21 Weeks Pregnant | Pregnancy Week By Week
21 WEEKS PREGNANT
At 21 weeks pregnant, you’ve surpassed the half-way point of your pregnancy and everything is downhill from here! You survived the morning sickness and the fatigue from the first trimester. You’ve started to feel your baby kick and move around in your belly. You’ve had your anatomy scan, and you know if your baby is a boy or a girl now (unless you’ve chosen to be surprised. If that’s the case, you deserve kudos for having the patience and willpower to hold off on finding out the sex of your baby!) Now you can start counting down the weeks until you get to meet your little one!
Right now, in the 21st week of pregnancy, your baby is the size of a bell pepper! He or she weighs about 12.7 ounces and measures about 10.5 inches from head to toe. As the baby gets bigger, his or her kicks will get stronger and, sorry to say, sometimes even painful. But the joy of knowing your baby is in there thriving is enough to outweigh the discomforts of pregnancy, wouldn’t you say?
PREGNANCY SYMPTOMS WEEK 21
The pregnancy symptoms you’ll experience at 21 weeks aren’t much to write home about. They’re more uncomfortable or annoying in nature than anything. In fact, they probably won’t differ all that much from the symptoms you’ve been experiencing the last couple of weeks.
- Stretch marks. If you haven’t noticed any yet, give it time (unless you’re one of the lucky ones that makes it through pregnancy unscathed, in which case, no one likes you). As your skin expands more and more due to your enlarging uterus and growing baby, it becomes thinner and essentially tears causing stretch marks to magically appear. Genetics play a big role in whether or not you will get stretch marks. If your mama had them, chances are high that you’ll get them, too! There’s nothing you can do to prevent them, but thankfully, they’ll fade over time after you have the baby.
- Dry, itchy skin. Another side effect of your stretching skin. Keeping your skin moisturized can help with the dryness and itchiness. However, if you develop a rash, you need to see your OB because this could be a sign of a pregnancy condition called PUPPP.
- Heartburn/Indigestion. If you’ve had bouts of heartburn or indigestion lately, it’s a normal side effect of pregnancy. Your digestive system is much more sensitive these days. Try to avoid spicy, greasy, or acidic foods as these are usually triggers for heartburn and indigestion.
- Boob leakage. Did you wake up with wet spots on your shirt? You’re beginning to lactate. By the end of the second trimester, your milk ducts will be completely developed in preparation for nursing your baby when he or she arrives.
- Braxton Hicks contractions. It’s not unusual to experience Braxton Hicks contractions this early on in your pregnancy. Your uterus will contract, causing your belly to feel hard and tight at times. These are considered “practice contractions” and happen randomly. Changing positions can often make them stop. If they don’t stop, or if they are quite painful, contact your OB.
21 WEEK BABY BUMP
By 21 weeks pregnant, your baby bump is popping out. It may even look like you’re carrying a basketball under your shirt – or maybe even a beach ball depending on how quickly your belly has grown! Every woman’s belly grows at a different rate, so don’t compare your baby bump to any else at your same stage of pregnancy. Just because your pregnant belly may be bigger or smaller than someone else’s doesn’t mean your baby isn’t just as healthy as theirs.
You may have gained somewhere around 10 to 15 pounds by 21 weeks pregnant. By the end of your pregnancy you will have gained around 30 pounds. The majority of that weight is made up from not only your growing baby, but also the amniotic fluid, your enlarged breasts, the placenta, your uterus, a little bit of fat, and increased blood volume.
After delivery, you’ll drop quite a bit of that weight, but some of that fat gain will take a bit of time to shed. Just remember, it takes 9 months to gain all that weight, so don’t expect it to fall away all at once.
21 WEEKS PREGNANT ULTRASOUND
Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a little window on your belly you could look through to see how your baby is changing from week to week? Since obviously that’s not possible, you have to go by what you can feel and what you read about how your baby is changing.
At 21 weeks pregnant, your baby’s arms and legs are in proportion of each other now. Cartilage throughout the baby’s body is turning to bone, which might explain why those kicks are getting so much stronger each day. You’ll also feel your baby doing somersaults and waving those arms around.
The baby swallows amniotic fluid every day and can taste it, too. The taste of the amniotic fluid varies each day depending on what you’ve eaten. Not only does the amniotic fluid provide your baby with nutrition and helps keep him or her hydrated, but the baby uses it to practice swallowing and to strengthen his or her digestive system, too.
WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING AT 21 WEEKS PREGNANT?
The main thing you should worry about doing at 21 weeks pregnant is relaxing and resting. Some women find that they have a hard time just sitting with their feet up because they feel like they should be doing something. If that’s how you feel, then find something productive you can do while you’re sitting and resting, such as going through baby names and making a list of your favorites or researching pediatricians or baby gear like car seats and strollers.
Here are a couple of other things you should be doing at 21 weeks pregnant:
- Do low-impact exercises. You want to keep the blood flowing and keep yourself as healthy and in shape as possible during your pregnancy, so try doing some low-impact exercises like yoga, walking, or even swimming. These activities may even help you to relax a little too.
- Stay hydrated. The last thing you want to do is become dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to a host of complications with your pregnancy, so be sure you’re drinking plenty of water each day. Try to stay away from sugary or caffeinated beverages and just stick to drinking water. Have a hard time sucking down plain water? Flavor it with fruits like lemons or berries. If it tastes good, you’ll want to drink more of it!
- Sam C's Editorial Team