Pregnancy Calendar Week 17 – Nerve Pain from Lower Back to the Legs Can Irritate You

Pregnancy Calendar Week 17 – Nerve Pain from Lower Back to the Legs Can Irritate You

Keep it up! You are solidly moving through the second trimester and this induces confidence that you will soon become a mommy. As with the earlier weeks, your body will witness many changes so as the baby inside. Scroll down to know all happenings this week.

Week 17

You are steadily going through the super exciting phase as second trimester is less hard on your body. However, there will still be some unpleasant experiences, thanks to the changing hormones and the growing baby who is elbowing your organs out of their actual position.

Your body this week

Pregnant belly and bodyweight

Now that you have begun to show up your tummy with the uterus expanding, the organs are making a shift to accommodate the growing baby. Your uterus is close to halfway between the pubic bone and the belly button. This pushes your intestines slightly up and towards the side of the abdomen.

Your body is working hard to get stronger which is also adding more bodyweight (around 400 grams) every week.

Typical symptoms

The nausea and vomiting must have been disappeared by this time and you will be back on your energy. If you are feeling a little let down that look at your belly and you will realize the reason why you are experiencing all this.

With the uterus expanding, the growing baby is also putting pressure on your sciatic nerve which is the largest nerve in the human body. The nerve begins from the lower back, through the bumps and down to the lower limb. So when your baby pushes on it, you might experience periodic pain from the lower down to the legs. This condition is known as sciatica. Other symptoms you would experience this week include:

  • Gastrointestinal issues such as heartburn and indigestion due to shifting organs
  • Brown and black spots on the face (skin pigmentation/melasma)
  • Stretch marks
  • Increased appetite
  • Occasional headaches

Complications at 17th week

Besides sciatic nerve pain, another unpleasant side effect many women experience during this phase is pregnancy rhinitis or pregnancy-related nasal congestion. This condition affects approximately 39 percent of the pregnant women. According to a study published in the medical journal Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, this occurs between 13-21 weeks.

It is still not known why this nasal congestion occurs. Some experts believe that hormonal shifts and increased blood volume are responsible for mucous glands to increase production leading to stuffy nose. Some women may still be vulnerable to urinary tract infections and also cholestasis which induces severe body itches. Though chances of miscarriages are reduced but they cannot be overlooked.

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Your baby this week

No matter what occurring with your body, the baby is growing unhindered. The placenta and the umbilical cord are steadily growing. The placenta contains thousands of blood vessels which are continuously working to transfer oxygen and nutrients to the baby. On the other hand, the umbilical cord is lengthening to strengthen the connection between the placenta and the baby. Other ongoing changes in the baby include:

Hearing capability

The small bones in the auditory system may have been developed this week. This means the sense of hearing is making big progress and soon your baby would start hearing your voice. So start searching for good cradle songs and lullabies.

Skeleton and bones

The skeleton which primarily consists of soft cartilage is now turning into strong bone. And also there is some meat growing on these bones with some topping of fat. In fact, many other reflexes are being perfected at this moment.

Practicing sucking and swallowing

Your baby is sharpening its sucking and swallowing skills by using its thumb. This will make his breastfeed or bottle feeding job easier.

Heartbeat

The heart of the baby is now controlled by the brain, so no more random beats. In fact, the heart is beating 140-150 times a minute. This is double to that of an adult.

Size, weight and appearance

There has been exponential growth of your baby week by week. The little one is now around 5.5 inches long or the size of an average onion or turnip. With more and more fat building in the body, the baby would be weighing around 140 grams in the 17th week.

Healthy eating

By the time you enter 17th week, you must have already been on a good diet compared to your pre-pregnancy status. The increased appetite will compel you to eat more. So, keep in mind that below foods should be on your list this week to maintain the calorie balance.

  1. Loads of calcium in the form of yogurt, milk and cheese
  2. High protein diet which include foods such as lean meat, red meat, fishes, beans and pulses. Soybean is also a good choice.
  3. Don’t forget to add leafy green vegetables and fresh fruits to your diet schedule
  4. Whole foods for getting loads of fiber that would also help you in constipation
  5. Folic acid and vitamin C supplements

Expecting dads

Your wife is just a few weeks to touch the halfway milestone. By now she will showing her belly bump which will go on expanding. This would obviously require her to shop for maternity wears. Many women never miss an opportunity for fashion even in pregnancy.

So, take her to shop for desired lingerie, nursing sleep wear, maternity dresses and skirts.

Screening

Now as your energy is back, you will like to talk more about your pregnancy with your gynecologist. Ask the doctor if you can do some exercises or what’s the best exercise for you. According to American College Obstetricians and Gynecologists, exercising during pregnancy can decrease the chances of gestational diabetes as well as c-section delivery.

In terms of screening, if you already gone through amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) results of which were inconclusive, your doctor might recommend you cordocentesis. Also called as percutaneous umbilical blood sampling, the umbilical cord blood is checked for detecting signs of chromosomal abnormalities. The doctor will use ultrasound to extract a sample of the blood where cord meets the placenta.

Tips for the week

Among the most important things you need to keep in mind during this phase is to stay strong and cheerful as much as possible. All you do directly affect your baby, be it is healthy eating, exercising or living stress free. Choose healthy lifestyle till you deliver your child. Follow below tips:

  1. Try to maintain your postural balance as your belly is continuously protruding
  2. Stay away from high heel shoes and instead go for flat low slipper and shoes
  3. As you are going through aches and pains, better to schedule a prenatal massage to soothe your body
  4. Avoid unhygienic environments
  5. Eat proper meals at proper times
  6. Stay positive and take a lot of rest

FAQs at 17th week

What should I do in case of nerve pain?

Sciatic nerve pain is a common condition during this phase. Try back stretches or apply a heating pad to ease your pain.

I am having bizarre dreams, is it normal?

This is also a common phenomenon among most pregnant women. It may be like ‘forgetting the baby’, ‘furry animal dreams’, ‘being trapped or losing freedom’ etc. The hormones in your body are not only changing your physical anatomy but also affecting your mental being.

This impacts the way your brain processes thoughts and emotions, resulting in anxiety. Try to change sleeping position and avoid possible sources.

Sources

1. Pregnancy and sciatic nerve pain. (2017, March). read more
2. The Nemours Foundation. Kidshealth.org. Pregnancy Calendar, Week 17 read more
3. National Women's Health Resource Center. Healthywomen.org. Pregnancy & Parenting Second Trimester of Pregnancy: 17 Weeks 
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