Your babys progress - Week 17
Now around 16cm or so in length, your baby continues to grow and her four-chamber heart is now pumping as much as 24 litres of blood a day through her little body. Baby’s eyes are still fused shut, and even though she can’t see what’s going on, her eyelashes and eyebrows have grown longer and she has proper little finger and toe nails forming.
Baby starts to become sensitive to light now, as her eyes and brain are working together – so if you could shine a torchlight into your baby’s little home, she would likely recoil from it. Because her hearing is starting to work better, she may also recoil from loud noises. Your baby is likely to hear your heart beating, your stomach rumbling and blood moving through the umbilical cord.
Baby might be emptying her bladder every 40 to 45 minutes in the watery world she lives in, with the umbilical cord removing all the waste back to your body where your bladder takes it all away. Baby will also be having a grand old rollercoaster ride inside your belly, not only playing and moving around but also experiencing your motion as you sit, stand, walk and run.
Fat stores begin to develop under your baby's skin, in particular what is known as ‘brown fat’, which will provide energy and help keep your baby warm after birth. These fat stores will account for anything between 2 to 6 per cent of your baby’s birth weight when she finally comes out to meet you. The brown fat also means her skin is becoming less transparent and she’s more ready to meet the big wide world in another 23 weeks or so.
Just like adults, all babies are different and develop at varying rates in the womb. This information gives a general idea of your baby's development and progress.
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This article was written by Alex Brooks for Kidspot, New Zealand's best pregnancy resource.
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