WEEK 17: First signs of a bump
Your baby’s neural and nervous systems continue to grow this week – as does your waistline. Don’t worry, this is normal. See how you can maintain a healthy weight through your pregnancy.

17 weeks pregnant: Pregnancy tips and nutrition

At a glance

Your bump is starting to show and clothes will be getting snug

Try pregnancy exercises, like yoga – check with your doctor or midwife first


Try baking, steaming or grilling food to keep fat content under control

Check with your doctor which medications are safe to use

The nerve fibres of the spinal cord are starting to be surrounded by myelin, an insulating case that’s rich in lipids, which helps good nerve conduction.

Baby's development at 17 weeks

As always, there’s lots of amazing things going on this week. Baby’s neural and nervous systems continue to develop. The skin is still very thin, so you can see small blood vessels through it. Something called Tact Corpuscles (or touch receptors) will continue appearing all over the body until the 20th week of pregnancy. The nerve fibres of the spinal cord are starting to be surrounded by myelin, an insulating case that’s rich in lipids, which helps good nerve conduction. Your little one’s intestine continues to grow, but is now fixed in place in the abdomen.

Your body

For some women, the baby bump is now showing. If you are very slim, or have had a baby before, it’s more likely that there is something to see. Now is the time that trousers or skirts start getting a bit snug, and waistlines become harder to discern. Not every woman is happy about these changes, but they’re a natural part of pregnancy. A good way to support your body is through pregnancy exercises (pregnancy yoga?), but check with your GP or midwife first. For any instructor led activity, ensure they are qualified to teach and let them know that you are pregnant.

Woman doing yoga at 17 weeks of pregnancy


Fats and essential fatty acids are an essential part of your pregnancy diet. Fats are found in many foods such as dairy, meat and oily fish. Omega 3 fats are found in oily fish and are important for you and your growing baby. Omega 3 fatty acids are important for brain function, normal growth and development.

Here are some practical tips for keeping the right amount of fat in your diet. First of all, use a light hand when cooking. Use non-stick pans and please note that one tablespoon of oil may be more than necessary in most instances.

It’s also a great idea to try out a few different ways of cooking, such as steaming, baking or grilling. These will all help you keep your fat intake under control. Try to use oils, such as olive or walnut oil, in your salad dressings too. These are better for you and contain those essential fatty acids.

Pregnancy tips

A lot of women worry about what would happen if they were to become ill while pregnant. A common cold or a stomach upset usually won’t harm your little one. But it’s important to inform your GP about any illness, so they can help you choose the right medication if necessary.

Some medicines, including some common painkillers, can be bad for baby, so speak to your GP before taking any medication.

Always check with your GP before taking anything, and avoid over-the-couter medicine if you can.

Get advice about exercise during pregnancy

16 weeks pregnant: Pregnancy tips and nutrition

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Important advice to mothers

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. SMA® Nutrition fully supports this and continued breastfeeding, along with the introduction of complementary foods as advised by your healthcare professional.


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