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Fetal growth is an amazing thing. During the 17th week of pregnancy, the fetus is continuing to grow faster than ever before. The fetus may measure as long as 6 inches and weigh up to 7 ounces.
All reflexes are in place so the fetus can suck, swallow and blink. Fat is being stored under the skin so good nutrition is important. The heart is pumping vigorously and can pump more than 25 quarts of blood on any given day.
The uterus now stretches below the belly button by about 2 inches. Fetal growth does not come without some effect on the pregnant body. Expecting mothers have probably gained between five and ten pounds at this point, which is common and normal. As the fetus grows and gains weight, so will the pregnant woman.
Fetal movements can be felt from inside but not necessarily through the abdominal tissues. This can quickly change so dad needs to feel the tummy often. Before long, a simple placement of the hand on the uterus will cause the most memorable moment in life – feeling the baby move.
This is the prime of pregnancy. The uterus is growing to the point where it is visible to other people and the pregnant woman may feel better than she has in a long time. Shopping, vacationing and having fun are perfect pastimes for the expecting couple. Periods of rapid growth in the uterus require more calories and food. A healthy pregnancy diet includes whole grains, healthy fats and lots of water. Prenatal vitamins should still be taken every day.
If an amniocentesis was not scheduled in week 16, it may be schedule this week or next. Discussing the potential risks versus rewards for the amniocentesis is important. Not every doctor will push an expecting woman to receive the test, but even if the doctor is adamant about testing amniotic fluid, the expecting couple has the final say.