At 21 weeks pregnant, your baby is rapidly growing and changing every day. You may be experiencing physical symptoms such as increased appetite and fatigue, as well as emotional shifts as you prepare for motherhood. It’s important to take care of yourself and attend regular prenatal check-ups to ensure a healthy pregnancy. During this week, your baby’s bones are hardening and their senses are developing, including their sense of touch. As you enter the second half of your pregnancy, it’s a good time to start planning for the arrival of your little one and preparing for their homecoming.
Your Baby is the Size of a Fanny Pack
Head to Toe
Highlights of the Week
- Your baby’s movements will become stronger and more noticeable in the coming weeks, and others may be able to feel them by gently placing a hand on your belly. This will be an exciting milestone for you and your partner to experience.
- As you approach your due date, it may be helpful to consider the services of a doula. A doula is a trained birth professional who offers emotional and physical support during labor and delivery. Start your search for the right doula early to ensure you have a supportive presence in the delivery room.
- Swimming can provide numerous benefits during pregnancy, such as relieving stress and discomfort. As your body continues to change, the buoyancy of the water can help you feel weightless and relaxed. Incorporating swimming into your exercise routine is a low-impact and gentle way to stay active during pregnancy.
- Your baby’s liver and spleen have been hard at work producing blood cells, but now their bone marrow is developed enough to join in on the effort. This means your baby’s blood cell count is rapidly increasing, which is essential for their overall health and development.
- Although the placenta remains the primary source of nutrition for your growing baby, they have started to drink small amounts of amniotic fluid as well. This not only helps keep them hydrated, but also helps with their digestive and respiratory development.
Pregnancy Symptoms in Week 21
Swelling in the Feet and Ankles:
As your uterus expands and your body retains more fluid, you may notice swelling in your feet and ankles, particularly at the end of the day. Elevating your legs and avoiding standing or sitting for long periods can help.
Increased Frequency of Urination:
Your growing uterus puts pressure on your bladder, which may cause you to need to use the restroom more often. This is a normal symptom during pregnancy.
Heartburn and Indigestion:
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause heartburn and indigestion as the muscles between your stomach and esophagus relax. Eating smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding spicy and fatty foods can help.
Shortness of Breath:
As your uterus expands and puts pressure on your diaphragm, you may experience shortness of breath, especially during physical activities. Practicing deep breathing exercises can help alleviate this symptom.
Pregnancy hormones and the physical demands of carrying a growing baby can cause fatigue during pregnancy. It’s important to listen to your body and get enough rest.
Varicose veins, which are swollen and twisted veins, are common during pregnancy due to increased blood volume and decreased blood flow. Wearing compression stockings and elevating your legs can help.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause bleeding gums. Good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups can help prevent and treat this symptom.
As your belly grows, your center of gravity shifts, which can cause clumsiness. Be mindful of your movements and wear comfortable shoes with good support.
Braxton Hicks Contractions:
Braxton Hicks contractions, also known as false contractions, are common during pregnancy. These are practice contractions that help prepare your body for labor.
Weight gain is normal and necessary during pregnancy, as your body is supporting the growth of your baby. Talk to your doctor about what a healthy rate of weight gain looks like for you.
Hormonal changes and pressure on the stomach from the growing uterus can cause heartburn during pregnancy. Eating smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding spicy and fatty foods can help.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause bloating, particularly after eating. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help alleviate this symptom.
As your uterus expands and your posture changes, backaches are a common symptom during pregnancy. Practicing good posture and participating in pregnancy-safe exercises can help alleviate this symptom.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause your nails to grow faster and become stronger. Regular nail care and moisturizing can help maintain their health.
Remember, every pregnancy is different and not everyone will experience the same symptoms. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.
21 Week Pregnancy Checklist
Here’s a pregnancy checklist for the 21st week of pregnancy:
Attend prenatal care appointments:
Attending your prenatal care appointments is essential in ensuring a healthy pregnancy. Your healthcare provider will monitor your baby’s growth, check your blood pressure and weight, and answer any questions you have. It’s also a good time to bring up any concerns you have, and discuss any tests or screening you may need.
Consider taking childbirth and parenting classes:
Childbirth and parenting classes can provide valuable information and help prepare you for labor and delivery, as well as caring for your new baby. It’s a great opportunity to connect with other expectant parents and learn about the latest recommendations and techniques.
Get enough rest:
Getting enough rest during pregnancy is crucial for both you and your baby. Your body is working hard to grow and support a new life, and adequate rest helps maintain your energy levels and reduce stress. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and take naps during the day if needed.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet:
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is important for your baby’s growth and development. Focus on nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Your healthcare provider may also recommend taking prenatal vitamins to ensure you get enough of key nutrients.
Staying hydrated is important for maintaining your energy levels and preventing dehydration, which can cause headaches and fatigue. Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day, and avoid excessive amounts of caffeine or sugary drinks.
Exercise regularly (with your healthcare provider’s approval):
Exercise is an excellent way to stay active and healthy during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the types of exercise that are safe for you, and aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week.
Wear comfortable, supportive shoes:
Wearing comfortable and supportive shoes can help reduce discomfort and prevent foot and ankle swelling during pregnancy. Choose shoes that fit well and provide ample support, especially as your belly grows and your center of gravity changes.
Avoid activities that could be harmful to your baby:
It’s important to avoid activities that could be harmful to your baby, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and using illicit drugs. These substances can have serious health consequences for you and your baby, and increase the risk of complications during pregnancy.
Start gathering items for your baby’s arrival:
Start gathering items for your baby’s arrival, such as a car seat, crib, and diapers. It’s also a good idea to start stocking up on essentials like baby wipes, formula, and clothing. Consider making a registry or getting recommendations from friends and family.
Make a birth plan (if desired):
Making a birth plan can help you communicate your preferences and expectations for labor and delivery to your healthcare provider. You can include your preferred method of pain management, who you would like to be present during delivery, and any other important details.
Consider joining a pregnancy support group:
Joining a pregnancy support group can provide emotional support and connect you with other expectant parents who are going through similar experiences. You can discuss your concerns, share advice, and make new friends.
Check Your Rings:
As your body changes during pregnancy, your fingers and feet may also swell, which can cause rings and shoes to feel tight. Make sure to regularly check if your rings still fit and remove them if they become too tight to wear comfortably.
Review Your Finances:
Your baby’s arrival will come with many new expenses, so it’s important to start preparing for them now. Review your finances, create a budget for baby expenses, and consider putting money into a savings account for the future.
Soothe Your Stress:
Pregnancy can be a stressful time, with many changes happening in your life. Find ways to soothe your stress, such as practicing yoga, meditating, or simply taking a relaxing walk.
Create a Baby Registry:
This can be a fun and exciting task! Start by researching baby products and creating a list of items you need for your baby’s arrival. Many stores offer registries, making it easy for friends and family to purchase gifts for your new bundle of joy.
Remember to listen to your body and contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
Your 21 Week Pregnant Belly
During the 21st week of pregnancy, your uterus is now about the size of a soccer ball and is located just above your pelvic bone. As your baby grows and your uterus expands, your belly will continue to grow and change shape.
Some women may notice a “baby bump” at this stage, while others may not yet show. It’s important to remember that every pregnancy is different and it’s completely normal for your belly to look different than someone else’s at the same stage of pregnancy.
As your belly grows, you may notice some stretch marks or a darkening of the skin around your nipples. This is also normal and will fade after pregnancy.
If you have any concerns about your belly or any other aspect of your pregnancy, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.
Baby Development at 21 Weeks
Here’s some information about baby development at the 21st week of pregnancy:
At 21 weeks pregnant, your baby is about 10.5 inches long from head to heel and weighs approximately 14 ounces. This is a big milestone as they have now reached the halfway point in their development. Their bones are continuing to harden, and they are becoming more active, with stronger kicks and movements.
During this week, your baby’s skin is becoming less translucent and is starting to thicken and smooth out. This is due to the growth of fat deposits under the skin, which will help regulate their body temperature after birth. Their hair, nails, and eyelashes are also growing, and they may start to suck their thumb.
In terms of their senses, your baby’s eyes are becoming more sensitive to light and their earlobes are becoming more defined. They can now hear sounds from outside the womb, including your voice, music, and other environmental sounds.
Special considerations at this stage of pregnancy include taking care to avoid harmful substances, such as alcohol, drugs, and certain foods. It’s also important to be mindful of your posture, as your growing baby can put pressure on your back and spine. Regular prenatal check-ups with your healthcare provider are essential to ensure both you and your baby are healthy and progressing well.
How Many Months is 21 Weeks Pregnant?
21 weeks of pregnancy is equivalent to about 4 months and 3 weeks.
It’s important to note that the number of weeks in a month can vary slightly depending on the specific number of days in that month.