Week 17

What’s happening this week


  • could notice the veins in your legs and breasts becoming more visible
  • may notice an increase in vaginal discharge.

Your baby…

  • has begun to practise breathing by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid
  • measures about 12 cm
  • is now putting on weight more rapidly
  • may be grasping the umbilical cord from time to time
  • is turning and kicking like a little acrobat, even though you may only feel what seems like a tummy rumble.

Essential exercises

Little leaks?

The pelvic floor muscles hold the bladder, uterus, and lower bowel in place. After having a baby many women find these muscles are weaker than before. This can lead to stress incontinence – you leak a little urine when you cough or laugh, jump or run. To prevent this happening, it’s important to do pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy and after the baby is born.

Pelvic floor exercises

  • Squeeze and lift the same muscles that you use if you want to stop the flow of urine.
  • Try to do it without holding your breath, squeezing your buttocks together, or pulling in your abdominal muscles!

Do this exercise several times a day in batches of five or six ‘squeezes’ at a time.You can do it while washing up, waiting for a bus or lift, sitting at a desk or watching TV… No-one will know you are doing it, but it will help strengthen the pelvic floor if you do it as many times as you can remember each day!

Five easy ways to keep your fluid levels up

Drinking plenty of water will help prevent kidney problems, and it’s good for your skin, too! It is recommended that you drink two litres (eight glasses) per day. Try some of our quick tips for keeping yourself topped up: coffee.jpg

  1. Drink a glass of warm water with lemon juice before you have anything else to drink or eat in the mornings.
  2. Every time you have a cup of coffee or tea, have a glass of water as well.
  3. Find a cordial you like and drink it well diluted. Try elderflower, citrus or ginger.
  4. Dilute fresh fruit juices with water. Begin with just a splash and gradually add more until you can drink it 50/50.
  5. If you don’t really like drinking water, try it chilled with a slice of lemon or orange and drink it through a straw.

Ultrasonic Scans

What is an anomaly scan?

Carried out between 18 and 22 weeks of pregnancy, this scan checks that the baby has developed normally and does not have a major ‘anomaly’ or problem. It won’t detect all problems, but it may show problems in the baby’s brain, heart, kidneys or digestive tract. In most cases it will simply show that your baby is growing well.


Do I have to have the scan?

It is your choice. If you do need a scan take your partner or a friend you can rely on for support in case you need it. Remember, scans will not detect every problem and sometimes suggest there might be something wrong when there isn’t. If a problem is picked up at your scan, discuss this with your LMC who will refer you to an obstetrician.

How to get the most out of your ultrasound scan

You may be excited, you may be nervous, but remember:

  • Ask the radiographer to explain what she can see, but tell her if you don’t want to know the sex of your baby!
  • Take your partner or a friend with you.
  • If there’s anything that worries you, just ask.
  • Ask for a photo!

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