You're edging closer and closer to the halfway mark, which is when you'll be offered an anomaly scan. If you haven't already made your appointment for this, you should start thinking about contacting your hospital or Midwife about now.
Chances are you are most definitely noticeably pregnant now, and attracting a lot of attention from well-intentioned strangers who want to know how far along you are and what you're having. It can sometimes feel like you should have a badge made up reading "17 weeks, and I don't know yet!" but try to keep in mind they're just taking an interest, which is lovely.
Baby: What's Happening?
Your baby measures a whopping 5 - 6 ounces now, and it may feel like he or she couldn't possibly get any bigger, but think again! As heavy as your belly feels now, it'll be even heavier by the time your due date arrives, as most babies are born between 6 and 8 lbs.
This week, your baby's soft cartilage starts to firm up and soon he or she will have hard bones which will help protect from damage from all those falls and tumbles that will happen during the toddling stage. The only area that doesn't harden completely before birth is the skull, which remains malleable in order to squeeze through the birth canal without causing too much damage to your private parts.
Your baby's brain is really starting to function well, and is controlling more and more of the body. Most actions are now deliberate, especially reaching and grabbing, and boy does that baby have a strong grip! You'll see this in your newborn when you put your finger to his or her hand and can't retract it for at least an hour! The heart is also regulated by the brain now, creating a steady beat that's roughly twice as fast as your own.
Sweat glands are starting to form all over the body, although there won't be any sweating going on in the womb. Sweating occurs as a way to cool the body, but the temperature inside your uterus remains pretty much constant and stable throughout the pregnancy so sweating simply isn't needed. Your baby will be producing fluids, though, as the amniotic fluid that's sucked in and swallowed is urinated back out.
You: What's Happening?
You're getting bigger by the day! That's a good thing, it means both you and your baby are healthy and well. Your uterus should measure about 17 cm or about 6.5 inches from top to bottom, and you may be able to feel the tip of your uterus creeping up further towards your navel. If you're not yet in maternity clothes, you may find now is a good time to make the switch; it'll be much more comfortable around your middle, and also around your breasts.
You may well be feeling full on movements or little flutterings around now as your baby gets bigger and dances away in there. You may not be feeling anything yet (completely normal!) but once you do start to notice regular movements, try and keep track of them (it may be handy to keep a journal). If your usually active baby goes particularly quiet, or if your chilled out little one has a day of uncharacteristic activity, it's always best to get checked out. Chances are, your baby was just fast asleep, or reacting to a cold drink you've enjoyed, but you can't be too careful, and that's what healthcare professionals are there for!
With your anomaly scan due in about 3 weeks, you might want to start thinking about if you want to find out the sex of your baby. If your baby is being cooperative, the sex should be identifiable during the ultrasound. For some Moms-to-be, the decision is easy, but for others it can be much more difficult, especially if Mom and Dad have different preferences!
The split of those who do find out in advance, and those that don't is roughly 50/50, with some studies showing a 51% preference for waiting, and other research indicating a 60% preference for finding out. While some Moms want to be prepared, and can't wait to start painting the nursery pink or blue, others deem the availability of the information as cheating and look forward to being surprised at the birth.
Of course, there is no right or wrong answer, but it's a good idea to think about whether or not you want to know in advance of your ultrasound. It's not a decision to take lightly, and certainly not one you want to be making in a hurry on the ultrasound table!