Dizziness during pregnancy often kicks in at around week 17 in the second trimester. Blame hormones, your growing uterus and a rapidly expanding circulatory system.

Meanwhile, your little one is learning to suck and swallow, and is also starting to develop fingerprints.

Your Baby at Week 17

At a Glance

Getting ready to feed
Getting ready to feed
Your little one is practicing sucking and swallowing as he gets ready for the real thing: a breast or bottle!
Baby will soon be able to hear you!
Baby will soon be able to hear you!
Baby's sense of hearing is making big strides this week. His ears are close to being fully formed and he's starting to be able to hear your voice.
Warming up
Warming up
Fat stores are beginning to develop under your baby's skin. This provides energy and will help keep your little one warm (and cute) after birth.

17 weeks pregnant is how many months?

If you're 17 weeks pregnant, you're in month 4 of your pregnancy. Only 5 months left to go! Still have questions? Here's some more information on how weeks, months and trimesters are broken down in pregnancy.

How big is my baby at 17 weeks?

My, how your baby has grown! Your little one weighs about 5 or more ounces and is the size of your palm, or around 5 inches long. Body fat (baby's, that is) is beginning to form and will continue to accumulate through the end of your pregnancy — join the club, baby!

Baby's practicing sucking and swallowing

Since practice makes perfect, your baby is sharpening his sucking and swallowing skills in preparation for that first and second…and third suckle at your breast or the bottle. 

In fact, most of the survival reflexes your baby will have at birth are being perfected in utero right now.

Fingerprints are forming

Here's some proof that your baby is truly one of a kind — as if you needed any! Within the next week or so, the pads on your baby's fingertips and toes will become adorned with completely individual swirls and creases, aka fingerprints.

Fetal cardiac activity is more regular

Baby's heart is now regulated by the brain, so no more random beats, and is churning out 140 to 150 beats per minute — about twice as fast as yours.

Your Body at Week 17

17 weeks pregnant woman

Here come the tummy touchers!

Now that you're starting to show, chances are that friends, coworkers and even strangers may feel the urge to reach out and touch your tummy. If you don't mind, that's fine. But if you do, speak up kindly but firmly.

Your growing appetite

Remember when you were so queasy you could barely stomach ginger ale and a cracker? Happily, your toilet-hugging days and nights are probably over. And happily, these days it's more likely that you can't get enough to eat.

For most women, the second trimester not only brings relief from morning sickness but also a hearty appetite. Don't be surprised if you suddenly feel hungry enough to polish off a sizable cut of steak or a whole tray of baked ziti at 17 weeks pregnant.

What's behind your increase in appetite? Simple — you're taking signals from your baby, who's getting bigger and hungrier. Not sure exactly how much weight you should gain during pregnancy? Talk to your practitioner, who will be able to help you maintain a healthy weight gain. Your doctor or midwife can also help you play weight gain catch-up if you didn't gain enough or lost weight during the first trimester. 

Stop snoring

One inexplicable pregnancy symptom? Snoring! But take heart: The stuffiness that often triggers world-champion snoring is common — and temporary. That's right, even your nose is affected by pregnancy hormones!

Try putting a humidifier in your bedroom, using one of those nasal strips on your nose to open up your nasal passages, or sleeping on a couple of pillows to keep your head slightly elevated. And if your partner complains? Banish your sweetie to the sofa for the night — it's more important that you get a good night's sleep.

Heightened symptoms

More new developments with your body may be on tap this week: an increase in vaginal discharge (leukorrhea) and a greater sensitivity to allergens. Both are totally normal!

Pregnancy Symptoms Week 17

Increased appetite
Increased appetite
Stretch marks
Stretch marks
Occasional headaches
Occasional headaches
Faintness or dizziness
Faintness or dizziness
Heartburn and indigestion
Heartburn and indigestion

Tips for You This Week

Breast growth (and no breast growth) are both normal

Hormones and milk-producing glands are developing to prepare for nursing. All this activity, plus an increase in blood flow, can cause your breasts to grow up to three cup sizes.

Of course, every pregnant woman's symptoms are different. While breast growth is common — and for some women quite a lot — you might not notice any changes at all in your breast size, especially if you're busty to begin with. Even if you have no breast growth, it’s not cause for concern.

Stretch to prevent sciatica

The sciatic nerve, the largest in the body, starts in the lower back, runs down the buttocks, and branches down the back of the legs to the ankles and feet.

In most cases, sciatica — sharp, shooting pain, tingling or numbness that starts in the back or buttocks and radiates all the way down the legs — happens when this nerve gets compressed by bulging, slipped or ruptured discs.

Arthritis and a narrowing of the spinal canal, also called spinal stenosis, can also be culprits. Try a heating pad or back stretches to ease the pain.

Time for the Tooth Fairy again?

Have you noticed a mildly looser tooth that suddenly makes you feel like you’re back in elementary school?

Hormones can affect the gums, ligaments and bones in your mouth, which in turn can slightly loosen the teeth, especially if you have more serious untreated conditions like gingivitis or periodontis.

See the dentist as soon as possible if you notice a very loose tooth or have other significant dental issues — don't put it off! And be sure to keep up with twice-daily brushing, regular flossing and other important oral hygiene practices during pregnancy.

Ease round ligament pain

Your uterus is supported by thick bands (called ligaments) that run from the groin up the side of the abdomen.

As your uterus grows during pregnancy, these bands stretch out to accommodate your growing bump — which can cause sharp pains and dull aches in the lower abdomen.

To relieve round ligament pain, make sure to spend time off your feet and decrease the intensity of your workouts. You can also consider wearing a belly band for a little extra support.

Stay out of the sun

Seeing spots — on your face? A line down your lower belly? Skin tags dotting your upper arms?

No need to dash to the dermatologist. These strange skin symptoms, including darkening moles and heat rashes, are all normal and temporary. As usual, hormones are to blame, but the sun can exacerbate these changes in your complexion.

So stay shaded whenever you can — now's the time to invest in a wide-brimmed hat — and apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when you venture out in the daylight. Sunscreen is safe and smart to use when you're expecting. Ask your doctor about anything you’re concerned about.

Check your hands

Do the palms of your hands look as if you've touched a hot pan? You could have palmar erythema, a skin condition in which the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet appear redder or darker than normal.

The good news: It disappears after you give birth. But definitely check in with your doctor just to make sure everything is normal.

Try non-dairy, calcium foods

If milk or other dairy products aren't your thing, you'll have to cash in on calcium a different way. Luckily, dairy products aren't the only sources of calcium — they're just the most well-known.

Calcium-fortified orange juice and other fruit juices can offer about as much calcium as milk, cup for cup. For other non-dairy dietary sources of calcium, turn to leafy green vegetables, sesame seeds, almonds and calcium-fortified soy products like tofu.

Still aren’t getting enough? Ask your practitioner about a calcium supplement for extra insurance.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You're Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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