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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.

Top tips for looking after your wellbeing.

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.

Sources

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

NHS Choices (2013). You and your pregnancy at 17-20 weeks pregnant. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-17-18-19-20.aspx#close (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. https://www.nice.org.uk/Guidance/cg62

RCOG (2006) Recreational Exercise and Pregnancy: Information for you, London, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/recreational-exercise-and-pregnancy.pdf

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

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Comments

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 Yosdi Ramos (not verified) on 3 Apr 2019 - 04:23

    I have a question, I feel itchy in my private area lately like it’s hurts and burns, I been keeping myself hydrated and eating as I do normally but at night I start to get really itchy down there i don’t know if it’s normal ? I also been having stomach pain lately? I don’t know what I should do either ? My appointment is coming soon like Monday, should I talk to my doctor about this? I’m concerned.

  • By Kerry (not verified) on 19 May 2019 - 13:23

    You either have thrush or an STI. You need to go to your gynaecologist and find out immediately.

  • By samantha09 (not verified) on 15 Feb 2019 - 15:06

    Hi I have a problem i had an unprotected sex with my husband after 2 days before my periods then i didn't see my periods for a month's I go to the clinic the test came back positive but with a faint line the mid wife told me to come back after 2 months maybe I tested too early then after 2 months I got tested came back negative I've been vomiting,headaches ,back pain, and urinate more often tenderness of breast then I was reffered to the doctor the doctor did a blood test wich come back negative I don't know what to do now I'm feeling like i could faint and there is something moving in my stomach and my belly is growing than never before pls help

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Feb 2019 - 12:42

    Hi Samantha. You should return to your GP and get them to do a urine test to check if you have a severe urinary tract infection. Infection can cause these symptoms that you have mentioned and if you are not pregnant, then further investigation is needed as to why you are experiencing such symptoms. If your pain is very bad, please just go straight to A&E minors ot be seen urgently. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

  • By stephanie (not verified) on 25 Jan 2019 - 11:43

    I missed my period like about a month ago and I did d urine test twice and it showed me 2 red lines which means dat m pregnant, and av been having d symptoms but my tummy is still as flat asiv there's noting inside

  • By ErinsMum (not verified) on 22 Jan 2019 - 22:24

    I am 18 weeks pregnant and for the past week or slightly more.. I've been getting a tingling sensation in my left shoulder blade.. sometimes when ive been rushing around but in the past day or so Its just comibg on even at resting, should I be worried?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 25 Jan 2019 - 15:29

    Hi,
    It does not sound like anything to worry about as long as you are feeling generally well. If you feel unwell also then do see your GP.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Kayla (not verified) on 20 Jan 2019 - 14:16

    Hello, I am 17wks and I've been feeling little movements for about 2 weeks up until yesterday when I haven't felt any. I have had a cold and bad cough for about a week and have been taking the approved meds, now I'm worried that something is wrong!

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 25 Jan 2019 - 15:28

    Hi Kayla,
    Please try not to worry, it would be perfectly normally not to be feeling movements every day at this stage of pregnancy. As long as you feel well, do not have any pain or bleeding. If you have any other concerns then do contact your doctor.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Ammara Nouman (not verified) on 17 Jan 2019 - 13:25

    I am 17 weeks pregnant could not feel any movement of baby up til now m worried...there is pressure in lower abdomen and sometimes there is slight pain not too much...m worried about the movement and growth of my baby plz help me

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 17 Jan 2019 - 13:59

    Hi,
    Please do not worry, it is very normal to not have felt any movements at 17 weeks. Most women start to feel movements anywhere between 18 and 24 weeks. If you have not felt your baby move by 24 weeks then you need to speak with your midwife.
    If the pressure becomes painful or more intense, please contact your doctor for advice.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Elvie (not verified) on 17 Jan 2019 - 11:06

    I Had sex with my husband and after that there is a pink blood . Is that normal? Im afraid to have sex with my husband Again.

    Thank you so much

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 17 Jan 2019 - 12:28

    Hi Elvie - Thank you for your message.
    You haven't shared if you are pregnant and if you are, how many weeks pregnant you maybe.
    It’s common to have light bleeding or ‘spotting’ without pain before 12 weeks. This isn’t often serious, but you should contact your doctor, midwife or Early Pregnancy Unit immediately to be checked, just in case.
    Bleeding in pregnancy after 12 weeks is not common. Contact A&E or your hospital maternity unit immediately so you can be checked.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 22 Dec 2018 - 16:43

    Hi I'm 14 weeks pregnant but the baby doesn't show any signs of movement in the womb should I be worried

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 16:42

    Hi,
    No please do not worry, it is very normal to not have felt any movements at 14 weeks. Most women start to feel movements anywhere between 18 and 24 weeks. If you have not felt your baby move by 24 weeks then you need to speak with your midwife.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By anonymous (not verified) on 12 Dec 2018 - 20:42

    Hi,
    I am 17 weeks pregnant today and throughout my pregnancy have been experiences loose motion in the morning when I wake up with an urgency to empty my bowels. There are no other symptoms and once i have emptied my bowels I feel fine.
    This doesn't happen every morning maybe once or twice a week. I have kept a diary and there doesn't seem to be anything that stands out in my diet that doesn't suit me or anything that i have changed in my diet, what could cause this? Is this a pregnancy symptom? Many thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 14 Dec 2018 - 15:29

    Hi,
    It can be a symptom of pregnancy, and many women do report a similar experience. As long as you are feeling generally well, keeping hydrated and eating well then this is fine. If you are worried then do speak with your midwife.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Beryl Anne (not verified) on 30 Oct 2018 - 09:11

    Hello, I missed my period on august and September after having sex with my boyfriend I started bleeding that was on the 9/09/18 I did home pregnancy test but came negative. On 28th and 29th we had unprotected intercourse again. This are my ovulation days. I bled 12days after when I was expecting my periods but it was unusual. It lasted 3days and my periods last for 5 to six days. I have been feeling too sick, nausea and lightheadedness especially at night, sore breasts but the time am expecting to be ovulating, stomach pains,diarrhoea,constipation,regular back pain along the spinal area and alot of pressure on my pelvic area. Yet am not showing my stomach was bigger in September than it is now which makes me believe am not expecting. I can push my belly in,its so soft and doesn't look like there is a baby in there.
    The doctor performed urine test came negative and no UTI.
    What could be the problem, am I pregnant?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 2 Nov 2018 - 10:16

    Hi Beryl Anne,
    If the doctor did a pregnancy test and this was negative then it is showing that you are not pregnant. If you are having irregular periods and unusual symptoms then I would suggest for you to see you GP for a review.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Nafisah (not verified) on 5 Sep 2018 - 13:40

    I am experiencing itching watering discharge and odour am 17weeks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Sep 2018 - 12:24

    Please contact your GP or maternity unit for urgent advice-you will need to have some tests and depending on the results, treatment may be prescribed. The following link has more information for you-
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vaginal-discharge-pregnant/

    Take care
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Sep 2018 - 12:24

    Please contact your GP or maternity unit for urgent advice-you will need to have some tests and depending on the results, treatment may be prescribed. The following link has more information for you-
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vaginal-discharge-pregnant/

    Take care
    Tommy's |Midwife

  • By Sayontoni (not verified) on 28 Aug 2018 - 18:22

    Hi I am 17 weeks today and felt the baby moving a lot over the past weekend for the first time. But for the past 24 hours haven't felt any movements. No other symptoms (bleeding, cramping beyond stretching pains etc). Should I be worried? Or is it still quite early to feel consistent movements every day?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Aug 2018 - 15:30

    Hi Sayontoni, Thank you for your comment.
    It can be normal to feel baby on and off at this stage in your pregnancy as baby has so much room to move around in but if you are concerned then please contact your midwife who will be able to listen in to baby's heart beat and this should give you further reassurance. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • 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 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

    Hi

    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 https://www.arc-uk.org/ 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.
    http://pelvicpartnership.org.uk/
    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

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