you've yet to feel baby's first kick. He'll do it when he's good and ready, just as he'll tackle every other milestone for the rest of his life on his own unique timeline.

Related Articles

Sources

  • "17 Weeks Pregnant: Your Weight Gain." BabyZone. (April 12, 2011).http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/week/article/17th-week-pregnancy
  • "16 Weeks Pregnant: Traveling While Pregnant." BabyZone. (April 12, 2011).http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/week/article/16th-week-pregnancy-pg2
  • "Your Pregnancy: 17 Weeks." BabyCenter. (April 12, 2011).http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-17-weeks_1106.bc
  • "Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 17-20." WebMD. (April 12, 2011).http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/your-pregnancy-week-by-week-weeks-17-20

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