In these weeks, your womb continues to grow in size daily, it begins to fill your pelvic cavity, expanding it in the process, giving the impression of a soft smooth ball. Your transition from your usual clothes to pregnancy outfits begins at this stage. As your body weight increases, you may be plagued by back and lower back aches and pains: avoid strenuous work. Too much bending or stretching could be exerting to an expectant mother and cause damage to the spinal cord leading to lower back pain. These weeks usually indicate that you are midway through your pregnancy and will start feeling much closer to your baby. The discomforts experienced at the beginning of your pregnancy are almost over. Also, due to on going changes in your vessels and the dilution of your blood, you may experience gum and nose bleeds and nasal congestion. Avoid hot and dry environments by keeping your surroundings humid to a certain extent.
In the first phase of the second trimester, your baby’s body is developing and the result will be a more pronounced look of the head and the baby is now as big as the mother’s palm. The bone structure in his/her legs and arm become stronger and you become more aware of the baby’s movements starting from the 16th week. These movements are feel like tiny twitches or a fluttering of a butterfly’s wings. The entire body and head of the baby are covered with fine hair called lunago. The sebaceous and sweat glands become functional while the digestive system, stomach and gall bladder start producing the first stool in the bowels. The kidneys continue functioning and the baby’s pee is mixed into the amniotic fluid.
The brain starts to monitor the heart. The heart beats are now more regular. Swallowing and sucking reflexes improve, preparing the baby for the outside world.
At the end of the 17th week, the baby is approximately 12 cm long and weighs 120 grams.
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