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The Inside Story: Your Baby in Week Seventeen

Your baby is growing stronger by the day. You can feel that for yourself as those first timid flutters become more pronounced pokes from her busy little feet and hands. She can touch her own face, and she may be looking for her thumb to suck.

Your baby is now about 5 inches long -- that's not quite as long as a ballpoint pen -- and her body systems are in good working order. Her circulatory system and urinary tract are functioning, and she is inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid as she learns to breathe.

Pink nipples are forming on her chest, and your baby has mammary glands even if she's a he. If your baby is a girl, her ovaries are busy developing tiny follicles. She will have 6 million eggs or so at this point in your pregnancy, but that number will fall to about 1 million by the time she is born.

If you could see your baby, she'd look long and lanky, with legs not much bigger around than your thumb. Soon she'll start developing a layer of fat that will keep her warm after birth. In fact, a newborn weighing about 8 pounds at birth will have more than 5 pounds of fat on her body.

Pregnancy Month by Month: Month 5
Pregnancy Month by Month: Month 5

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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