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17 weeks pregnant - all you need to know

Your baby is about the size of an orange, about 12cm long, and weighs roughly 150g. Your bump is getting bigger.

17 weeks infographic.

What does my baby look like in week 17? 

If you could see your baby’s face, you’d notice eyelashes and eyebrows starting to grow.

And if you could take their hand, you’d see they already have a unique fingerprint.

Before this point, your baby’s head was bigger in proportion to their body. Now, however, their body is starting to fill out, and their proportions are starting to even out. 

Your baby’s eyes can move, although their eyelids are still shut, and won’t open again until week 26. The bone tissue in their feet begins to harden.

The placenta continues to grow to keep up with your baby's needs. By the time you give birth it will weigh about 500g.

Your pregnancy symptoms in week 17

Do you have swollen feet? Suffering from pelvic pain or headaches?

Here’s our guide to 10 common pregnancy complaints (and how to avoid them).

Bump watch

Your waist will start to disappear as your womb moves up out of your pelvis and your bump becomes more noticeable. If you've been pregnant before, your bump may start showing a bit sooner than for first-time mums. Have you thought about keeping a bump diary and taking pictures each week?

How are you feeling?

You may start to feel happier and more confident as your bump becomes more noticeable and you start to feel baby move. Some women and men find that their pregnancy suddenly feels more real when they first see the baby at a scan.

You may also have more energy to enjoy getting out and about more.

However, pregnancy can make worries about money or relationships feel bigger. As many as 1 in 10 expectant mums feel stressed and anxious.

Pregnancy hormones can often be to blame, not to mention coping with health issues, worrying about giving birth and the responsibilities of parenthood.

If you’re feeling stressed and anxious, or suffering from depression, don’t hesitate to tell your midwife. They are there to talk about your mental wellbeing in pregnancy, as well as your physical health. Our mental wellbeing tool can also help you think about how you are feeling during your pregnancy and plan ahead for after the birth. You can complete your pregnancy and post-birth wellbeing plan at any point during pregnancy.

What to do in week 17

You’ll have your second scan, known as the ‘fetal anomaly scan' between 18 and 21 weeks.

The reason for this scan is to check the growth and development of your baby.

The sonographer might also be able to tell the sex of your baby at this scan, though some hospitals have a policy of not revealing this. If you'd prefer not to know whether you're having a boy or a girl, let them know so they don't accidentally tell you the gender.

‘I didn’t find out what we were expecting in my first pregnancy. In some ways waiting was excruciating but it was so exciting not knowing. We found out with our second, but I think I preferred the element of surprise the first time!’

Lucy, mum of two.

Find out more about pregnancy ultrasound scans.

You do not need to eat for two

You may be wondering what to eat, or how much. No matter what well-meaning people might say you don’t need to eat for two during pregnancy. Your baby takes everything they need from your body, and will grow well without you taking in any extra calories at all until the last three months.

Once you reach six months pregnancy, you may need an extra 200 calories a day, which is around half a sandwich.

Here are 10 super snack suggestions to help your baby grow.

Are you getting enough vitamin D?

All pregnant women should take a 10 microgram supplement of vitamin D each day to give your baby enough vitamin D for the first few months of life.

Without it, there is a risk that your child will have soft bones, which can lead to rickets (a disease that affects bone development in children).

Find out about more vital supplements in pregnancy.

Aerobics in pregnancy

Aerobics is great for your heart and lungs and improves muscle strength. If you’ve been doing aerobics, you can carry on while you’re pregnant.

If you’re new to it, tell the instructor you’re pregnant and start with just 15 minutes' continuous exercise three times a week. Increase this gradually to a maximum of four 30-minute sessions a week.

“I exercised throughout both my pregnancies, right up until my due date. I was more tired in the second pregnancy, because I was running around after my daughter, but I always did something active because it made me feel better.”

Anna, mum of two

Find out more about when to be careful when exercising in pregnancy

Free prescriptions and NHS dental care

If you haven't yet applied for your maternity exemption certificate - which you can use to get free NHS dental treatment and free prescriptions - ask your doctor or midwife about it.

You'll need to fill in a form FW8, which they will be able to give you. Read our frequently asked questions about drugs and medicines in pregnancy.


Lennart Nilsson (2009) A Child is Born, Johnathan Cape

NHS Choices (2013). You and your pregnancy at 17-20 weeks pregnant. (Page last reviewed: 31/03/2017 Next review due: 31/03/2020)

NICE (2008) Antenatal care for uncomplicated pregnancies,Clinical guideline [CG62] Last updated: January 2017.

RCOG (2006) Recreational Exercise and Pregnancy: Information for you, London, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists:

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    Last reviewed on June 26th, 2018. Next review date June 26th, 2021.

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    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
    • By Jenny (not verified) on 10 Jul 2018 - 06:09

      Hi, I'm 17wks 4days today and I've not had sex since I last ovulated, each time my husband and I try to do it I get a burning sensation at the entrance of my privates and it hurts a lot when he goes in
      I don't know what to do and I'm scared this might continue till the baby comes.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Jul 2018 - 13:12

      Hi Jenny,
      Sex is different for everyone in pregnancy and women find that their libido changes. If you are finding that sex is painful or uncomfortable then using a lubricant can help. Finding ways to relax can also help as often it can be psychological too, particularly when you are expecting it to hurt. Do not feel pressure to have sex, if it does not feel right then do not force yourself, it is important for you to feel comfortable.
      Best wises,
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Tash (not verified) on 4 Apr 2020 - 21:00

      I am 17wks pregnant and had a burning sensation when I had sex with my husband ...pliz help

    • By Anna (not verified) on 31 May 2018 - 14:49

      I've just turned 17 weeks pregnant. One day I'm really happy and feel pregnant. Another I feel down and don't think I am pregnant and that something has happened. I have no bump or movements. I sometimes get lower back ache and cramps in my legs when I wake in the morning.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Jun 2018 - 11:16

      Dear Anna,
      Pregnancy can be a time filled with whole range of emotions, including anxiety and uncertainty. If you are feeling this way then we would really encourage you to speak with your midwife for support.
      Please know that we are here to support you too, you can email us [email protected] or call on 0800 0147 800.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Bekki (not verified) on 16 May 2018 - 05:42


      We went for 12 week scan but baby wouldn’t let them look at neck so I had to go back for blood tests. These have come back low risk for Downs but Increased Risk for Neural Tube Defect. Was called in for quick scan - again scan wasn’t too clear but doctor said head and top of spine looks clear so we just have to wait until 20 week scan to find out which is 4 weeks away. Just wondering what the likelihood of all turning out ok is with an increased risk or after googling could there be anything wrong with me instead of the baby?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 17 May 2018 - 12:51

      Hi Bekki,

      It is difficult to say the likely hood of what the outcome will be as this is an estimated risk result, so we cannot give any accurate answers either way at this time. It is reassuring that the head and the top of the spine looks clear but we can only go by the next outcome of your scan at 20 weeks before predicting anything going forward.

      As long as you are taking your pregnancy vitamins which has the correct amount of folic acid in that helps to protect against neural tube defects and you are mainlining a health diet then you are doing everything right at this stage.

      We are sorry that we cannot give you a more accurate answer at this time. You may want to contact the charity ARC ( Antenatal Results and Choices) as they may be able to give you more detailed information, this is the link to the website We hope that this helps a little and please contact us if we can be of any further help, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

    • By Ang (not verified) on 13 May 2018 - 18:35

      Hello. Just a quick query. I’m 17 weeks pregnant and have an ongoing pain on one side of my perineum. It’s been there for roughly 2 weeks and is mostly either dull aching or throbbing. I’ve had treatment for a bartholins abscess in the past but there is no swelling this time and nothing abnormal to see. No other symptoms at all. I dont know if it’s just one of those odd things that no one can explain? Or something some pregnant women can experience? Thanks so much for ur advice/help.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 May 2018 - 09:36

      Hi Ang
      It would certainly be worth going to your GP about this. Pregnancy naturally causes the pelvic organs to become more swollen with increased blood flow, so it is possible that you will generally feel more tender. I would suggest that a visit to the GP so that they can examine you if it continues to be sore would be your best plan. The GP can refer you back to the Gynae team who drained the cyst if you don't have direct access to them yourself. If you do have contact with a member of the Gynae team, then please feel free to request another follow up appointment with them, as they are specialists.
      All the best
      Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

    • By Dimma (not verified) on 7 May 2018 - 08:29

      hi, just entered my 17wks with my 4th baby, experiencing what i have never experienced before, aches in the pelvic area that doesn't go away even after walking or doing chores, vulva itching that i can't control but scratch, my whole body changed totally, what do i do. tnx

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 8 May 2018 - 10:55

      Hi Dimma,
      Thanks for posting. I'm sorry that you are suffering. Are you due to see your midwife soon?
      It is really hard experiencing pelvic pain. I wonder if you are developing pelvic girdle pain. Please have a look at the website link below for more information.
      I would also get your urine dipped just to exclude any infection Dimma.
      I'm interested to know more about the itching. If it is mostly around the vulval area this is likely to be a result of a rise in pregnancy hormones that cause a growth of yeast or bacteria leading to Thrush or Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) in your vagina.
      If you can see your Dr they should be able to prescribe a cream to treat and reduce the itching.
      If you are suffering from itching on your body, or hands and soles of your feet please see the doctor today just to exclude Obstetric Cholestasis which would be unusual at 17 weeks but good to get checked out if you have itching in general.
      Please keep in contact and let us know how you get on Dimma.
      Warmest regards
      Anna-Tommy's Midwife

    • By jane (not verified) on 27 Apr 2018 - 12:05

      my throat just started paining me two days ago and after eating it seems as if the food is coming up, this always makes me feel uncomfortable pls help me is it normal? thanks.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 27 Apr 2018 - 13:05

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      Congratulations on your pregnancy - I hope you have been keeping well.
      It sounds as though you may have a throat infection - please contact your GP who can advise further.

    • By Grace (not verified) on 26 Apr 2018 - 18:56

      Hi,every day im having pains in my stamarch,back pain,waist pain,loosing wait everyday

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 27 Apr 2018 - 09:32

      Hi - Thank you for your message. I'm sorry to hear you are in pain - any stomach/abdominal pains in pregnancy should be checked by your healthcare providers - please get in touch urgently with your maternity unit to be checked by your doctor or midwife.

    • By Niki (not verified) on 11 Mar 2018 - 13:06

      Hi, 17 +4 weeks first pregnancy.I'm not sure about baby movements but I've been feeling some pains ,sort of like upset stomach pains but they come and go.The dr prescibed some pregnancy vitamins but I haven't been consistently taking them because I feel sick all the time( but not to a point of vommiting all time),its sort of like a digusted feeling and I'm always lazy,very anti social the only person I am always with is my significant other,I feel emotionally down at times and honestly not enjoying the effects this pregnancy has on my body.Although I'm very happy that I'm expecting a little miracle :),the major thing is the pains I've been having when I'm sleeping or lying down on both my legs from the thighs to the feet.No bleeding or any other problems.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Mar 2018 - 12:22

      Hi Niki, No worry about not feeling movements yet. This is quite normal and you should start to feel your baby's movements in the next few weeks. I understand that you have seen your doctor about the pains and have been reassured that the pregnancy is going well. if so, then I would suggest that you try to get out and do some exercise. This can be really helpful for your mental health and has been shown to reduce anxiety and mild depression. Many women find pregnancy very tiring but hopefully as the days get longer and the weather improves you will begin to feel better and have more energy. Take care

    • By Nwabisa (not verified) on 6 Mar 2018 - 10:59

      Hi 17weeks but im not seeking the docter yet en im not taking any madicen just feeling pain in my woomb sometimez my legs are becoming num

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Mar 2018 - 09:32

      Hi Nwabisa
      Having abdominal pain, at any gestation of pregnancy, needs review with a midwife/obstetric doctor as soon as possible. Numb legs would also need to be reviewed as this is not a common pregnancy complication and so would need further investigation.
      Please do urgently go to be seen asap!
      Take care
      Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

    • By Michelle (not verified) on 19 Feb 2018 - 16:34

      Im worried about my baby... i dont feel pelvic pressure or tail bone pressure or that weird pulling in my belly button. I dont have insurance and wony be able to be seen for two weeks.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Feb 2018 - 14:13

      Hi, thanks for posting. I'm so sorry that you are worrying about your baby as you've found out that you are pregnant later in pregnancy.
      I don't know whether this is your first pregnancy Michelle? Each pregnancy is different so the pressure that you mention not having is not a bad sign. The pulling sensation is a symptom that some women have but other women never experience.
      If you aren't able to be seen for a few more weeks be aware of symptoms like bleeding, pain or infection that would be asking to be seen straight away. In the meantime if you are healthy and feeling well try to eat a good diet you might like to get some pregnancy vitamins and start taking Vitamin D. You could also look at our Pregnancy week by week for information if that helps.
      When you do see your midwife or doctor you will still be able to have some of the blood tests available to all mums but you will have missed out on some screening and you can expect to have a details ultrasound scan to look at your growing baby.
      You sound very worried so please do call us on 0800 0147 800 or email us at [email protected]

      Warmest wishes
      Anna-Tommy's Midwife

    • By Eliza (not verified) on 3 Feb 2018 - 05:43

      Hi there. I felt movements but not all the time. Sometimes i felt it and sometimes its 2 days and i felt nothing. Is it normal? And one more thing, i felt itchy on my groin, underarms that it felt like it has a sting bite me. The itch i felt was everynite when im about to sleep. I never hd this feeling before. Is this normal or do i have to consult a doctor regarding this? Thanks u and keep safe always...god bless

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Feb 2018 - 10:51

      It is quite normal to feel the baby move every day or two at this stage. We would expect this to increase to several movements a day by the time you get to 24 weeks.
      Difficult to advise re your itchy skin without more information. Do you have any rash where you are itchy? Try avoiding perfumed soaps, tight clothing and synthetic fibres. Also ask your pharmacist to advise on lotions, creams or anti-histamines that you can use without prescription. If the itching lasts longer than a week or two please see your GP or midwife who may advise a blood test or a vaginal swab to rule out anything more serious.

    • By Nikki (not verified) on 8 Feb 2018 - 01:27

      I feel the same thing nighly with the itching it gets irritating an happens mostly at night

    • By Domonique White (not verified) on 28 Jan 2018 - 06:54

      Hi I’m 17 weeks and haven’t seen a doctor yet , but feel the baby moves all the time . Iam taking prenatal vitamins that the er prescribed me . Is this dangerous ? I made an appointment but it’s in another week I’ll be 18 weeks by then

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Jan 2018 - 14:44

      Hi, Are you resident in the UK? If so, you may not see a 'doctor' throughout your pregnancy if you are considered low risk as your midwife will manage all of your care. If you are saying that you haven't seen anyone or had any scans or blood tests you should try to arrange this as soon as possible. Call us on 0800 0147 800 if you are not sure what to do.

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 2 Feb 2018 - 23:39

      I'm in he same boat I have no idea what all is going on. And I honestly haven't even been taking vitamins because I thought my lack of periods was due to birth control I was taking. After an asthma attack my boyfriend took me to the hospital and I was told I was pregnant this was just on Monday. They did an ultrasound and determined that I'm 16 weeks and I set an obgyn appointment but that's next week. I am excited but also really on edge because I'm not sure how my baby is. It's my first baby and I told the dr at the er that I'm worried but he said I should be fine and that I should start taking vitamins for right now until I have my appointment

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Feb 2018 - 10:29

      That must be a real surprise for you. Very pleased that you are happy and that you have already found our web site with all the advice on a healthy pregnancy. Keep reading and add us on Facebook too for regular updates.

    • By Sasha (not verified) on 15 Jan 2018 - 00:56

      17 weeks and no movement its my second pregnancy

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Jan 2018 - 12:44

      Try not to worry. This is quite normal. Some women experience movements at 16 weeks but many do not feel any movement until after 20 weeks.

    • By blessing (not verified) on 4 Jan 2018 - 10:29

      Am 16week 2days when am I going to find out my baby gender. And am also feeling pain in my abdomen

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Jan 2018 - 16:39

      I would need a little more information about the pain you are experiencing, however all pain should be reviewed in pregnancy, if this is on going especially if you have any bleeding then do ring your maternity unit to be reviewed.
      It is possible to find out your baby's gender at your anomaly scan which happened between about 18-20 weeks of pregnancy, however not all hospitals offer this so you will need to ask when you have your scan.
      Take care x

    • By Cynthia (not verified) on 23 Dec 2017 - 01:53

      I’m 17 weeks and the baby is constantly moving but I’m having sharp pains,back pains and a lot of pressure is this normal ?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2018 - 10:50

      Hi Cynthia
      It is great that your baby is moving nicely, but the sharp pains in your back and the pressure make me worry that you have an un-diagnosed urine infection which can cause problems for you and the pregnancy if left untreated. Please go to your local maternity unit if you have not already done so for them to check your urine for infection and give you and baby a check check over to put your mind at ease! Please take good care of yourself
      Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

    • By Lydiasmom (not verified) on 20 Oct 2017 - 09:02

      Hi. Im 17+2 weeks pregnant and all of a sudden I dont feel any movements. I constantly feel ill. I cant quite say whats wrong. Ive also had light bleeding and severe pain. So bad yesterday I couldnt stand
      up. I had complications in my 1st pregnancy and im scared something is horribly wrong. Ive also got sciatica and I cant sleep due to the pain im in. What should I do?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Oct 2017 - 12:00

      Hi, I am sorry to hear that you are feeling ill and experiencing a worrying time in this pregnancy. Babies movements at 17 weeks of pregnancy can come and go, we would not expect to feel movements in a pattern or regularly until about 24 weeks however this does vary. You said that you were experiencing light bleeding and severe pain yesterday, even if this has resolved today it is very important that you are reviewing at the hospital if you have not been already. Just ring your maternity unit and explain your symptoms and go in to make sure everything is ok. It is understandable that you are scared particularly if your 1st pregnancy had complications but it is important that you see someone. If we can support you then please call us 0800 0147 800 or email [email protected]

    • By Jane (not verified) on 19 Sep 2017 - 19:45

      I'm worried I'm not showing and my stomach is not hard and I'm 17weeks pregnant

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Sep 2017 - 10:05

      Hi Jane,
      every woman will carry her pregnancy differently. At 17 weeks, you may only have a small bump or not much or a bump at all. It would not be expected for your stomach to "be hard", it would very much still be soft and fleshy at this time. If you are concerned, you can ask your midwife to measure your tummy at your next antenatal appointment to make sure your bump is growing according to the gestational age. Please do take care of yourself! : )

    • By Lizzy (not verified) on 18 Sep 2017 - 13:23

      I'm 17 weeks and I always have nose bleed,is that normal?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Sep 2017 - 14:12

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      Nosebleeds are quite common in pregnancy because of hormonal changes. They are usually short, but can be quite heavy. Nosebleeds can be frightening, but as long as you don't lose a lot of blood, there is nothing to worry about, and they can often be treated at home.
      If the bleeding doesn't stop, seek medical advice.
      You can also talk to your midwife or GP if you're worried about your nosebleeds.
      Best Wishes

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 23 Aug 2017 - 19:37

      I'm 17 weeks pregnant, I fell movements only for two hours in the afternoon .
      Why am I not felling frequently

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Aug 2017 - 17:03

      Hi, Thank you for your comment.

      It can be very normal for you to feel movements on and off at this time in your pregnancy. Babies can move then have a rest for a bit then move, the afternoon maybe the time when you baby is more active. As your pregnancy progressed then you will feel the movements are more defined as baby gets bigger and stronger. If you are at all worried about movements then it is important that you seek medical advice. If you have any abdominal pain or bleeding or any concerns at all about your pregnancy then please contact your GP or midwife who will be able to give you reassurance. Take care Tommy's Midwives x

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 22 Aug 2017 - 16:42

      Hey, I'm 17weeks and not feeling pregnant due to not having symptoms. Is that normal? no movement, I have an appointment Wednesday an don't want to be disappointed

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Aug 2017 - 15:43

      Hi, Thank you for you comment.

      It can be very normal not to experience any symptoms of pregnancy. Every woman is different and this doesn't mean that there is a problem. With regards to the movements, again these can be felt anytime from around 16 weeks, which is different for everyone. It is understandable that you are anxious but there is nothing to suggest that there is anything wrong at this time. Be kind to yourself and rest when you can. If you are worried then you can always contact your GP or community midwife for further reassurance, but please feel reassured that not having pregnancy symptoms means that there is a problem, it can be very normal. Hope that this helps, Take care, Tommy's Midwives x

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 Aug 2017 - 22:36

      I'm 17 weeks pregnant i have constant back pain ALWAYS. I always feel like vomiting, forever tired, lazy almost every time. This doesn't feel like the honeymoon stage.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Aug 2017 - 14:56

      Hi, Thank you for your comment.
      Quite a lot of articles and books that you read in pregnancy say that your pregnancy symptoms can get better after 12 weeks of pregnancy. This is not always the case for some women. Some may have symptoms of nausea, vomiting and fatigue up to 20 weeks, whilst some will have it the whole way through the pregnancy, everyone is different and there is no general rule. With regards to your back pain, do you have any stinging or pain when you pass urine? This could be a sign of a urine infection, which again can be common in pregnancy and make you feel unwell. If you are still in pain and feeling generally unwell it may be advisable that you make an appointment to see your GP so that you can be assessed and treated if needed, if this pain is getting worse or you have any abdominal pain or bleeding then you need to be seen urgently at the hospital. If you are concerned about anything then please seek medical advice. Hope you feel better soon, take care Tommy's Midwives x

    • By Merry (not verified) on 8 Aug 2017 - 17:47

      I feel too much back pain and abdominal cramping is that okey?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Aug 2017 - 09:08

      Hi Merry.
      Abdominal pain and cramping at any gestation of pregnancy needs to be investigated as this is not normal. You should either make urgent contact with your GP or your local early pregnancy assessment unit, or a&e minors if the pain is unbearable and if you are bleeding heavily. Please take good care of yourself!

    • By Courtney (not verified) on 7 Aug 2017 - 17:40

      I am 17 weeks pregnant, a few weeks ago I had bleeding& pains for about 2day. I also haven't started to get a bump, my belly isn't getting hard and I haven't felt any type of movement, is this anything to worry about?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 8 Aug 2017 - 08:57

      Hi Courtney.
      Any bleeding or abdominal pain, at any gestation of pregnancy, should be investigated - it might be sensible to get reviewed if you have not already done so for your peace of mind.
      At 17 weeks of pregnancy, you may or may not have started to get a bump. Every woman carries differently, so please do not worry about this. You should be booked into see your midwife at around 18 weeks gestation, so you will be reviewed there too. Please take good care of yourself and feel free to contact us again if you need further advice.

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