What’s going on?
You will be able to feel more of your baby’s movement from this week onwards, and with your little one growing rapidly, your appetite expands as well to fuel the growth. With fatigue out of the way, you are probably feeling more energetic now so do grab this chance to stay healthy and active.
Baby at Week 17
Your baby’s arms, legs and trunk have caught up in terms of size in relation to his/her head. He/she is starting to sport more fat this week as well, as body fat is deposited under the skin and sweat glands develop. Your little one now measures at 13cm long and weighs around 150g. He/she is about the size of a pear and would fit in the palm of your hand nicely.
With your baby’s heartbeat being regulated by the brain, it may not be regular yet, but it will still be beating between 140 to 150 beats per minute. Now, that’s about twice as fast as your own heartbeat! On the other hand, there are some things that are remaining constant – unique patterns are forming on your baby’s toes and fingers this week, and these will stay put for the rest of his/her life.
You might also want to note that the placenta is now almost as big as your baby! This probably makes sense as it has a very important role to play in providing vitamins, minerals, proteins, fast and oxygen to your baby, while removing waste and filtering carbon dioxide.
What is mum up to?
As your bump expands, your centre of gravity shifts as well, which may cause you to feel a tad unsteady on your feet at times. While this makes up part of the joys of pregnancy, you can avoid the risks of falling by making some lifestyle changes (for example, by wearing flats or low-heeled shoes).
On a brighter note, you might also notice a spike in your energy levels as you feel less tired these days. Now’s a great time for you to stay active and one form of ‘exercise’ that you should be doing is the pelvic floor exercise.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Sit comfortably with your knees slightly apart
- Imagine that you are trying to stop yourself from passing wind from the bowel
- Squeeze the muscles around the back passage, and lift that muscle as if you really do have wind. You should be able to feel the muscle moving.
- Attempt to squeeze the muscles 10 to 15 times in a row
- Do note that your buttocks and legs should not be moving at all, and you should be able to feel the skin around the back passage tightening and being pulled up and away
When you work at strengthening the pelvic floor muscles now, you will have an easier time at getting them to work efficiently after birth and avoid ‘leaking accidents’ when you laugh, cough or sneeze.
Top tips for Week 17
By now, you are probably aware that your baby can benefit from brain-boosting omega-3 fish sources such as salmon. However, do take note that there are some varieties that should be avoided due to the high levels of mercury, as this could affect your baby’s developing brain and nervous system.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lay out the following recommendations for pregnant women:
- To stay away from swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish
- To limit the consumption of lower-mercury fish such as salmon, catfish, pollock, shrimp and canned light tuna to 12 ounces a week
(Note: Of those 12 ounces, only 6 should come from canned albacore tuna, chunk white tuna and tuna steak combined, which may have higher mercury levels than light tuna)