Welcome to week 17, where the living is easy and your appetite is growing! Food is often on the mind at this point, and if you take care to eat small and frequent meals, you can beat cravings while controlling your calorie intake. Here's a look at what your body is going through and why you're wanting to eat everything in sight.
Showing or not, your belly is now growing in earnest. At this point, much of what's "showing" are your intestines and other organs being pushed up by your growing uterus. Still, this new change alters your center of gravity and may cause you to be a little off-balance. Make sure to avoid situations that could cause you to fall easily, and always wear shoes with good support.
Here are some other symptoms you might experience this week:
- Hunger (constant or intermittent)
- Dry eyes due to hormones that change your natural tears and cornea shape
- Strange dreams
- Dry skin
Thankfully, the above symptoms are dwarfed in comparison to common symptoms during the first and last trimesters, so enjoy the break from freaky pregnancy symptoms while you can! You'll notice hunger and thirst are present, which is no surprise considering how hard your body is working to create a new life. Remember to eat frequently, but focus on making snacks that are nutrient-rich and low in sugars, salts, and additives. As for dry skin, many women experience dry skin as their belly grows, so be sure to moisturize accordingly.
Your baby has reached the weight of 5 ounces and is 5 inches long from head to bottom. As he or she continues to grow, the umbilical cord has become stronger and thicker to deal with an increased need for oxygenated blood and nutrients. It's also no wonder that your appetite is increasing, as baby's skeleton is turning from a soft cartilage to hardened bone. Protein and calcium are the main building blocks for this process, so make sure you're getting plenty of both in your diet.
Another exciting new development is that your baby's sense of hearing is developing, which means that as they can start to hear, they'll recognize and even respond to your voice and the voice of other people close to you! So play away that Mozart (or Metallica, depending on your tastes).
Baby is keeping busy practicing sucking and swallowing, and his or her tiny little fingerprints are forming at this time.
Take a look at some online meal plans for pregnancy so you can get all the nutrients you need while satiating some common cravings. It is possible to lean into a craving without constantly eating junk food. Find out more at Choosemyplate.gov and elsewhere online.