Fetal growth is a truly amazing thing. During the 17th week of pregnancy, your baby is continuing to grow faster than ever before. S/he may measure as long as 6 inches and weigh up to 7 ounces. All reflexes are in place so your little one can now 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. Remember, fetal growth doesn't occur without some effect on your body. You have probably gained between five and ten pounds at this point, which is common and normal. As your baby grows and gains weight, so will you.
At the prenatal visit
If an amniocentesis was not scheduled in week 16, it may be scheduled this week or next. Discussing the potential risks versus rewards for the amniocentesis is important. Not every doctor will push an expectant mom to have the test done. Remember that even if the doctor is adamant about testing amniotic fluid, you and your partner have the final say.
Fetal movements can be felt from inside but not necessarily through the abdominal tissues from the outside. This can quickly change so Dad should feel the tummy often. Before long, simple placement of the hand on Mom's belly will cause the most memorable moment in life — feeling your baby move!
Tips for this week
This is the prime of pregnancy. The uterus is growing to the point where it is visible to other people and you may feel better than you have in a long time. Shopping, vacationing and just having fun are perfect pastimes for an expectant couple now.
Periods of rapid growth in the uterus require more calories and food, so choose your food wisely. A healthy pregnancy diet includes whole grains, healthy fats, and lots of water. Prenatal vitamins should still be taken every day.