Week 17 of Your Pregnancy
Everywhere you go, your family and friends are guessing whether it’s a boy or girl. Hold your breath this week, because you may finally discover the gender of your future child! At 17 weeks, your baby is plenty active as major internal systems are becoming more established. Here’s more.
Your baby’s hair, eyebrows and eyelashes are growing longer3 – yay to long eyelashes! They can also open and close their mouth and move their eyes, though they are still shut1.
Internally, your baby’s heart is likely to be beating at around 140 beats per minute (bpm) to 150 bpm2. This is much faster than the average resting adult, whose heart rate ranges from 60bpm to 100bpm5. Your baby’s respiratory system is developing too, as it starts learning how to breathe3.
Enjoy those first little kicks! Though it’s about the size of a sweet potato at 13cm, your little passenger weighs around 150g. This week, your baby's growing body is becoming more proportionate with its head. It may not have much fat, but special fat-storing “adipose tissues” are beginning to form.
Your baby belly is more visible as your uterus is extended now. Darker areolas and moles may occur by some women as a result of increased pigmentation at this stage.
Cruising through pregnancy
This is the time to have a holiday and relax. The little hiccups from the first weeks of pregnancy are over. You feel fit now and the belly is not interfering. Take advantage of this opportunity to relax and conserve energy for the birth while enjoying quality time with your partner.
The Future Benefits of Vitamin D for Baby
Before you get too carried away with organising a gender reveal party, don’t forget to keep yourself and your baby healthy with proper nutrition!
Vitamin D forms an important part of a healthy pregnancy diet. It regulates the levels of calcium and phosphate in your body and supports the growth and development of your baby’s bones6. If you don’t take enough Vitamin D, your baby’s bones will soften, which may lead to rickets in extreme cases7. Furthermore, the Vitamin D you consume during your pregnancy also builds up your baby’s personal stores7. Your little sweetheart will need this after it’s born.
The most efficient way to get Vitamin D is through exposure to the ultraviolet-B rays in sunlight. But this may not be adequate. While you can increase your Vitamin D intake by eating certain foods, the best way is to take a supplement! It’s recommended that you get 10mcg of vitamin D each day during pregnancy8.
Check that your current pregnancy supplement includes Vitamin D. If it doesn’t, consider taking a separate one. For a bigger boost, consider adding these vitamin D-rich foods to your shopping list9!
- Oily fish — limit your intake to 2 portions per week due to the toxins they may contain
- Eggs — the yolk contains the vitamin D
- Fortified foods — some brands of milk, margarines and some breakfast cereals have added vitamin D
1. NHS UK. You and your baby at 17-20 weeks pregnant [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-17-18-19-20.aspx [Accessed July 2014]
2. Murkoff H, Mazel S. What to Expect When You’re Expecting. 4th ed. London: Simon & Schuster Ltd, 2009.
3. Deans A. Your New Pregnancy Bible, The experts’ guide to pregnancy and early parenthood. 4th ed. London: Carroll & Brown Publishers Limited, 2013.
4. Curtis GB, Schuler J. Your pregnancy week by week. 7th ed. Cambridge: Fisher books, 2011.
5. NHS UK. How do I check my pulse? [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2024.aspx?CategoryID=72 [Accessed July 2014]
6. European Union. Commission Regulation (EC) No 983/2009 of 21 October 2009 on the authorisation and refusal of authorisation of certain health claims made on food and referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health. OJ L 277 2009. 3-12.
7. NHS UK. Vitamins and nutrition in pregnancy [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant.aspx [Accessed April 2014]
8. Department of Health. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: TSO, 1991.
9. Gandy J (ed). Manual of Dietetic Practice. 5th ed. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2014. p. 922.
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