Pregnancy week 17

Week 17 of Your Pregnancy

It's week 17 of your pregnancy, and you may notice your symptoms are changing. Here’s everything you need to know about this week of pregnancy.

Week 17 of pregnancy is an exciting time because you may start feeling movement from your unborn baby. That was the case for me. I was in week 17 when I first felt my twins move. I paused mid-conversation and told my aunt (a mother of two) what I thought was happening. Seconds later, I felt it again, and I immediately became a bag of tears.

New experiences like this tend to make the second trimester exciting for many pregnant people. Here’s what else you’ll want to look for during this week and why you should begin thinking about how to advocate for your unborn baby’s birth.

Pregnancy Week 17 Quick Facts

  • At 17 weeks, you're four months pregnant
  • You have 23 weeks until your due date
  • You're in your second trimester

Your Unborn Baby's Size At 17 Weeks

At this stage, your unborn baby is about 5.12 inches long and weighs 4.94 ounces. That's like the size of a pear.

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Pregnancy Symptoms Week 17

While some symptoms may have eased at this point in pregnancy, you might not be able to shake some others like these:

By 17 weeks, I was no longer dragging through my days from intense fatigue, and I loved it. But my energy would drop at some point in the day, and I needed a bed. I couldn't make it without a nap. If you have this feeling, give your body what it needs—rest. If you have the option, plan some downtime in the middle of your day for a quick power nap to recharge your wildly working body.

It's also common to experience some mild cramping, but always check with your health care provider if you have any concerns. And muscle and/or ligament pain is not unusual. Some exercise can help that discomfort. "Yoga during pregnancy is very helpful to alleviate some of the muscle and ligament pains that come with the growing uterus," says Jill Purdie, M.D., a board-certified OB-GYN at Pediatrix.

Developmental Milestones

Your unborn baby's eyebrows and hair are forming this week, and they're also starting to grow nails, says Yamel Belen, a Tampa, Florida-based doula and owner of One Love Doula. Their arms and legs are growing and becoming proportional, and the fetus is gaining more weight. Sweat glands are also developing.

Prenatal Tests And Doctor's Appointments

Week 17 is typically an off week from scheduled visits, as there are no significant tests during this time. For other health-related appointments, like dental care or eye exams, be sure to make them aware of your pregnancy.

Common Questions at This Pregnancy Stage

When will I feel my unborn baby move?

If you've been anticipating feeling your baby move, don't be surprised if you do during week 17—especially if this isn't your first pregnancy. "The most common type of movement at 17 weeks is a fluttering feeling in the lower abdomen,” explains Dr. Purdie. “Many describe it as butterflies in their bellies, gas bubbles, or a small tapping sensation."

But it’s also normal if you don’t feel anything at all during week 17. That’s especially true if you’re in your first pregnancy, as most first-time pregnant people will feel fetal movement around 20 weeks.

How often should I feel my baby moving?

Experts say there's no need to clock your unborn baby's movements at this stage. Just enjoy them as they come. "If you do feel movement, it is unlikely to be regular,” says Dr. Purdie. “You may feel some movement one day and then not again for several days.” This is OK.

Things You Might Consider This Week

If you haven't shared the news that you're expecting, people around you may begin to notice as your belly is likely starting to grow at this point. When and how you reveal a pregnancy is a personal choice and there should be no rush. If you want to let relatives, friends, and/or co-workers know at this point, that’s great, and however you choose to do it is acceptable. But with that news can come a ton of questions and a desire for people to rub your belly. Get prepared for how you plan to dodge any unwanted contact or how you might answer questions like, “Do you know what you’re having?” and “Do you know what you’ll name your baby?”

Your growing body can stir up emotions, especially if you’ve ever struggled with an eating disorder. That’s not unusual, but it’s important to find ways to cope if you find yourself struggling or worrying you might begin to. Don’t hesitate to seek therapy if you feel it will benefit you. Your medical provider can be a great resource to help you find a therapist.

Also, consider treating yourself to a prenatal massage. You deserve it! Just make sure it’s a credible place. Your health care provider may be able to recommend a qualified massage therapist in your area.

Support You May Need This Week

Advocacy during birth is essential. But speaking up for yourself may be difficult, especially when you’re vulnerable and going through an intense labor experience. It can be beneficial to have a partner or family member familiar with advocating for your birth plan. Start having these conversations with them. 

If you haven’t already, use this week to also consider having a doula. They familiarize themselves with your needs and desires and can coach you through the rest of your pregnancy. A major part of their job is advocating in birth spaces to ensure your safety.

Head over to week 18 of pregnancy

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