Your Guide to Being 21 Weeks Pregnant:
Your 21 weeks pregnant… how do you feel?
Your baby now has fully developed eyelids and eyebrows, and her fingernails have grown to the ends of her fingers. Her skin still looks pink and wrinkly, but is no longer translucent, because fat is being laid down underneath.
Your baby now opens and closes her mouth regularly, drinking the amniotic fluid. The waste products are passed back through the umbilical cord and into your bloodstream for your kidneys to dispose of.
Her heartbeat is getting stronger every day, now beating at around 120 to 140 beats per minute. Her lungs are still developing and are too immature for her to survive outside the womb, but she’s practising breathing movements already. When she inhales, her lungs fill with amniotic fluid, which helps her to develop the air sacs she’ll need to breathe after birth.
What’s happening to you
Your uterus will now have passed the top of your belly button, and with your bump blossoming, you’ll probably notice various aches and twinges around your hips, pelvis, abdomen and lower back. You may also develop that famous pregnancy waddle, thanks to your changing posture.
As your bump grows, try to sleep on your side. Lying on your back means your uterus presses on major blood vessels, which may make you feel faint and nauseous. It’s best to sleep on your left side, especially as your pregnancy progresses, as this will encourage your baby into the best position for birth.
With any luck, you’ll be blooming by now – the extra blood and fluid in your body may make your skin look rosier and healthier. You may have shampoo-ad tresses, too, as hair grows faster and falls out less during pregnancy.
With your baby growing fast, it’s likely that you’ll be piling on the pounds, too. It’s normal to go through phases where you seem to grow rapidly, but keep a check on your weight gain by keeping active and limiting the amount of sugar and processed foods you eat.
When to check it out
If you’ve suddenly ballooned, and gained more than a couple of pounds in a week, mention it at your next antenatal appointment. Sudden weight gain may be a sign of gestational diabetes, which will need controlling with dietary changes or medication.
‘To do’ this week
Bond with your baby. She can feel and respond to your touch and hear sounds from outside the womb, so put your favourite music on and spend some time rubbing your bump. Studies have shown that newborns appear to recognise and be soothed by music they heard regularly before birth.
Wow! Did you know…
Your baby now has a favourite sleeping position. Scans have shown that some unborn babies like to tuck their chin into their chest, clasp their hands under their chin or tilt their head back when they have a snooze.