17 weeks pregnant: Your guide to this week of your second trimester

    Updated 07 July 2023 |
    Published 24 February 2019
    Fact Checked
    Medically reviewed by Dr. Angela Jones, Obstetrician and gynecologist, attending physician, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, New Jersey, US
    Written by Kate Hollowood
    Edited by Sarah Biddlecombe
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    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    From ligament changes to heartburn, here’s the lowdown on being 17 weeks pregnant.

    Being 17 weeks pregnant can be an exciting time. After all, you’re well into your second trimester by now! Some people find that this is the best part of pregnancy, as any nausea or fatigue may finally ease off. If this is the case for you, then enjoy! But don’t worry if it’s not — remember that every pregnancy is different. 

    As you see your body growing and changing week by week, you’re no doubt full of questions about what’s going on inside your belly. Read on to find out how your baby is developing this week, as well as some key lifestyle tips from a Flo expert for a healthy pregnancy at 17 weeks. 

    Your baby at 17 weeks pregnant

    Developing reactions

    At 17 weeks pregnant, you might experience the magic of feeling your baby move for the first time, which is often referred to as quickening. These movements could be the result of your little one reacting to you when you eat, are around loud music, or rub your belly — adorable! 

    While this is a milestone moment that many expectant moms can’t wait to experience, don’t worry if you haven’t felt this yet. Remember that all pregnancies are different, and you could start to feel those first movements at any time from 16 weeks up to 24 weeks pregnant. We've got more info about quickening to share, as well some other changes you might be experiencing around now. Read on! 

    Growing fingernails

    This week your baby is growing mini fingernails and developing their own teeny fingerprints. By 32 weeks, their fingernails will have reached their fingertips, and by 36 weeks, their toenails will have grown to reach the ends of their toes. 

    How big is a baby at 17 weeks?

    Length (crown to heel): 20.4 cm or 8 in.

    Weight: 181 g or 6.4 oz. 

    Size: Equivalent to a pomegranate

    All measurements are approximate and vary within the normal range.

    Your body at 17 weeks pregnant

    Ligament changes

    Round ligament pain can be one of the more annoying symptoms of being 17 weeks pregnant. Here’s what happens: As the ligaments (bands of tissue connecting bones, joints, and organs) surrounding your uterus get stretched during pregnancy, they can spasm and cause pain on both or either side of your abdomen. Round ligament pain generally happens between 14 and 27 weeks but doesn’t affect every pregnancy. As irritating as it is to experience, rest assured that it isn’t dangerous for you or your baby. There are also various things you can do to ease the pain, which we’ll explore below. 

    It’s normal not to experience round ligament pain too, so if you don’t have it, don’t worry. Count yourself as one of the lucky ones! 


    Heartburn can be another annoying pregnancy symptom that you might experience. “​​Heartburn develops in pregnancy due to effects on the esophageal sphincter tone [the muscle that contracts and relaxes to enable food to pass from your esophagus to the stomach, that also protects your esophagus from stomach acid],” explains Dr. Jenna Beckham, obstetrician and gynecologist, WakeMed, North Carolina, US. She explains that the sphincter becomes less responsive during pregnancy, which can cause stomach acid to irritate the esophagus.

    When this muscle becomes too relaxed and stomach acid enters the esophagus, it can feel like a burning sensation or pain in your chest. It can also make you feel nauseous, bloated, or full; make you burp more frequently; and cause you to regurgitate food. Heartburn is reported in between 17% and 45% of pregnancies, and it can also be caused by your changing hormones and your baby pressing on your stomach.

    Thankfully, making some small adjustments at home can make a big difference. “Initial management includes lifestyle and dietary modifications like elevating the head of the bed [for example, by using a couple of extra pillows] and avoiding triggering foods,” says Dr. Beckham. Triggering foods and actions may include spicy and fatty foods, caffeine, getting too full, and eating within three hours of going to bed at night. 

    “If patients have persistent symptoms, they may take antacids or other medications like H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors,” adds Dr. Beckham. While some antacids are available over the counter, it’s always a good idea to speak to your doctor before taking any new medications.

    Your questions answered

    Can I feel my baby at 17 weeks?

    At 17 weeks pregnant, you may well be starting to feel your baby moving around inside your tummy. As we said earlier, these movements are often called quickening. They tend to start in the second trimester, around 16 to 20 weeks into your pregnancy, and the movements can feel like bubbles, tiny pulses, or a fluttering inside your pregnant belly.

    But try not to worry if you haven’t felt this yet, as that’s also totally normal. Many women don’t actually experience quickening until 20 to 24 weeks, especially if it’s their first pregnancy, so there’s still plenty of time. 

    By your third trimester, you’ll be able to feel your baby moving around even more. Your baby’s kicks will feel stronger, and you should be able to feel at least 10 movements in two hours. Yes, really!  

    Is 17 weeks considered the same as 5 months pregnant?

    You may be wondering how to calculate 17 weeks in months. At 17 weeks pregnant, you’ve just started your fifth month of pregnancy and are almost at the halfway mark! If you don’t already know your baby’s sex, you could find out by the end of this month during your second ultrasound (if you choose to do so). And remember, to see how far along you are, you can always check out our pregnancy due date calculator. 

    What are the signs of a healthy pregnancy at 17 weeks?

    There’s nothing in particular to look out for at this stage, so the best thing you can do for your body and baby is to try to relax — as hard as that can sometimes be! “There are no specific milestones for all patients to note a ‘healthy’ pregnancy at 17 weeks,” assures Dr. Beckham. If there’s anything specific on your mind, she adds, “Each patient should discuss this with their health care provider.”

    It’s natural to be anxious during pregnancy, so know that you are not alone. Many women struggle to stay relaxed throughout this time. If you have any concerns, get in touch with your health care provider. Hopefully, they’ll be able to reassure you that all is well. 

    Want to know more?

    Download the Flo app for tailored insights throughout your pregnancy

    17 weeks pregnant checklist

    Consume choline

    Choline, found in meat, fish, dairy, and eggs, is critical for a number of physiological processes during pregnancy, particularly when it comes to the development of your baby’s brain. If you prefer a plant-based diet, you can also get choline from shiitake mushrooms; potatoes; legumes like beans and peanuts; cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage; and sunflower seeds. The recommended daily intake of choline is 450 mg per day for pregnant women.

    Stay sun safe

    Strange but true: Pregnancy can make your skin more sensitive and likely to burn in the sun. So remember to keep applying your sunscreen, which is safe to use during pregnancy

    Because of your changing hormone levels, your skin is also more prone to pigmentation when you’re pregnant. Some pregnant women notice dark, irregular patches of skin appearing on their face, which can be a sign of sensitivity to ultraviolet rays and can also increase after spending time in the sun.   

    You’ll also want to be careful to make sure that neither you nor your baby overheat, so you may want to choose a shady spot to enjoy any good weather in. 

    Ease round ligament pain

    If you’re experiencing pain along one or both sides of your abdomen, it could be the pesky round ligament pain we mentioned earlier. This can be a real nuisance, but it is common in the second trimester, so take some comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. Plus, it doesn’t indicate that there’s anything wrong with you or your baby — phew! Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can ease round ligament pain at home, such as by: 

    • Resting 
    • Wearing a supportive belly band 
    • Taking acetaminophen (while acetaminophen is generally considered safe to take during pregnancy, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor first)
    • Relaxing in a warm bath 

    When to consult a doctor at 17 weeks pregnant

    Right now, you should be having regular checkups with your doctor to make sure that your pregnancy is on track. 

    Remember that you don’t need to wait until your appointment if you have any concerns or questions about your pregnancy. However, at 17 weeks pregnant, you should contact your doctor immediately if you experience: 

    This isn’t an exhaustive list and is just an example of some of the changes you should look out for. Some of these can be a sign of miscarriage or other health complications, so it’s essential that you speak to your doctor about the best next step for you. And if you’re ever worried about any other symptoms you experience during pregnancy, then don’t hesitate to reach out to your health care provider.

    17 weeks pregnant: The takeaway

    While you might be feeling the benefits of having more energy in your second trimester, other symptoms like round ligament pain and heartburn can be tough to deal with. Being pregnant can certainly feel like a roller coaster at times, but know that it’ll all be worth it when you get to meet your baby in a few months’ time. 


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    History of updates

    Current version (07 July 2023)

    Medically reviewed by Dr. Angela Jones, Obstetrician and gynecologist, attending physician, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, New Jersey, US
    Written by Kate Hollowood
    Edited by Sarah Biddlecombe

    Published (24 February 2019)

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