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17 WEEKS, 5 DAYS

156 days to go...

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ultrasound of human fetus at 17 weeks and 5 days

Your baby today

This image shows how much less obvious the soft spot on the top has become by now. The fingers show up well here, and as your baby increases in size, it becomes easier and easier for ultrasound to show this level of detail.

As your belly begins to grow and is more obvious, your pregnancy will become the main focus of people's attention.

Are you getting a little more attention than you would like? Once your belly becomes very obvious, you may begin to feel that it and you are public property. Fascinated by your ever-increasing abdomen, some friends and family, or even strangers, may want to see your belly, touch it, or even kiss it. This can feel very strange because, as a rule, people tend not to go around touching each other's abdomens!

If you're uncomfortable about being touched, then you could politely ask people not to touch the belly, or simply move away. There are, however, some advantages to having people notice that you are pregnant: your belly acts as a warning for people not to jostle you in crowds and people tend to give you a seat on public transportation. Another unwanted intrusion might be that people feel entitled to ask you intimate questions regarding your medical history and about the baby. This may make you uncomfortable, especially if you tend to be a private person. People you have never met before might comment on your figure, and discuss whether you're having a girl or a boy.

Some pregnant women enjoy the attention, while others feel that people are intruding on a personal experience. If you feel uncomfortable, answer questions vaguely or try to change the subject; ask the person about themself instead. Another way of avoiding the unwanted attention is to wear loose clothing that makes your belly look less prominent and attractive to touch.

Ask A... Doctor

I'm so itchy that I'm scratching to the point of bleeding. What can I do?

Most itching in pregnancy, especially on your belly, is due to stretching of the skin, hormonal changes, and heat. Applying moisturizing cream should help.

If you have significant itching, see your doctor to determine whether you have obstetric cholestasis, a serious but rare condition that affects the liver and occurs in about 1 percent of pregnancies.

people touching pregnant woman's belly

Be prepared for some people to look at, comment on, and want to feel your wonderful belly as it becomes more noticeable. If you're a tactile person by nature, this attention can be easier to handle than if you're not.

As A Matter Of Fact

It's not forbidden to eat salt while you're pregnant.

It was once thought that salt increased swelling and the risk of high blood pressure. But your body needs salt to expand your volume of blood and body fluids. Use sea salt (it contains less sodium) and don't have in excess of 0.25 oz (6 g) a day.

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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