A week by week guide to pregnancy - week 17

In December, St James' Palace made one of the most eagerly anticipated announcements in years with the news that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant. And since then, all eyes have been on Kate as she embarks on an incredible nine-month journey into motherhood.

With that in mind, Teresa Walsh, Midwife Childbirth Educator at
The Portland Hospital for Women & Children, shares a week-by-week guide to pregnancy with HELLO! Online.

Week 17

By week 17 you will be well aware you are pregnant as your body shape is gradually adjusting to your growing baby. You won’t feel when your baby is stretching and moving but you will be anticipating feeling his or her movements.


What's happening to your baby? Week 17

Your baby will be approximately 11cm long and its liver and pancreas will already produce fluid. The soft cartilage is starting to harden into bone and the umbilical cord is strengthening and growing as well. It is baby's lifeline to the placenta and he or she will often find this and hold it from time to time.

The gender of your baby can be seen by ultrasound and, if it is a girl, she will already have all the eggs in her ovaries that she will need during her lifetime.

Baby teeth will have formed in the gums and the baby’s unique fingerprint is forming too. Your baby stretches and yawns. His or her little facial features can grimace, although it will be sleeping a lot your baby will move about freely when awake.

What's happening to you? Week 17

Mums-to-be will have an increase in her blood supply and body fluids. She may notice her legs ache if she is standing for long periods and any veins present may be more noticeable. She may also notice fullness in her tummy at the end of the day

Some mothers notice their nails become brittle. This is normal and of no consequence. On a positive note, your hair may look and feel healthy and vibrant, as not much is shred during pregnancy.

You may like to consider ensuring that your diet contains sufficient calcium and fluoride as these minerals will help your baby’s bones and teeth as they develop. If your legs are tired or you do notice varicous veins, you may benefit from support stockings as these generally help with circulation.

If you have noticed a tendency to fainting episodes you might try moving slowly from lying or sitting when you need to stand up.

Wear your baby on board badge in an obvious place and take any offer of a seat on public transport.