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Pregnancy at week 17

5-minute read

Your baby

Your baby is growing quickly and might be bigger than their placenta now.

They are now developing a layer of fat called the adipose layer. This helps them to gain weight and will define their features. Their external sex organs are now fully formed. This means by the time you have your 20-week ultrasound, your doctor might be able to see the sex of your baby and share this with you if you are wanting to know.

Your baby's taste buds are working and they can tell the difference between sweet and bitter. There are also tiny lines on their fingers that will develop into their unique fingerprints.

Your body

As your baby and uterus moves up in your abdomen you probably won't need to go to the toilet as often, and if you had nausea, it is hopefully now a thing of the past.

Increased hormone levels are causing changes to your body. You might notice a dark line forming from your belly button to the top of your pubic bone, this is called the linea nigra.

Changes to your hormones may also mean you have a stuffy nose and you might start snoring at night. You can use a saline spray, but talk to your doctor before you use antihistamines to clear your nose while you're pregnant.

You might notice more vaginal discharge, which you can manage by using panty liners. If the discharge changes colour or is smelly, see your doctor or midwife as this could mean you have an infection.

Things to remember

Now might be the time to start thinking about antenatal classes. These are designed to help you and your partner get ready for labour and birth as well as learning about breastfeeding and how to care for a newborn baby. Classes are also an opportunity for you to discuss your feelings and meet other people who are going through the same experiences as you.

Antenatal classes are usually offered by hospitals, community health centres or through private organisations. Your doctor or midwife will be able to suggest antenatal classes in your area. Some are free, while for others you may need to pay a fee. There are also antenatal classes online if you can't travel to one.

Resources and support

Speak to your doctor, midwife or obstetrician if you have questions about your pregnancy.

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby also has more information on:

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

NEXT WEEK...YOUR PREGNANCY AT WEEK 18 — Learn about your pregnancy journey and what is happening to you and your baby.

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Last reviewed: August 2023

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