Now in pregnancy week 17, the baby is 4.4 to 4.8 inches long. The placenta also grows quickly, providing a huge surface area that will provide the baby with nutrients and remove the waste products. No new structures are formed now, but existing ones grow in size, developing further and becoming stronger. The chest makes breathing movements. By pregnancy week 17, the placenta is almost the size of the baby. The cartilage that makes up the skeleton starts to transform into bones during this week. There is also a feeling of the baby moving and continues its movements as it grows up. Fat also begins to form which helps in the baby’s heat production and metabolism. The lungs begin to exhale amniotic fluid and the circulatory and the urinary systems are working too. Various parts of the brain of the baby are developed.
The uterus starts changing shape with the growth of the pregnancy. There is more vaginal discharge now partly because of the increased estrogen production and more flow of blood in the genital area. This vaginal discharge is completely normal. Mood swings and tearfulness are common which is because of the increase number of hormones in the body. During pregnancy week 17 the intestines get pressed to the sides. More weight is gained by this week of pregnancy. The placenta is thick about an inch. The placenta provides nutrients and oxygen to the baby and also removes the waste.
Bleeding gums during pregnancy week 17 is another symptom which is experienced. The gums bleed due to hormones. A dark line also appears which extends from the belly to the vaginal area. This dark line disappears after pregnancy. To avoid swelling plenty of fluids should be taken. Skin spots and pigmentation also disappear after the baby is born. The heart continues to pump at an increasing rate. There is an increased weight on the belly and breasts which might lead to pain in the back. Sleeping on a firm mattress and wearing low and comfortable shoes might help. Many women also experience heartburn which keeps increasing with the growth of the baby. The growing uterus during pregnancy week 17 puts pressure on the stomach and hormones slow down digestion. To avoid heartburn small and frequent meals should be taken. Fatty, oily and greasy food should be avoided. Food should be eaten slowly and chewed properly. Eating yoghurt before having meals might also help. To avoid constipation food containing plenty of fiber should be eaten. At least eight glasses of water should be consumed during the day.
A healthy and well balanced diet should be taken which should include proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and plenty of water. Meals should include lots of wholegrain breads and cereals. Complex carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables should be included in the diet. Folate, a B group vitamin is also essential and is found in a variety of foods. Green, leafy vegetables are high in folic acid. Ample fruits and vegetables should be eaten every day. Eating a variety of vegetables provides a good nutritional balance. Fresh fruits are rich in fiber and help in getting rid of constipation during pregnancy. Protein is needed during pregnancy for the growth of the fetus and the placenta, uterus and breasts. 6 to 7 ounces of protein a day is recommended during pregnancy. Poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, nuts and seeds are good sources of protein.