At 21 weeks pregnant, you are 133 days away from your due date. Your baby measures around 10.5 inches long and weighs slightly more than 12 ounces in weight. On average, your baby will be around the same size as a My Little Pony toy and is quickly developing and growing.
Your Baby’s Development at 21 Weeks
Every day, you can feel your baby growing inside of you and wriggling around, but just what size does your baby measure now that he or she has reached the 21-week stage?
The Size of Your Baby
Your baby will now measure around 10.5 inches, which is a significant leap from the 6.5-inch measurement of the previous week. However, this measurement has shown a significant leap because at 21 weeks of development, the way that your baby is measured changes from crown to rump to the crown to heel. This means that previously your baby would have been measured from their butt to their head but from 21 weeks of development, they will be measured from their head to their toes. The main reason for this is because your baby is now beginning to stretch out their legs and so an ultrasound scan will be able to pick up an accurate crown to heel measurement. You may be able to feel your baby’s prominent kicks at this stage.
New Developments For Your Baby
At 21-weeks of development, your baby will develop their eyelids as well as experiencing thicker hair on top of their head and at the roots of their eyebrows as early signs of pigment are evidenced. Your baby will develop their reproductive organs, with females developing their ovaries and around one million eggs whilst males develop their testes. The baby inside of you is continuously growing and developing in new and amazing ways! Additionally, your baby’s skin now begins to respond to touch; if you gently press on your belly, your baby would respond and move away. Furthermore, your baby will begin to hear more at this stage and may be able to hear your voice and the voices of other people around you. Talk and sing to your pregnant belly as it may help you feel connected and bonded to your baby early on as well as helping your baby to recognize your voice and other sounds. Encourage your family and friends to do the same so that your baby begins to hear a range of voices and so that your family and friends feel involved in your pregnancy.
Your Baby’s Movements
You should begin to feel a significant increase in movements inside of your belly as your baby stretches out their legs and begins to grow into space he or she has available. Your baby will move around much more and the fluttering feeling which you felt during the 18-week to 20-week development period will now begin to feel more like real kicks and tiny jabs. This will be an amazing feeling for you, especially if this is your first pregnancy. Unfortunately, your baby will not adhere to your standard waking and seeping pattern, however, and you may find that your baby is wriggling around like crazy whilst you are desperately trying to get to sleep! Although, this is fantastic preparation for looking after your newborn who will also possess their very own schedules once they arrive!
Every pregnancy is different and whilst some women may experience certain symptoms, other women may possess a completely different viewpoint and list of symptoms. At 21-weeks pregnant, you may be experiencing gorgeous hair and tough nails, caused by additional estrogen which ensures that your hair and nails grow much faster. Why not treat yourself to a manicure and pedicure right about now?! Furthermore, you may find that you are shedding much less hair than previously.
A further side effect of your pregnancy at this stage is that you may develop itchy skin as the skin across your belly expands and may feel dry. To remedy this, opt for a cool oatmeal bath or find a soothing lotion that suits your needs. It is recommended to aim to eat one to two portions of oily fish per week to maintain a safe and healthy intake of Omega 3 in your diet. Other sources may be accessed, including dark green vegetables, soya, wholegrain cereal, seeds, and nuts.
Additionally, an intense side effect that you may experience at 21 weeks of pregnancy is a combination of heartburn and indigestion due to the pressure which your pregnancy is placing on your stomach and your intestines. To combat this side effect of pregnancy, avoid both greasy food and spicy food and try to ensure that you do not lie down until at least one hour after eating. Eating smaller meals is also recommended so it may be better if you eat smaller meals more often during the day. Furthermore, stirring a spoonful of honey into warm milk, or eating yogurt, can help to ease the discomfort of heartburn.
At around the 21-week stage of pregnancy, your breasts may begin to leak a liquid called colostrum, which is a yellowish, thick liquid that is packed full of nutrients. If you decide to breastfeed your baby once he or she arrives they will drink colostrum as their important first food. It is common to experience headaches during any stage of pregnancy due to the hormones circling your body, or because of dehydration so it is important to drink lots of water. However, at 21-weeks pregnant and beyond, suffering from severe headaches which last for a few hours and which do not go away after taking paracetamol could be a sign that you are suffering from high blood pressure and possibly pre-eclampsia. Therefore, it is important to seek professional healthcare help immediately.
A further side effect of your pregnancy at 21 weeks is a tightening of your stomach that is known as Braxton Hicks contraction. Braxton Hicks contractions are completely normal and maybe relieved through changing the position which you are lying in or sitting in, or through drinking some water. However, if the tightening does not go away or if it begins to feel more intense, contact your healthcare provider.
You should still be gaining around one pound per week at the 21-week pregnancy stage and you may finally feel as though you have a huge pregnant belly! Your belly will continue to grow rapidly from this stage and it may be possible for you to feel the roof of your uterus which is located just above your belly button. The fundal height of your pregnant belly may now begin to be measured, which measures the distance from the top of your uterus down to your pubic bone, helping your healthcare provider to monitor the growth of your baby as well as the level of amniotic fluid.