17 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms, Baby’s Size, Weight Gain & More

By Chaunie Marie Brusie, B.S.N., R.N.
Reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D.
March 02, 2023

Welcome to week 17 of pregnancy! You’re in the second trimester, which can be an exciting time. You might be more energized and ready to tackle some items on your pregnancy to-do list. You may even feel your baby start to move soon.

What is 17 weeks pregnant in months? This is the last week of your fourth month!

Here’s all that you and your baby have to look forward to at 17 weeks pregnant.

Your Baby at 17 Weeks Pregnant: Size, Development, and Milestones

At 17 weeks, your baby is the size of a pear and measures about 8 inches from the top of their head to their tiny toes. They weigh about 6 ounces.

Your future baby is turning into quite the little gymnast. They’re starting to move, stretch, kick, and maybe even flip inside your belly. Don’t worry if you’re not sensing these movements yet, though. Many expectant parents feel their baby’s first kicks between 17 and 21 weeks of pregnancy, so it could take a little more time. (If you’ve been pregnant before, you’re more likely to pick up on these movements on the earlier side. And if your placenta is on the front wall of your uterus, you’re likely to feel these movements on the later side.)

At this stage, all major body parts and systems are in place and will continue to develop fully. This week:

  • Your baby’s eyes can move around, but they remain closed.
  • Fine hair is growing on their head.
  • The baby’s skin is still see-through.
  • The sucking reflex develops, and they can open and close their mouth.

Common 17 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms

Here’s a look at pregnancy symptoms you might feel this week.

Increased Energy

In the second trimester, you may have slightly better energy and less fatigue than you did in the first trimester.

Some pregnant people feel better in the second trimester because the exhaustion and nausea of the first trimester ease. Others feel a surge of energy thanks to more stabilized hormones and a slower rate of development in the fetus.

But if you’re still feeling exhausted, that’s considered normal, too. Try to sleep well, drink plenty of water, and check out other tips for handling fatigue in pregnancy.

Increased Sex Drive

Pregnancy hormones can ramp up desire and sex drive in some people. So can increased blood volume and blood flow to your pelvic region. Some people also find the changes to a pregnant body to be more pleasurable. For instance, arousal and orgasms can be more intense, and you may find certain changes to your body (like larger and more sensitive breasts) welcome changes to your sex life, too.

Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about sex and its safety for your pregnancy. Generally, if you don’t have any major complications, it’s considered safe to have sex at 17 weeks pregnant.

Vaginal and Urinary Tract Infections

Vaginal and urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common during pregnancy. That’s because progesterone (a hormone that’s high during pregnancy) relaxes blood vessels and smooth muscle. That could lead urine to stay in your ureters (the tubes that carry urine) for longer, which increases your risk of bladder infections and kidney infections.

Pregnancy hormones can change the pH of the vagina, too. This can throw off the balance of yeast and/or bacteria and cause a vaginal infection.

Treating a UTI or vaginal infection during pregnancy is important to help avoid pregnancy complications. Be sure to let your doctor know right away if you have:

  • Foul-smelling discharge
  • Discomfort when you urinate
  • A dull, achy sensation in your pelvic area or low back
  • Any fevers

Cramping at 17 Weeks Pregnant

Several things could cause the feeling of cramping at this stage of pregnancy, including:

These are generally harmless. But if you have cramping and other signs that may be more serious, like vaginal bleeding or pain when you urinate, call your doctor.

Your Body and Mind at 17 Weeks Pregnant

As your baby grows, your body keeps changing. You may have a visible baby bump at 17 weeks pregnant, or it may take a few more weeks before you start to show.

Here are more physical and mental changes or sensations that may be happening.

Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are very common during pregnancy, especially if your weight or body size changes quickly. These marks tend to fade after pregnancy. Keeping your skin as moisturized as possible, avoiding excess weight gain, and staying hydrated will all help.

Increased Vaginal Discharge

Right now, it’s normal if you have increased vaginal discharge that’s clear or white.

Not all discharge is healthy, however. If you have discharge that smells foul or comes with pain, bleeding, or itchiness, let your doctor know. These may be signs of an infection, which your doctor can help treat.

Fetal Movements

Wondering what it feels like to feel your baby move? Many people describe it as a fluttering in their lower stomach, while others have described it as a sudden flop. Others have mistaken early fetal movements as gassiness, only to realize later—when the feelings persist and get stronger—that it was their baby moving.

Gum Changes or Bleeding

Pregnancy hormones can make your gums swell and bleed more easily than before you were pregnant. This is known as pregnancy gingivitis. You may notice that your gums suddenly seem to bleed every time you floss or brush your teeth.

That doesn’t mean you should skip flossing. Oral healthcare is incredibly important during pregnancy to help avoid infections. So keep flossing, consider a salt water rinse or other mouthwash, and attend any dental visits you’re due for, as well.

Early Nesting

If you’ve been feeling an energy surge, you may also find yourself doing some early nesting. That could mean decluttering your house, organizing the closets, or redecorating. As far as you’re safely able, feel free to ride that energy wave and do what you need to do to feel comfortable welcoming your little one.

Slight Weight Gain

Some weight gain during pregnancy is expected. In general, you can expect to gain between 1/2 pound and 1 pound of pregnancy weight per week during your second trimester.

The typical total weight gain by 17 weeks pregnant can range from 5 to 10 pounds over your pre-pregnancy weight. (But everyone is different!)

Preparation and Tips at 17 Weeks Pregnant

Consider tackling some important tasks this week.

Keep Up with Prenatal Care Visits

Prenatal care may be business as usual at this point. In your second trimester, prenatal checkups occur about once a month. When you go in, your provider will do:

  • A urine test
  • A blood pressure check
  • A weight measurement

In a few weeks, your provider will likely start measuring fundal height. That’s the length from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus. It helps the doctor or midwife track fetal growth and development.

Is there a 17-weeks-pregnant ultrasound? In most cases, no.

Most pregnant people have one ultrasound in the first trimester and then a second ultrasound in the second trimester, at around 20 weeks. Right now, you can schedule and look forward to that midpregnancy ultrasound (also sometimes called an anatomy ultrasound) coming up in just a few weeks.

Think About Maternity Leave

While your baby’s arrival may seem far off, it’s a good idea to start thinking about whether you can and will take parental leave from work. If you work, get a written copy of your employer’s maternity or family leave policy so you know all your rights. This information can help you learn what plans may be possible.

Then, if you will be taking leave, map out your plans and let your employer know what they are. Legally speaking, you generally need to request leave at least 30 days in advance, but sooner may be better to help everyone plan for the change.

Find Ways to Move

Exercising during pregnancy can have many benefits for you and your baby, like lower risk of gestational diabetes and reduced recovery time after birth.

If you had to cut back on your physical activity during the first trimester because of morning sickness and fatigue, now’s a good time to get back on track.

It’s generally safe to exercise while pregnant, as long as your doctor hasn’t recommended a restriction. Any type of movement you enjoy and did regularly before getting pregnant is typically safe to continue. Always talk to your doctor about your exercise plans. And listen to your body, modifying your movement as needed.

Schedule Maternity Photos

Now that your body is changing, think ahead to whether you’d like to have a maternity photo session.

There’s no right or wrong time to take maternity photos, but many people like to take them near the end of their second trimester or early in the third, when they have a visible baby bump but aren’t too uncomfortable to move around and change into several different outfits. Now’s a good time to secure a slot with a photographer and pick a few ideas and outfits. Or ask a friend or family member with a good eye to take some pictures of you and your bump.

If you prefer not to take maternity photos, that’s okay, too. Only do what you’re comfortable doing.

Write a Letter to Your Baby

For many people, pregnancy becomes much more “real” once they start to feel their baby move. It’s common to experience a mixture of excitement and worry about what lies ahead.

Writing a letter to your baby may help you feel more connected with them. Putting down your thoughts, experiences, and hopes can also help you acknowledge your feelings. Plus, a letter makes a beautiful keepsake of this time in your life. Head to our week 17 activity to help guide you.

What Others Are Talking About at 17 Weeks Pregnant

Connecting with a community of pregnant people and experts can help you feel less alone with what you’re experiencing at each stage in your pregnancy. This week, you may be interested in these conversations:

Want to know more about your pregnancy week by week?