17th Week Already? Time Really Flies, Doesn’t It?

The 17th week of pregnancy comes along with its own share of signs and symptoms but what you would be looking forward is the fact that you are finally showing up and the congratulatory messages haven’t stopped since! If you have been waiting for that pregnant belly of yours to finally pop, this is the week when things will move into place and with your abdomen growing out from the sides to accommodate your uterus and your internal organs effectively, you will feel the pregnancy more while standing up than while sitting down. However, there are women who feel new aches and pains by Week 17 because the pressure of the growing baby could cause nerve pulls that are quite common at around this week. Among the new symptoms, sciatic nerve pain is something that quite a few women experience and it can happen at any phase of pregnancy but most often begins at around 17 weeks. This article will discuss the 17th week of pregnancy at length and will try to assist your way through it with interesting things you did not know about the week.

Sciatic Nerve Pain

A lot of women start experiencing an occasional yet sharp pain in the legs from around the 17th week. This is popularly known as the sciatic nerve pain. While it could be mild to moderate for some, a handful of women report it as excruciating and need pain relief to carry out everyday activities. The sciatic nerve1 is the largest running nerve in the body and it travels all the way down the legs. Owing to its position under the uterus, the sciatic nerve often feels the pressure of the growing uterus and this leads to the development of sciatic nerve pain. This pain is likely to increase when you stand or sit at one place for too long. Doctors advise placing pillows under your legs while sleeping at night so that the same posture for a prolonged time does not heighten the pain. The pillows provide adequate support to the legs and keep the sciatic nerve pain at bay. If the pain is unbearable, you could ask your doctor to help you with other means of relieving the pain.

Your Baby At 17 Weeks

Till now, your baby’s skeletal structure was made of soft cartilage. This week will see it changing to bone but this is a gradual process and will take some time. Your baby’s umbilical cord is growing stronger and thicker by the day and is becoming more efficient at carrying the essential nutrients to the body of your baby via the placenta.

Almost the size of a turnip, your baby weighs 5 ounces and measures around 5 inches in terms of Crown Rump length. Her joints are now more mobile than before and she is also developing sweat glands for life outside the womb. What had been a mere skeletal structure will now start accumulating fat under its skin. Yes, your baby will lay down its fat stores till the end of pregnancy and this will help him or her in surviving temperature outside the womb.

An interesting development to note this week is how your baby’s heartbeat is no longer a random occurrence but something that is controlled by the brain. If you hear the heartbeat on a Doppler2 now, you will be amazed to experience beats of 140-150 per minute, twice than that of yours. There are other developmental milestones that your baby is practicing more and more everyday so that he can perfect the art of it, for example, sucking and swallowing that will come in handy when he has to breastfeed right after birth. Most of your baby’s survival skills will be practiced and learnt inside the womb.

Did You Know That Your Baby Will Have Unique Fingerprints?

Fingerprints make every individual unique and there is no doubt about that. Your baby will also attain a similar individuality in another week by when he or she will have unique creases and swirls on the finger pads which will be known as his fingerprints. These fingerprints will distinguish him from others.

How Is Your Body Changing At 17 Weeks?

Do you have to say No to most of your co-workers and people who try and reach out for your tummy simply out of curiosity because you have started showing? If you are comfortable with the idea of random strangers touching your pregnant belly, it is alright but if you are not, then you could firmly ask not to do any such thing. People often tend to ignore the fact that as visible it is to them, pregnancy and childbirth are experiences that are close to the heart and generally personal.

How Much Are You Eating?

Hungrier than ever before, you are probably going through that phase when your cravings simply refuse to die down. While it could be a welcome change from the weeks when the washroom was your new-found friend because throwing up never ceased, eating right is extremely essential at this point in time. The second trimester brings along a voracious appetite and most women tend to overeat, causing unnecessary weight gain.

While it is normal to feel hunger pangs every often because your baby is growing bigger and is demanding more nutrition from you, you will have to keep a check on the empty calories that you might be taking in, in the form of processed food and other junk. The first and last ground rule in pregnancy is not to try and eat for two because you don’t need that much of food to survive the pregnancy. If you had lost weight in the first trimester, it is likely that your appetite will come back and you will start gaining weight again. If you were already on the heavier side to begin with, your doctor might recommend nutrient-dense food so that your weight gain is slow and gradual. Try and eat whole food as much as you can and avoid deep-fried food if you are gaining weight faster than you had thought you would.

Are You Feeling Tipsy?

Are you often having that feeling of being drunk and tipsy although you haven’t had alcohol in more than four months? That is because pregnancy shifts your center of gravity and with your growing belly, you can occasionally feel out of balance. While feeling unsteady is normal in pregnancy, you will need to take extra care to ensure that you do not have accidental falls. It is advisable to wear low-heeled or better yet no heels in pregnancy because that will reduce the chances of toppling over or falling down and hurting yourself and the baby.

How Will You Ensure Safe Car Rides?

Always buckle up when inside a car because it has been seen that a majority of accidents happen in pregnancy when women are not careful about how they seat themselves in cars. Ideally the seat belt’s lap position should be placed under the bump, should comfortably fit around the hips and the shoulder harness should have snug fit in between the breasts.

This is important because with so many accidents being reported each year, more awareness can only help the situation.

Are Your Eyes Feeling Drier Lately?

If you are regularly into wearing lenses, there is a possibility that your eyes might start drying up. It has been seen that women who do not wear lenses experience the same thing because of certain chemical changes that happen in pregnancy. You can either contact your doctor for help or use over the counter medication to help the dryness in your eyes. Lubricating drops available at stores can help counteract the effects of dryness that pregnancy tends to leave. Since wearing contact lenses for prolonged periods of time can heighten the burning sensation, it is recommended that you wear them occasionally and take short breaks between their usages, if possible. You can also consider switching to spectacles till you deliver.

Have You Been Snoring?

You obviously did not believe when your husband told you in the morning how you had snored all through but nasal congestion and nasal stuffiness is common in pregnancy and if this is your second pregnancy, there is nothing that you are not aware of. The pregnancy hormones tend to thicken up your mucus membranes and make it more and more difficult to breathe easily, especially while lying down. You can begin by installing a humidifier in your bedroom that will lessen the drying effect in your nose and help you have a good night’s sleep. Another way to feel more comfortable is to prop up pillows under your head that will keep the stuffiness away. If you are still snoring, you could try transporting your kids and your partner to shift to the other room so that their sleep is not disrupted. Furthermore, it is also essential to get a good night’s sleep and you can ensure that by keeping unnecessary distractions at bay.

What Do These Dreams Mean?

As strange and surprising as it may sound, you might start experiencing vivid dreams that tend to jeopardize your life a little because most of the times you will fail to make out the reason for these dreams to occur. Did you know that you spend lesser time in REM sleep in the second and third trimesters? However, the number of dreams you have recently started having could confuse you about your sleep cycle. Find the answers to all your queries regarding sleep cycle and dreams in pregnancy below.

There is no denying the fact that you tend to get up innumerable times during pregnancy. There are reasons like backaches, leg cramps, restless leg syndrome and heartburn that can keep you waking up a number of times in the night, interrupting your dream cycles. You might also often wake up to get into a more comfortable position. All these reasons make you remember your dreams more vividly.

Apart from these reasons, women also tend to be more emotional during pregnancy. All her feelings and sentiments are generally heightened, owing to the abundance of pregnancy hormones that affect her mood all day and her sleep at night. If you are happy, your happiness will probably know no bounds and if you are sad or apprehensive, you might be sinking in a bottomless pit of sorrow. With so many heightened emotions, it is but natural to carry them forward to your sleep cycles.

What Are The Commonest Dreams That Pregnant Women Have? Take A Look!

  • Your Partner Is Cheating On You

It is but obvious to feel insecure at one time or the other when you are pregnant because there is always that fear of your partner straying away. Your body is changing, you are not having enough sex, you are irritable and upset through the day and you feel unattractive all the time; you have all the reasons to feel that your husband is probably disliking you more than ever or cheating on you with some other woman. This is where the dreams stem from. However, if you have such thoughts on your mind and your dreams have been disrupting your peace of mind lately, communicate with your husband regarding this and sort out the in differences, if any.

  • You Are In Love With Animal Babies

There is an understood link between pregnancy and cuddling babies of animals. Puppies, kittens, chicks are cute and offer the same adorable feeling of hugging and cuddling newborns. Your love and affection for your unborn baby can make you have these dreams and it is also possible that you feel a strange connection to them in real life. As long as you are going near vaccinated and well-behaved pets, it is fine to have fun with them but always ensure that you are never going near to animals that you are not sure of.

  • A Blast From The Past

If you have been feeling way too aroused than usual, there is a possibility that you may dream of an old flame or an encounter that you have had with him or wanted to have with him. There is no reason to feel guilty about it because with so many hormonal changes going on in you, playing the blame game is ridiculous. Feeling aroused can help to take your mind off things and you might even add more sheen to your already glowing skin.

Are Those Lines Stretch Marks?

Till date you had probably only heard of stretch marks but had no idea that they could happen to you. While some wear them like badges of honor, a lot of women cover up unnecessarily because they apparently look ugly. To make things more evidence-based, stretch marks are a result of skin stretching beyond its normal capability and your epidermal layer tearing up at places because of this. Stretch marks are thus deep epidermal tears that can never be got rid of until and unless you get laser treatments done. While a handful does not get a single mark on their body, others are covered with them. They begin around the 15th week of pregnancy when your bump starts firming up and continue to look more and more prominent till delivery.

Stretch marks are not just red streaks on your flawless skin but are also itchy, painful and irritating that need to be understood and addressed. The occurrence of stretch marks significantly depends on your genetics. If your mother had stretch marks during pregnancy, you will also be prone to get them and if she didn’t, you are less likely to have them. Added to that, if you are gaining weight rapidly, the chances of stretch marks are also enhanced. Women with fairer skin also tend to have more stretch marks than those who have darker skin tones.

Can You Prevent Stretch Marks?

Unfortunately, you can’t prevent stretch marks, irrespective of what the advertisements try to convince you with. No amount of oil, cream or lotion can help you with avoiding stretch marks but if proper care if taken beforehand, you can avoid the annoying itch and any sort of infection by using the right product. What could be some sort of consolation is that stretch marks fade away after delivery and even if we continue to maintain that they can never be got rid of, they will reduce to thin, silvery, grey streaks that are hardly visible unless someone is really close.

Listed Below Are A Few Ways To Avoid Stretch Marks:

1. Keep The Area Moisturized

What helps tremendously with itchy stretch marks is a deep hydrating moisturizing cream. Although it may not really prevent the marks but it can at least keep you away from scratching them all the time. You could at least avoid further infections by not needing to scratch them with your nails. Cocoa butter is an excellent way of hydrating your skin.

2. Oatmeal Bath

If you make a paste of oatmeal with milk and use it before or during a bath on your stretch marks, it could help you with the itch. Oatmeal3 is known to soothe irritated and dry skin, which makes it a perfect ingredient to take care of stretch marks.

3. Keep An Eye On The Weighing Scale

Accelerated weight gain in pregnancy is one of the biggest reasons for stretch marks. Your skin is capable of stretching to a certain extent and rapid weight gain can only stretch it further. Gradual stretching of skin is normal but rapid stretching can cause tiny epidermal tears that go on to become stretch marks. Cut down on empty calories and have nutrient dense food. You need not eat for two in pregnancy and this is an important lesson you need to remember.

Do You Have An Aching Back?

Backaches are one of the commonest complains that women start having by the 17th or the 18th week, depending on how early they start showing up. In pregnancy, a hormone called relaxin, loosens up your muscles and pelvic joints. Along with this, the growing weight of your uterus also makes your lower back muscles curve much more than you are used to. This shifts your center of gravity and makes you lean forward. All these occurrences lead to soreness and stiffness in and around your lower back.

How Can You Help Yourself?

While dealing with strained muscles, it is important to identify where the pain is originating from. If the pain is a sharp and shooting sensation that runs down your legs, you could be having a sciatic nerve pain. There are a few things you could do to avoid aching backs:

  • Always use a foot rest that keeps your legs at the same level as your hips and does not let them hang. Proper blood circulation is also essential to avoid aches so ensure that you keep your posture in check.
  • Don’t sit or stand for longer stretches of time because you will already be carrying added weight and staying at a single place for a longer time will only add to the trouble.
  • Staying active can avoid pain. If you can walk at a moderate pace for 10 minutes a day, you will feel much better by the end of it.
  • Sleeping on a firm mattress is important because you don’t want your curved back to worsen on a mattress that takes the shape of the body.
  • Watch your weight gain because the faster you gain the pounds, the sooner you are prone to backaches.
  • Getting light massages through pregnancy can feel good. However, massages only offer symptomatic relief.

What Can You Do For Your Spouse At 17 Weeks?

This week begins the testing phase for both of you because the pregnancy is now a reality none of you can refuse to admit. Apart from ensuring that she is eating and sleeping well, try to take good care of her mental health. Communicate regularly and have more patience with her even if she gets too annoying at times.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sciatic_nerve
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doppler_fetal_monitor
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oatmeal