YOUR CHANGING LIFE
Can I touch your bump?
Welcome to week 17. By now, your baby bump is probably starting to show and friends, family members and even strangers can now tell that you're definitely pregnant. While it's up to you whether you want to let people touch your bump (you can almost count on being asked at some point), there's no denying how great it feels to finally be showing. But what else is going on with your body this week?
For starters, you might have noticed that you're starting to put on more weight. Now is definitely a good time to start shopping for maternity clothes if you haven't already. And while weight gain is necessary to support your growing baby, it's likely that you currently feel less-than-thrilled at the prospect. Just keep in mind that you can get back to your normal weight after your little one's born and that daily moisturizing can help prevent stretch marks.
Other bump-related symptoms that you may experience this week include the onset of backaches, which can get worse as your baby grows and puts pressure on your spine. Try taking it easy and consider asking your doctor about over-the-counter painkillers if the ache becomes unbearable. You might also have started to notice that you feel a bit unsteady on your feet. Now that you have the extra weight up front in your belly, your center of gravity is a little off, which is probably making you feel more likely to topple over. Be sure to wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes and take extra care when you're walking on slippery or uneven surfaces.
Finally, you might have started to snore on a regular basis during your pregnancy, which could be really annoying to your partner. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in pregnant women because hormones cause congestion and swelling in your nose, making it more difficult to breathe. Try bringing a humidifier into your room, wearing nose strips or sleeping on a couple of pillows to elevate your head. If worse comes to worse, tell your partner to invest in a pair of earplugs and simply apologize!
YOUR BABY THIS WEEK
From avocado to onion
Now that it's week 17, your little one is roughly the size of an onion and weighs about 6 ounces. He or she is starting to put on body fat, so growth will continue rapidly over the next several weeks – his or her weight will be about six times heavier four weeks from now! These fat stores will keep your baby warm and cozy after birth.
At this point, your baby's heart is no longer beating randomly to test out the organ – it's now being controlled by the brain, which is making it pump blood and beat 140 to 150 times a minute. That's twice as fast as your heart!
Your little one's skeleton is starting to change from soft cartilage to harder bones. The umbilical cord is also thickening and strengthening and your baby becomes more dependent on the placenta. Even sweat glands on his or her skin are starting to develop!
Sucking and swallowing reflexes are still going strong so your baby can practice these important movements, and those joints are still moving. In fact, you might have already started to feel a few flutters by now – many moms feel their babies by the 17th week of pregnancy.
Start planning the nursery
Even if you're opting not to find out the sex of your baby until he or she is born, you can still get in on the nursery planning this week. You have a lot of preparations to make over the next several weeks to ensure that your bundle of joy has a comfortable space where you two can bond.
It might help to start out by choosing a theme or a color palette for the nursery. This can be related to the gender of your baby or even your favorite childhood toys or stories. Picking a solid theme can help narrow down the types of accessories and furnishings you'll need.
Keep in mind that you don't have to spend a fortune on your child's nursery – in fact, it's better not to! After all, he or she will outgrow the crib, the changing table and a lot of the other furniture items in what seems like no time at all, so don't stress over finding the perfect gear. If you do want to splurge, it's smart to invest in items that can change with your little one as he or she grows.
Be sure to make the room comfortable for you and your partner as well. You'll likely be spending plenty of time changing diapers, feeding and rocking your baby. A cozy chair and plenty of storage space will ensure that you'll have everything you need to provide for your child.