Only a few weeks left in your second trimester! Find out what you can be doing about those pesky stretch marks and varicose veins as you approach week 21 of your pregnancy.
Pregnancy Week 21: Baby
You’re 21 weeks pregnant, and so excited to meet your baby! There will be a lot of changes as the weeks go on, and that’s why it’s important you stay aware of them. The week will fly by and you’ll soon find yourself in the baby’s third trimester. This week I’m going to take a closer look at how your child is developing!
Your baby is already a handful! At 21 weeks, your baby is as big as a bunch of grapes. They are around 26 cm and weigh around 360 g.
At 21 weeks pregnant, your baby’s growth is rapid. Their organs are continuing to grow and develop, and it is likely that you can feel the baby move.
The baby’s head is getting bigger, so it might be hard to find a comfortable position for sleeping.
The week 20. The heart continues to grow larger and stronger. Nervous system connections are forming as well; some will continue developing after birth!
The outer layer of skin (epidermis) is thickening slightly; more hair will be on your baby’s head than before!
Image courtesy: Pixabay
In this week-by-week pregnancy guide, you’ll learn that:
- Your baby has formed eyebrows and eyelids, which allows him to blink.
- Now your baby sleeps as much as a newborn, almost 12 to 14 hours daily.
- Fun fact!! Your baby can taste what you’re eating. Your baby’s taste buds allow them to taste a variety of flavours based on what you eat and what enters the amniotic fluid.
- If you have an ultrasound, you might catch your little one sucking their thumb, as their sucking reflex is already starting to develop.
- Their movements, which initially felt like flutters, are gaining intensity; you can feel them more now.
- Their bone marrow, liver and spleen start to work at your pregnancy week 21.
- If you are carrying a baby girl, she already has a lifetime supply of eggs in her womb.
Baby is developing outer ear during pregnancy week 21, which means that he or she can hear. This is great news for you and your baby—it’s time to start talking!
You don’t need to worry about being too loud or talking at the wrong time of day. Your baby will be hearing everything you say through your placenta, which acts as an amplifier. That’s why it’s important to keep talking to your baby throughout the day and night.
Your voice is so important in the development of your baby’s brain, so make sure you use it! It will help them learn language skills faster than normal.
You might be wondering what your baby’s teeth are doing right now, but don’t worry: they’re not actually teeth yet.
Although there are still a few months before you’ll see them in the mirror (and months after that before they start coming out), they’re already well on their way to forming. Your baby’s gums are developing now and will soon join up to form the hard structure of their tooth buds.
These tooth buds will eventually develop into actual teeth, which means that your baby’s teeth will grow from these buds.
It’s a fact: you’ve been feeling your baby move for weeks now. But if you’re like most mums-to-be, you still haven’t gotten used to it yet. At 21 weeks pregnant, your baby is still growing at an amazing rate. And that means more movement!
Baby’s movements are getting stronger and more frequent. Your baby’s brain is growing rapidly, as is the placenta. The baby can now swallow, suck, and breathe amniotic fluid.
Your baby has eyelids that open and close, ears that move, and a mouth that sucks on his or her thumb or fist. Your baby will begin to make swallowing motions in preparation for feeding.
Pregnancy Week 21: Your Body
You’ve got a lot to look forward to this week, mum-to-be! Your baby’s brain is growing fast, and they now have 6 million brain cells. You may be able to see your baby moving around in the womb as well.
Your body is also growing—your uterus has grown by about 3 inches since last week, and it will continue to expand as your baby grows. Your breasts may also be getting bigger and heavier.
Suppose you haven’t been particularly hungry lately. In that case, that’s normal for this stage of pregnancy—and it’s because your hormones work overtime to ensure your body gets everything it needs from your diet without making you ravenously hungry all the time!
But if you’re starting to feel more hungry than usual (or less), don’t worry—that’s normal too! As long as you’re eating well and getting plenty of rest, your body will take care of itself during this time!
- Stretch marks are appearing. As your skin gets pulled, it becomes thinner and itchier! But don’t worry, stretch marks can be managed.
- Pregnancy acne also appears thanks to the increased oil production on the skin.
- You see bluish veins which could be the beginning of varicose veins. As your pregnancy progresses, the increasing pressure on the veins in your legs and higher progesterone levels cause the walls of your veins to relax, giving rise to this condition.
- Time to give your high-heeled shoes a rest. Because as your baby bump grows, your centre of gravity changes, and you feel a little unsteady on your feet, making you clumsier than usual.
- It’s not an actual symptom, but you can already share the feeling of the baby’s movement with the rest of your family because his kicks and flutters are getting stronger now.
Maternal Weight Gain
During pregnancy week 21, you’ve reached the halfway point of your pregnancy. That’s right, you’re halfway there!
At this point in your pregnancy, you should have gained around 11 pounds. This is only an estimate and varies from person to person. Don’t worry if you haven’t hit this number yet—your body will do what it needs to do to support the baby growing inside of you, which means that sometimes your weight gain comes on more slowly than others.
It’s important to remember that when you’re pregnant, your body will change in ways that are different from those of other women who aren’t pregnant. If you have any questions about what’s normal for you and your baby during pregnancy week 21 or beyond, talk to your doctor about them.
It’s the time of the month to make sure you’re taking care of yourself and your baby. You’ve been doing everything right so far, and now it’s time to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients in your diet.
Here are some tips for making sure you stay healthy and keep your baby safe during pregnancy week 21:
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, whole grains, lean meats and fish.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
- Drink plenty of water (about 6 cups each day).
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as possible during pregnancy week 21.
Image Source: iStock
Pregnancy Care: Your Checklist For Week 21 of Pregnancy
- Think about joining an antenatal class to know more about pregnancy and connect with other mums-to-be.
- Learn how to distinguish Braxton-Hicks contractions from real labour, as you may already feel them starting this week.
- Frequently wash your face using a mild cleanser to keep your skin oil-free. Do this pregnancy tip religiously to keep your pregnancy glow.
- To help prevent or minimise varicose veins, exercise daily and prop up your feet whenever possible.
- Encourage your partner to talk to your baby. It will allow him to bond with your unborn child better.
- Listen to soothing music to help you relax.
- Avoid spicy and greasy food to manage heartburn better.
- If you are going back to work after your maternity break, this is the time to start looking at infant care options.
- Make sure your blood pressure is in check at every prenatal appointment, to rule out the risk of preeclampsia.
- You’re already in the second half of your pregnancy, track how fast you are gaining weight and try to maintain a slow but steady growth.
Your next week: 22 weeks pregnant
Your previous week: 20 weeks pregnant
Updates from Pheona Ilagan
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