You’re over halfway at 21 weeks pregnant. If this is your first pregnancy, you’ve experienced many memorable firsts. From the initial positive pregnancy reading to the first fetal heartbeat and ultrasound images, you’ve experienced a lot. What are your thoughts on the week 20 article?
More special moments and occasions lie ahead. The suspense over whether you’re having a boy or girl might end this week. You may also begin to connect with your baby over slight fetal kicks and nudges.
Stay with us as we take you through the challenges and triumphs, mysteries and extraordinary times of pregnancy.
We provide informative weekly updates on your developing offspring and ever-changing body.
Here’s what to expect this week.
At a Glance: Week Twenty One of Pregnancy
- Now the size of a carrot, your baby measures approximately 26 centimetres from head to heel.
- With their nutritional demands increasing weekly, your little one’s nearly surpassed half a kilogram.
- Many new symptoms, like stretchmarks, skin changes, a potential bump, boob tenderness and more, could appear and gain momentum.
- Light exercise, nutritious eating, heart-to-hearts, and romance with a partner will help you feel your best.
Week Twenty One of Pregnancy Overview
Braxton Hicks are practice contractions you might experience this week. They’re mild and don’t last long, but they can be confusing if mistaken for real labour pains.
With pregnancy advancing, your baby’s movements are more coordinated, resulting in stronger and more frequent baby kicks, nudges and rolls.
Another important milestone relates to your baby’s eyes. They’ve been shut for weeks but show signs of movement.
Your baby’s been swallowing amniotic fluids a while, and should drink more as the weeks pass.
Baby Size and Latest Developments for Week Twenty One of Pregnancy
At 26 centimetres, your carrot-sized cutie is another centimetre up (in next to no time, they’ll be taller than you). They’re also nearly 400 grams this week and steadily gaining more weight.
If you could, here’s what you’d see in the womb.
- Inside the womb, your baby swallows more of their amniotic fluids, which helps hydrate, provide some nutrients, aid digestion, and practise breathing for the real world.
- At the same time, the placenta remains your baby’s number one source of oxygen and nutrients while expelling waste from the womb.
- At week 21, your baby’s movements improve as the brain’s neurons connect to and communicate with limbs and muscles.
- Quickening should happen or will have happened already with your baby’s movements more controlled. At the same time, with your baby’s bones hardening and strengthening, you’re likely to feel distinct movements from the womb.
- If you’ve experienced the first tiny nudges, touch interactions with your baby will increase. Lightly press on your uterus, and your little one may reciprocate with a kick.
- Your baby’s remain shut but won’t be for long.
Because every pregnancy is unique, the above description generalises fetal development. Variations in the timing of milestones can occur.
Body Changes for Week Twenty One of Pregnancy
By week 21, be prepared for an influx of incoming symptoms and body changes.
Braxton Hicks contractions, which prepare your uterus for childbirth, might start. These contractions can feel real and cause you distress, but there’s no reason to worry. To avoid stress and needless hospital visits, learn to distinguish between these and true labour pains.
Here’s a symptoms overview for week 21.
It’s important to note that all pregnancies are unique. The timing and experiences of pregnancy symptoms may vary.
1. Digestive Issues
Hormones and an expanding uterus may give rise to bloating, flatulence and constipation. You can manage symptoms by making helpful lifestyle changes, like improving your diet, hydrating, and increasing your activity.
2. Hair Growth (In Unlikely Places)
3. Tender, Leaky Breasts
Yes, breast pain is back as your body prepares for breastfeeding. At the same time, milk ducts that finish forming this trimester might cause some leakage. Don’t cry over spilt milk; spillage and lactation are standard, messy parts of having a baby.
4. Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can occur in pregnancy. Exerting pressure on the bladder and reducing urine flow, an expanding uterus can cause a UTI. A GP must treat UTI to prevent fetal health complications.
5. Braxton Hicks
Confusing Braxton Hicks’ contractions with real contractions is expected because they feel similar.
Standard for the second and third trimesters, they can be scary and stressful if you don’t realise what’s happening. But consider Braxton Hick’s contractions as practice for true labour. Often random, they can be triggered by orgasms, having sex, exercise, a full bladder, and baby movement.
Spotting, small amounts of vaginal bleeding, can occur during the second trimester. The leading cause of spotting is cervical irritation following sex or a cervical examination. Usually, it’s no cause for worry, but follow up with your doctor if you’re concerned or experiencing increased blood flow.
Expect to feel hungry during the second trimester because much of your food is channeled toward your growing child.
You will consume more as a pregnant person, although less than expected.
Be mindful of what you put into your body. Aim for the weight gain recommended to you by your doctor. Your BMI, pre-pregnancy weight and other factors will determine this amount.
8. Movement in Your Belly
Experiencing quickening is amazing! You’ll feel a lot more of your baby from week 21 onwards.
9. Oily Skin and Other Changes
Your body’s extra blood volume affects your skin in various ways, in particular, causing overactive oil glands. If your skin feels greasy and prone to breakouts, blame pregnancy.
Oily skin may not be the only facial imperfection you’ll experience. Many women struggle with melasma, a skin hyperpigmentation that affects parts of the face. Linea nigra, the dark line that runs down your abdomen, is another hyperpigmentation that appears on the stomach.
Week Twenty One of Pregnancy Tips and Tricks
You may have the energy and the ability to get things done twenty-one weeks pregnant. However, you’re more vulnerable and need extra care and support.
This week, we’ll be focussing on balancing getting baby-ready with slowing down and accepting help.
1. Dolce Far Niente
Dolce far niente or “the sweetness of doing nothing” in Italian, is a mantra to live by during pregnancy. We know this clashes with our advice on being proactive and keeping moving, but it’s important to rest and forget about life stressors.
This shouldn’t be a regular habit, although there’s nothing wrong with doing nothing sometimes.
2. Chat With Other Mums and Your Partner
Pregnancy is one hell of an emotional rollercoaster. Moreover, feeling overwhelmed about becoming a new mum and expanding your family is part of the experience.
Express your feelings and concerns with other mothers on a similar journey.
Additionally, have heart-to-hearts with your partner or future co-parent if there is one, as they might have similar thoughts and feelings.
3. Between the Sheets
As the third trimester approaches and you become more uncomfortable, intimacy might be impossible. Enjoy sex if it’s still possible and you feel like it.
4. Avoid Tight Clothing
While there’s nothing wrong with wearing figure-hugging maternity clothes, watch out for too-tight garments, like jeans, that may exert pressure on your belly and make you uncomfortable.
Maternity clothes have truly diversified nowadays, so you can wear outfits that support your style and your changing body.
At this point of your pregnancy, you might opt for loose clothing like dresses and flowy pants, but everyone is different.
5. Nutritious Food and Light Exercise
Being hungry and experiencing food cravings are common in mid to late pregnancy.
Eating more is natural and encouraged, considering the growth of another human inside you.
However, the old pregnancy adage that you’re “eating for two” is misleading and bad advice. Aim to be twice as healthy instead. Eat well, enjoy nutritious snacks, drink water and avoid food harmful to your unborn fetus.
Prioritise exercise when pregnant, but consider substituting overly demanding and strenuous exercise for lighter physical activity.
6. Hair Removal
You might want to remove hair growing in strange, new areas, like the chest, face, nipples and forearms. But what are the best methods of doing so?
Plucking, shaving and waxing are safe, but avoid bleaching and laser hair removal. While studies proving that laser is unsafe for pregnancy are inconclusive, it’s best to postpone these treatments until you’ve had your baby.
If you don’t want to tweeze, wax or shave hair, let your hair grow out or ask your partner for help instead!
Do I Need An Ultrasound for Week Twenty One of Pregnancy?
Typically, second-trimester ultrasounds occur between 18 to 22 weeks, making week 21 a prime time for one.
Called the anatomy scan because the ultrasound looks at your baby’s entire body; it’s an engaging and eye-opening procedure. You’ll see parts of your baby, like the brain hemispheres and heart chambers, in immense detail.
The purpose of this ultrasound is multi-fold: to determine your baby’s health, check for abnormalities, and if desired, find out the sex of your baby. Walk away with images to stick to your fridge, share with loved ones, or put in a frame.
FAQ Section: Week Twenty One of Pregnancy
All your questions about week 21 answered.
1. How Big Is My Baby?
Your baby’s roughly 26 centimetres, which is about the average size of a carrot.
2. How Much Does My Baby Weigh?
Nearly 400 grams, they weigh almost one-half of a kilogram.
3. Will I Feel My Baby Yet?
By now, quickening has likely occured; if it has, you’ll feel your baby moving around a lot more. Only the mum can feel the movements for now, but once these kicks and nudges get stronger, other people, including the co-parent, will be able to as well.
4. Will I Learn the Sex of My Unborn Baby This Week?
If you have your mid-pregnancy scan this week, you might find out the sex of your baby. But if your baby’s in an awkward position, concealing themselves or moving around a lot, it might not be possible for the sonographer to obtain a clear view.
5. What Is My Baby Doing in the Womb This Week?
Drinking plenty of amniotic fluid, being active and kicking more, and sleeping.
6. What Are Some Major Developments in the Womb This Week?
This week, you might feel Braxton Hicks’ contractions, which are false contractions that help your body prepare for delivery when it’s time.
7. What Are Some Common Pregnancy Symptoms and Body Changes at Week 21?
You might experience many symptoms, ranging from hunger and digestive issues, like constipation and flatulence, a bulging belly, stretchmarks, itchiness, and aches and pains.
8. What Are Some Good Week 21 Pregnancy Tips and Tricks?
Put your feet up and do nothing, chat with mums about what to expect, engage in light physical activity, and eat well!
Fun Facts for Pregnancy Week Twenty-One
- Are you struggling to find or agree on baby names? Hilariously, a Tinder app for baby names exists, where both parents can swipe left or right on different names. Try it here.
- Want your partner to be more involved in your pregnancy? ProDaddy is a top app that prepares dads-to-be for pregnancy and parenthood, providing tips and information mixed with dad humour.
Week Twenty One of Pregnancy Checklist
- Know the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and real contractions.
- Extra hungry this week? Enjoy healthy, flavoursome food and snacks.
- Spend time doing nothing but resting and watching bad TV.
- Discuss what to expect with other mums (just avoid listening to horror stories about birth and motherhood)
- Modify your gym workouts.
- Feeling hairy? Waxing, shaving and plucking are safe hair-removal methods.
- Week 22 is coming out soon – don’t leave the couch!