Your Body at 17 Weeks Pregnant
Keeping Your Balance
Relaxin is a hormone produced by your ovaries and your placenta. It relaxes collagen, the substance that keeps your joints in place and allows your pelvis to flex open to ease the passage of the baby during labor. Unfortunately, many of your other joints will start feeling a little wobbly and unstable. Your weight will also be distributed more in the front and the combination of these changes will make it easier for you to lose your balance and fall. Be very careful as you move around.
Progesterone is a pregnancy hormone produced by your placenta that will relax many of the "involuntary" or "smooth" muscles in your body. During pregnancy, the high progesterone levels will slow the muscles in your intestines down considerably, and can cause constipation. Constipation during pregnancy is often especially uncomfortable, and may increase your chances of developing hemorrhoids. Drinking more water and eating more fiber will help with the constipation. Many women can safely use over-the-counter stool softeners. Ask your health care provider to recommend a stool softener if needed.
You might be noticing more acid reflux or heartburn. Many women will have it for the first time when pregnant. Acidity that forms in your stomach for digestion purposes is usually kept in the stomach with the help of a sphincter or ring-like muscle at the junction between the esophagus and the stomach. This muscle is also a "smooth" muscle and loosens a little during pregnancy, due to progesterone. Over-the-counter antacids containing calcium carbonate are safe to use and will help to neutralize this acidity. If you’re having a bad case of acid reflux, your health care provider might recommend some longer lasting tablets. Ranitidine is felt to be safe in pregnancy by most health care providers, and is often recommended. In very severe cases, even stronger medications can be prescribed. Please contact your health care provider.
Your Baby at 17 Weeks Pregnant
Your baby is now the length of a grapefruit, and weighs about five ounces (150 g). Sweat glands are starting to form in the skin and the umbilical cord is getting thicker. The cartilage is transforming into bone.
The preceding information was adapted from The Pregnancy Companion.