3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Pregnancy Week 17, 17th Week Pregnancy, Pregnant at 17 Weeks

Pregnancy at 17 Weeks

If the baby you are expecting is a boy, his testosterone levels will have peaked between 12 and 16 weeks gestation, not only affecting the development of his sexual organs but also that of his brain. Scientists have found that regular ultrasound scans beginning a few weeks after this can distinguish a male from a female brain.

Development in 17th Week Pregnancy

Your baby now begins to lay down brown fat, which will play an important part in generating heat when he is born. The placenta is also growing quickly, providing a huge surface area that will provide him with nutrients and remove his waste products. No new structures are forming now, but existing ones are growing in size, developing further and becoming stronger. These are essential if your baby is to lead an independent existence outside of the uterus. By this stage he will weigh about 100 g and would still be able to fit into the palm of your hand.

Appearance in 17th Week Pregnancy

The soft downy lanugo makes swirly patterns, similar to those of fingerprints, all over your baby's body. His skin is still thin and very fragile because there is very little fat on his body.

Movement in 17th Week Pregnancy

His chest is making breathing movements like those he will make when he is born. However, he is not actually breathing yet because oxygen is being supplied via the umbilical cord. Rapid eye movements have been detected at this stage, suggesting that your baby dreams!

I'm 17 weeks pregnant and feel really low and miserable, and the slightest thing has me in tears. Will it affect my baby?

Mood swings and tearfulness are common in pregnancy because of the increased hormones in your body and because of sheer tiredness. Normal mood swings are unlikely to harm your baby. However, 10-15 per cent of women do get antenatal depression (in varying degrees). Talk to your midwife about how you are feeling as soon as possible. It is important to address this and to explore the cause, as there is an increased risk of developing postnatal depression, which, it is thought, can potentially affect the emotional development of your baby.

The placenta

  • By 17 weeks, the placenta is almost the same size as your baby.
  • After the first 3 months of pregnancy, when your placenta is fully functioning, it takes over the production of your pregnancy hormones.
  • At full term the placenta is round and flat, about 23 cm in diameter and 2 cm thick in the middle, getting thinner towards the edges.
  • In the last few weeks of pregnancy the placenta is normally situated n the top half of the uterus.
  • Nicotine, drugs and alcohol can pass through the placenta to your baby.
  • The placenta transmits some of your antibodies to your baby, helping to protect him against diseases to which you are immune.