Now that you’re 17 weeks pregnant, it might be a good time to start pelvic floor exercises, if you haven’t already. The pelvic floor muscles hold your bladder, lower bowel and womb in place. These muscles can weaken during or after pregnancy and can lead to stress incontinence. This means that coughing, sneezing, laughing, jumping and even a run for the bus, can lead to annoying little leaks. The good news is that the sooner you start to exercise these muscles, the less chance you’ll have of this happening.
If you want to have a go at this, try squeezing the muscles that you use if you want to stop the flow of urine when using the toilet. Gradually, in three stages, slowly tighten these muscles without holding your breath or squeezing your buttocks. You can do these exercises absolutely anywhere, but remember to school your expression.
If you have been suffering with tender breasts, this should begin to settle down after the first trimester, when the hormones oestrogen, prolactin and progesterone stimulate the production of colostrum. Colostrum is the first golden pre-milk your breasts will produce and is specially designed to nourish your baby before your milk ‘comes in’ as it were.
By now your uterus resembles more of an egg shape than a round ball. The baby’s sex organs are fully formed and they are testing out their new kidneys by having a wee every 40 minutes or so. At least you don’t have to change wet nappies yet! Their cartilage skeleton is now slowly forming into bone, but at this moment in time your baby is mostly made up of water. A protective substance called myelin is beginning to coat the spine, whilst sweat glands are developing all over the body. Your baby is approximately 13 cm from head to bum and weighs 5 ¼ oz.