You are 17 weeks pregnant or in your 18th week of pregnancy (counting from the first day of your Last Menstrual Period).
Keep in mind that this information is approximate. Each pregnancy is different and growth rates vary. For variations and details, please talk to your doctor.
What’s happening to the baby?
- The baby’s ears are in their normal position and the hearing capacity is still developing. The baby maybe able to hear sounds inside his body or yours (like your heartbeat). In a few weeks, the baby will be able to hear you.
- Baby's retinas are sensitive to light.
- The baby’s respiratory system is also developing to enable the baby to breathe outside your body. Tiny air sacs called alveoli have started to form in the baby’s lungs.
- Your baby is about 13 centimetres long (Crown to rump length) and weighs about 140 grams.
What’s happening to mom?
- The growing uterus is pressing against different parts of your body and moving them around. For example, the uterus can push your diaphragm and intestines upwards causing frequent heartburns. It can press against the Sciatic nerve (the nerve that runs under the uterus to the legs) and cause pain in the legs called sciatic nerve pain.
- The growing uterus will shift your body’s centre of gravity and you will become unstable. Switch to low-heeled shoes, if you have not already.
- Your uterus is continuing to grow and is making you unstable. The increased blood supply in your body that is supporting your growing baby, is taking a toll on your cardiovascular system. You may feel dizzy if you stand up suddenly from a sitting/lying position. So, stand up slowly.
Checklist for mom
- You will be having the “anomaly scan” ultrasound around your 18th to 20th week. This screens for neural tube defects and other congenital defects. It is critical that you get this test done before your 20th week because in case the baby has congenital defects, you can consider and get an abortion before 20 weeks are over (in India the legal limit for an abortion is 20 weeks). Work with your doctor and ensure that you go for the anomaly scan in time.
- Take steps to avoid heartburn. Eat small meals often. Avoid very oily or spicy food.
- This is the time when you might have the most energy and least number of pregnancy discomforts. Make the most of it and get stuff done.
- Get an early start and educate yourself about the process of labour and delivery (in Parentree's collection of pregnancy articles). If you are interested in exploring childbirth classes, learn about childbirth classes from your doctor or hospital and schedule these in advance.
- Find out about hospitals and select a hospital. Make sure that the hospital is nearby and your doctor visits the hospital and it has all the latest medical facilities.
- You could even start finding a good paediatrician for your baby. Get a shortlist by talking to your friends, even your gynaecologist and Parentree parents in your area. Then start interviewing paediatricians. Check out our article on selecting a paediatrician.
- Assess your needs for a maid for the baby and spread the word around. You do not need to hire right away but some upfront planning can help you ensure that you will have the right person before the baby comes. Talk to your friends and Parentree parents about how they managed with the baby. Some women might need a full-time or part-time maid or “ayah”. Many Indian women like to get a special lady for the delicate 40 days after the baby is born called the “40 day lady” or the “Japa” lady.
- If you are above 35, and if you not done so already, you might be going for amniocentesis (test taken between 18 weeks to 20 weeks). Amniocentesis diagnoses Down syndrome and other birth defects.
Ideas for dad
- As your wife interviews paediatricians, try and go with her for these appointments. If you cannot go, ensure that you keep up with all the happenings and information she finds.
- If you have other children, take care of them by yourself frequently, so mom can take a break and relax.
- Are you meditating?
- Many women say that meditation helps them to tune in better with their changing bodies and their baby. Given all that is going on in your life, meditation can help you weed out the clutter and stay focused, calm and relaxed—good for you and your baby as well.
- There are many different ways to meditate. You need to find the one that works for you. Basically, going to a quiet spot, closing your eyes, first letting all thoughts just flow and then focusing on one thing (a repetitive chant, picturing something pleasant etc.) are all some basics that are a good start.
Useful Parentree articles for this stage of pregnancy