Your baby this week
17 weeks pregnant

Soaking up the rays

During pregnancy, you’re more likely to get color from the sun -- and not just the way you’d expect. Melasma (chloasma), brownish patches that appear on the forehead, cheeks, upper lip and chin (also known as the “mask of pregnancy”) can be triggered by the sun.

Sunscreen

Minimize or prevent this “mask of pregnancy” by wearing a large hat when you will be out in the sun, and by using sunscreen protection with UV-B block and a SPF of 30 or more. (Treat yourself to a brand-new bottle of sunscreen -- last year’s may be too old, as the ingredients become less-effective over time.)


New dad

Is he jazzed?

We asked P&B readers about the father-to-be: "He's going to be a dad! How excited is he?" Here are the poll results:

  • He's as thrilled as I am: 50%
  • He's interested, but not as consumed as I am: 35%
  • I don't think he believes it yet: 15%

New fathers are often quite concerned about what to do with their infants. After all, they don't talk, they can't catch a fly ball, and they don't seem to do much else besides drool. Get some tips on how dads can prepare to feel more comfortable with their babies here -- and check out these features, too:

Come tell us what you think: Vote in other P&B polls here!


Time for something new

If you have just found out you are pregnant, you may be wondering what you should buy now and what you should buy later. Before you waste your money, get the 4-1-1 on your maternity clothes timeline!

Maternity clothes timeline: What to buy now and later


In the know

Pregnant woman

This is the ideal time for an alpha fetaprotein (AFP) blood test. This test is a blood test given to women in their second trimester of pregnancy, usually between weeks 15 and 20. When a woman is pregnant, alpha-fetoprotein is produced by the fetus and mixes with the mother's blood. 

A high level of AFP can be an indication of a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. However, high levels of AFP can also indicate that the mother is further along in her pregnancy than realized and her due date needs to be recalculated. In addition, a high AFP could also mean the mother is carrying twins -- while a low level of AFP can be an indication of genetic defects such as a higher risk of Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21) or another chromosomal anomaly.

Read more about the AFP test here -- and you might also want to check out this other article, too: Help - I got a positive AFP test result!