21 Weeks Pregnant

Common 21 weeks pregnant symptoms are kind of like a sneak preview of the third trimester. At this stage you should be feeling a little more comfortable as most of the unpleasant pregnancy related symptoms have subsided.  Here’s what you might be feeling at week 21 of pregnancy:

  1. Heartburn and/or indigestion Avoid spicy and greasy foods and other triggers. If the source of your discomfort is a mystery, keeping a food diary could help you figure it out.
  2. Braxton Hicks contractions Your uterus might occasionally feel tight as it practices for labor. This is totally normal as long as the contractions go away when you switch positions. Let your doctor know about any pain or contractions that don’t stop.
  3. Leaky boobs Your milk ducts will be fully developed by the end of this trimester—just in case of an early arrival.
  4. Dry, itchy skin Your skin is stretching over your growing bump, making it more irritated by the day. Lather up with a pregnancy-safe body oil or lotion to help your skin stay moisturized and hopefully less itchy. Also, if you develop a rash, let your doctor know right away, since that could be a sign of an annoying pregnancy condition called PUPPP.
  5. Stretch marks Your skin gets pulled thinner as baby grows, causing tiny tears beneath the surface of your skin. Stretch marks are more common for some women simply because of family history, or because of sudden weight gain. They are also more common in women who are 21 weeks pregnant with twins. There’s no way to truly get rid of stretch marks, but they should fade
    significantly after birth.

Development of Baby

At 21 weeks pregnant, baby is as big as a head of endive. At 10.5 inches (27cm) and about 12.7 ounces (360 grams), baby’s big enough now that you’ve probably been feeling his or her fetal movements more and more lately. Fetal movement is noticeable and baby has reflexes too! If you gently press your palm on your belly, you might feel a little push back. Remember that from this 21th week your baby length is measured from head to toe. Upto 20 weeks it was measured  from crown to rump.

Now that your baby has grown substantially, this is the week during which you may feel a few kicks instead of the fluttering you’ve felt earlier.

Your baby’s eyebrows and lids are present now.

Baby’s digestive system preps for the outside world, he or she’s manufacturing meconium, the tarry black substance you’ll find in the first dirty diaper.

Bet you hadn’t even thought about future grandchildren yet, but the reproductive system is developing too. If it’s a girl, she’s already got a lifetime supply of eggs in her womb—about six million of them! Having a boy? His testes are still located in his abdomen but will drop in the coming weeks once the scrotum finishes developing.

Advice

You may experience acne at this stage due to increased oil production in your body. Make sure to wash your face twice a day and if you consider taking any medication for your skin, first check with
your healthcare practitioner whether it is safe to do so as topical and systematic medication may be hazardous to the health of your baby.

Varicose veins (swollen and enlarged veins that are usually blue or dark purple) may develop now as the pressure on the veins in your legs increases.
Higher progesterone levels may also cause the walls of your veins to relax, making the problem worse.

You’ll get a glimpse of that cute little 21-week fetus if you have your mid-pregnancy ultrasound this week. This 21 weeks ultrasound will amaze you. Not only will you get to see baby on the screen, you’ll also get to see some awesome details like the brain hemispheres and chambers of the heart. Let your technician know whether or not you want to know baby’s gender.

Finding out whether it’s a boy or a girl is a pretty exciting moment. But you can also save that moment for later if you want. Some parents-to-be wait until baby’s born to know the sex. Or you could ask the technician to write down baby’s gender and put it in an envelope so you can take it home. Then, you could plan a gender reveal party, where you can find out the surprise while surrounded by your family and friends.

Ask for lots of printouts of the pictures, because if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy, this may be the last medical ultrasound you’ll get during pregnancy. Now go show off those photos of your cutie and keep brainstorming those names.

By the time you reach 21 weeks pregnant, you may have gained around 13 to 14 pounds, and around 21 pounds if you’re 21 weeks pregnant with twins. Remind yourself, you’re supposed to be gaining this weight …. it’s good for you and for baby. In fact, all the weight you gain during pregnancy isn’t just padding for baby, it all serves a really important purpose.

Here’s a logical way to think of it: Of the approximately 30 pounds you’ll gain throughout your pregnancy, there’s a whole lot more than fat. Here’s what makes up that weight:

  1. An average full-term baby = 7.5 pounds
  2. Placenta = 1.5 pounds
  3. Uterus = 2 pounds
  4. Amniotic fluid = 2 pounds
  5. Maternal stores of fat, protein, and other nutrients (needed for breastfeeding!) = 7 pounds
  6. Breast tissue (also for BFing, of course) = 2 pounds
  7. Increased fluid volume = 4 pounds
  8. Increased blood volume = 4 pounds

All those pounds are doing a lot of good, keeping baby alive and healthy—and storing up good stuff to nourish him or her after birth.

Next Week –  Week 22

Second Trimester (Week 14 – Week 27)