Close-up of the fingers of a human foetus at 17 weeks. The developing fingernails can be seen.

Week 17

Mum

Does your back ache? About 8 in 10 women start complaining about physical aches and pains around this time in their pregnancy. While literally and figuratively a pain, it’s all perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. A nice long bath (warm, not hot) is the perfect way to soothe your sore spine and get some well-deserved “me time”. Be sure to light a few candles and play background music. Don’t compose to-do lists in your head, don’t read pregnancy books. Give yourself permission to have some time off and just enjoy the moment.

Dad

Check out your hospital’s schedule of classes for parents-to-be. Antenatal classes teach you how to look after your partner in pregnancy, what to pack into your suitcase if you’re planning a hospital birth, what to expect during labour, the advantages and disadvantages of pain relief, and the basics of caring for your newborn. Realistically, it’s a crash course, and you’ll graduate feeling that you’ve learnt heaps and, at the same time, that you don’t know enough. It’s a great forum to ask questions, voice concerns and share your experiences. You will also meet other local couples, who will form your support network in the first year of parenthood, and often beyond.

Baby

You are the size of a turnip, about 12cm long from your head to your bottom. You can move your joints. Your bones, currently made of soft cartilage, are hardening. The umbilical cord is thickening to allow more nutrients to pass from Mum to you as you grow bigger.

Photos in the bumpandbaby.co.nz/week-by-week/ are by Lenart Nilsson. Lenart's series was bought to fame when his photo, considered the greatest photo of the 20th century, appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1965. “Everyone interprets images differently, depending on their social, cultural and religious background. In the digital era, I believe it is more important than ever to go back and take a look inside ourselves. What better way of doing that than with these photos?” ~ Jane Stene, art gallery director and curator of Lenart's definitive black and white series, told the The Guardian in 2019. It is Lenart Nilsson's wish that his images are never used for political debate about pro-life.

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