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Your Pregnancy, Week 17

By Dr. Jen Lincoln (Bundoo®). Edited by Dr. Kate Dudek

Hard to believe it, but you are now well into your second trimester and there’s probably no hiding that you’re pregnant now. You might find strangers want to start touching your bump; remember they mean well, but if this makes you uncomfortable it is fine to ask them not to.

Your Body
Your uterus is continuing to move up into the abdomen and it will soon start pushing other organs aside to make space for your growing baby, including your intestines and lower abdominal organs. For now, you probably won’t feel this as there is still plenty of room, but in the coming months, when it seems as though you’re running to the bathroom every few minutes, you’ll have your uterus to thank for squashing your bladder.

If you suffer from allergies, you might have noticed that your nose seems more blocked than before, and you might even have started snoring. Don’t worry; this should be temporary! In the same way that the hormone progesterone has caused blood vessels throughout your body to expand to accommodate the increased blood flow, it has also caused the blood vessels in your nose and sinuses to expand, leading to a feeling of congestion and snoring at night. If the snoring bothers your partner, you can try using a nasal strip or propping your head up at night.

Other pregnancy-associated signs you might start to experience now (if you haven’t already) include round ligament pain and increased vaginal discharge. The increased discharge is called leukorrhea and is yellowish or white or colour. It is totally normal throughout pregnancy and rarely signals an underlying health issue. It is another consequence of the increased blood flow around the body, in this case to your vagina. If it seems excessive use a panty liner or a sanitary pad and try to stick to wearing cotton underwear. If the discharge is a heavy yellow or green, starts itching or burning, or has an unpleasant smell, it might indicate an infection. You should schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider, who will be able to prescribe medication to treat the infection.

Your Baby
Your baby’s foetal age is now 15 weeks. He or she will probably weigh between 100 and 140 grams. Your baby will now be doubling in weight approximately every two weeks, and this growth rate will continue for the next few weeks at least. Your baby will be between 12 and 13 cm long and about the size of an open hand or medium-sized sweet potato.
All of the positives from last week - increased awareness of the outside world, reaction to outside stimulus, and deliberate movement - continue and accelerate this week.

Other exciting things are also happening. Right around now, your baby’s unique fingerprints are beginning to form. Ultrasound scans show that babies at this age are regularly seen sucking their thumbs, making faces, and waving their hands in front of their faces. Internally, your baby’s skeleton is continuing to mature, with bone replacing cartilage and joints completing their formation.

Finally, your baby is also starting to produce fat reserves. This is a critical part of preparing for birth and life outside the womb. Fat provides protection and energy. This may cause you to experience an increased appetite too.

Doctor’s Tip:
"Intercourse during pregnancy is normal and healthy. The only reason to avoid it is if your doctor or midwife recommends against it."

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