During this week, your baby continues to grow and change, and your body goes through a few changes too. Getting regular exercise during this portion of your pregnancy can help keep those body changes from being bothersome and can improve your energy level.
Your Baby's Development
At 17 weeks, your baby is about five inches long from the top of its head to the bottom of its rump (not including the legs). He or she weighs about five ounces on average, although height and weight can vary quite a bit between babies.
According to the Mayo Clinic, your baby's big job this week is adding fat stores beneath the skin. This alters your little one's appearance by filling out his or her features. Of course, fat issue also helps to regulate body temperature and metabolism, which will be very important when your baby enters the outside world.
Your Changing Body
Your body is also changing this week in some important ways. According to the American Pregnancy Association, these are some of the changes you can expect during week 17.
At the same time as your baby bump becomes more noticeable, your internal organs will begin to shift. This is necessary to help compensate for the growth of your uterus and baby. The top of your uterus now appears longer and more rounded as it pushes your intestines out towards the sides of your abdomen. You probably won't really notice this shifting.
As your baby packs on the ounces, you may find that your appetite has increased. This is perfectly normal during the second trimester. Your baby is requiring lots of calories to grow and develop. Try to eat several small meals a day and get the healthy foods you and your baby need.
Changing Allergy Symptoms
If you have allergies, you may have noticed that they seem to flare up more often than before. This isn't a cause for concern, but you shouldn't take any over-the-counter allergy medications before consulting with your healthcare provider. Many medicines are not safe for expectant mothers.
Sometimes, women notice periodic pain in their legs during week 17. This pain is caused by your developing baby placing extra pressure on your sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs under your uterus to your legs and is the largest nerve in your body. Applying a heating pad or cold compress to the affected area may help relieve your discomfort. To prevent future problems, avoid heavy lifting and try to minimize the amount of time spent on your feet.
More to Know About Week 17 of Your Pregnancy
While expectant mothers were once thought to be too fragile for regular physical activity, doctors now believe there is no reason for healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies to avoid exercise. Exercising reduces the physical discomforts of pregnancy, improves your mental outlook, and helps you maintain your energy level. However, it's always important to consult your doctor or midwife before beginning an exercise program during pregnancy.
Activities such as walking, swimming, and cycling on a stationary bike are well-suited for most pregnant women. Yoga workouts designed for pregnancy are also quite popular. However, pregnant women should avoid potentially dangerous activities such as downhill skiing, scuba diving, and horseback riding.
No matter what type of workout you choose, you'll want to follow a few simple safety precautions. To stay safe while exercising, don't work out on an empty stomach, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, and never exercise to the point of exhaustion. It's also a good idea to wear appropriate clothing to minimize the risk of overheating.
If you need help downloading the pregnancy calendar, check out these helpful tips.