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Hard to believe it, but you’re already deep into your second trimester—and there’s probably no question that you’re pregnant now. You might have even begun to experience one of the more annoying aspects of pregnancy (at least to many women): strangers feeling that it’s okay to touch your belly uninvited. It’s hard to understand why so many people feel like pregnant women’s bellies belong to the world—can you imagine rubbing a non-pregnant stranger’s belly?—but it’s okay to be polite but firm about people invading your space.

Your Body

your body week to week 17
© Medical-Artist.com

Your uterus is really starting to make its presence known now as it continues to move up into the abdomen. To make space for itself, your uterus will soon be pushing other organs aside, including your intestines and lower abdominal organs. For now, it shouldn’t cause any extra symptoms because there’s still plenty of room, but later on when you’re running to the bathroom every few minutes, you’ll have your uterus to thank for sitting on your bladder.

If you suffer from allergies, you might have also noticed that your nose seems more constricted than before, and you might even have begun snoring. Don’t worry! You’re not doomed to a life of sawing boards forever! Just as it has caused blood vessels throughout your body to expand to accommodate increased blood flow, the hormone progesterone has also caused the blood vessels in your nose and sinuses to expand. This can lead to a feeling of congestion and snoring at night. If the snoring bothers your partner, you can try using a nasal strip or propping your head up at night.

Other symptoms you might be experiencing now (if you haven’t already) include round ligament pain and increased vaginal discharge called leukorrhea. This yellowish or white discharge is totally normal throughout pregnancy and doesn’t signal any underlying health issue. Also caused by increased blood flow, in this case to your vagina, you can wear a sanitary pad if it becomes a problem, and it’s best to stick with cotton underwear. If the discharge is a heavy yellow or green, itches or burns, or smells foul, it might signal an infection, and you should alert your healthcare provider. It can be easily treated.

Your Baby

your baby week to week 17
© Medical-Artist.com

Your baby’s fetal age is now 15 weeks. He or she weighs somewhere between 3.5 and about 5 ounces. Overall, your baby is now doubling in weight approximately every two weeks—a growth rate that will continue for the next few weeks at least. Depending on your baby, he or she is likely just under 5 inches in length now and about the size of an open hand or medium-sized sweet potato.

All of the good things that were going on last week—increased awareness of the outside world, reaction to outside stimulus, and deliberate movement—continue and accelerate this week.

Other exciting things are happening. Right around now, your baby’s unique fingerprints are beginning to form, and your baby is already beginning to practice for the Big Day. It’s not uncommon to see babies practicing sucking, making faces, and waving their hands in front of their faces at this age. Internally, your baby’s skeleton is continuing to mature, with bone replacing cartilage and joints completing their formation.

Lastly, your baby is also beginning to produce fat reserves. This is a critical part of preparing for eventual birth—fat is protection and energy. This also helps account for your increase in appetite. If it feels like your appetite is suddenly a ravenous monster that can never be satisfied, you can thank your little partner, who is busy forming and packing on the fat that will be so adorable later.

 

Doctor Tip
“Sex during pregnancy is normal and healthy. The only reason to avoid it is if your doctor or midwife told you to.”

Read more doctor tips.

Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, November 2018

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