Week by week

17 Weeks Pregnant: Any Stretch Marks Yet?

fetus in womb at 17 weeks

As your baby has doubled in weight in the last two weeks, you might notice additional changes in your body: a bigger baby bump, itchy or sensitive skin, and stretch marks.

Your baby

Your baby’s heart is now beating about 140 – 150 beats per minute, which is approximately twice as fast as the average adult’s heart rate. He is now adding more fat to his body which helps with his metabolism and the regulation of body temperature.

His circulatory system is fully functional and his umbilical cord and placenta are continuing to grow. He is starting to exhale amniotic fluid through his lungs and is producing urine. Though his weight has roughly doubled in the last two weeks, he still has lots of growing to do before he enters the world.

Your body

As your baby bump continues to grow, you might notice a stretch mark or two making a dreaded debut. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prevent stretch marks despite what products might claim in their marketing; genetics are likely involved. However, rapid weight gain, a larger baby, or extra amniotic fluid may increase their prevalence.

All this stretching can also cause your skin (especially breasts and abdomen) to itch and feel more sensitive. Moisturizing regularly may not prevent stretch marks but it will certainly help soften your dry skin.

You’re likely to continue to notice nasal congestion, more vaginal discharge (called leukorrhea), heartburn, and occasional headaches or dizziness. Headaches and dizziness in pregnancy have various causes including changing hormone levels, low blood pressure, and even low blood sugar if you haven’t eaten in a while.

Your mind

All the body changes during the second trimester can feel shocking. Though it might be hard to see yourself get bigger and rounder, it can help to focus on the power and beauty of your transformation: you’re making a new life! If you’re feeling excited about the baby and having a hard time handling the wait, remember all the growth he’s doing in preparation to meet you in a few months.

What to do this week

  • Start researching baby gear and items you’ll need; talk to friends who have babies already to get a list of their “must haves” and “never uses.”
  • Take photos of your belly as it grows.
  • Remember to stand up and change positions slowly to avoid feeling dizzy or faint.
  • Buy a parenting book that covers your baby’s first year.

View sources

Stretch marks during pregnancy: a review of topical prevention.

Striae gravidarum: Risk factors, prevention, and management

Lindsay Meisel

Lindsay Meisel is the Head of Content at Ava. She has over a decade of experience writing about science, technology, and health, with a focus on women's health and the menstrual cycle. Her work has been featured on The Fertility Hour, The Birth Hour, The Breakthrough Journal, and The Rumpus.

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