Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

Pregnancy at week 17

3-minute read


Your baby

Your baby is growing rapidly, and might be bigger than the placenta now. They weigh about 150g and are about 13cm long - about the length of a nail file.

They are now developing a layer of fat called the adipose layer. This helps them to gain weight and will define their features. The umbilical cord is becoming thicker and stronger. The external sex organs are fully formed so it’s usually possible to see the baby’s gender on an ultrasound.

Their kidneys are also functioning now. The baby swallows amniotic fluid and passes urine about every 50 minutes. Their taste buds are working and they can tell the difference between sweet and bitter. There are tiny lines on their fingers that will develop into their unique fingerprints.

BACK TO TOP

Your body

Many women have lots of energy at this stage. As the baby moves up in your abdomen you 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, called the linea nigra. Your hair should be thicker because it’s not falling out as much.

Changes to your hormones may 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 because this could mean you have an infection.

BACK TO TOP

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 the labour and birth as well as learn about breastfeeding and how to care for a newborn baby. They 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.

BACK TO TOP

Your pregnancy journey

Click here for week 18


Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: August 2019


Back To Top

Need more information?

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.