Week 21 of Pregnancy
Your Baby in Week 21 of Pregnancy
How big is your baby? About the size of a large banana — and speaking of bananas, if you eat one this week, there’s a good chance your baby will get a taste, too. That’s because he swallows a bit of amniotic fluid each day (for nutrition, hydration, and to practice digesting), so he eats whatever’s on your menu — and gets to put those developing taste buds to good use. So go ahead and nosh on those nachos (or crunch those crudités): Your baby may develop a taste for them when he’s older.
Learn more about your baby in week 21 and a baby’s developing taste buds.
Your Body in Week 21 of Pregnancy
You may start to notice some stretch marks as your body expands and your belly and breasts just keep on growing. These pink, red, or purple streaks appear when the supporting tissue under your skin gets torn as skin stretches (and stretches and stretches) during pregnancy. Not every woman gets them, though you’re a likely candidate if your mom had stretch marks during her pregnancy or if you’ve gained weight rapidly. So go ahead and slather the cocoa butter — at least it’ll keep your skin from drying out, even if it won’t keep those marks at bay.
Learn more about your body in week 21 and stretch marks.
Week 21 Pregnancy Tip: Anxiety
No, that’s not the beach ball you lost last summer — there’s really a baby in there! Now that you’re starting to look pregnant (and not just like you were spending too much time with the Ben & Jerry’s) and those kicks can no longer be mistaken for gas, the reality of pregnancy is probably beginning to sink in. And with it, you may find, a few ambivalent feelings you’re even ambivalent about admitting. Don’t worry — and hang on. At some point in pregnancy (and usually once that pregnancy becomes a very visible reality) just about every expectant mother (and father!) begins to feel anxiety and fear as though she’s on a runaway train — with enormous changes coming round the bend. And not only is it completely normal to feel anxious — it’s especially healthy to acknowledge it. Talk your feelings over with your friends who’ve had babies — they’ll reassure you that they experienced the same kind of anxiety. (Me a mom? There must be some mistake!) Most important, discuss your fears with your partner, who’s probably just as in need of a good heart-to-heart.
Learn more about staying sane during pregnancy.
Week 21 Pregnancy Symptoms
Fetal movement: By now you may be able to feel your baby twisting, turning, and kicking in the womb (though many new expectant moms mistake the feeling for gas). Enjoy these first gentle love taps — soon enough your growing baby’s kicks will get more aggressive.
Hearty appetite: Are you always in the mood to eat? Carry healthy snacks with you (such as nuts, raisins, trail mix, or granola bars) so that you’ll have nutritious fuel to keep you and your baby-to-be nourished even when you’re on the go.
Flatulence: The increasing pressure your uterus is placing on your rectum can mean that you’re having a hard time containing yourself (your gas, that is). Drink plenty of water and eat fiber-rich foods to avoid becoming constipated, which can make gassiness worse.
Varicose veins: The extra blood volume and weight you’re carrying around can put pressure on your circulatory system and lead to the swollen blood vessels called varicose veins. Do your best to keep your weight gain to a healthy minimum to avoid putting undue stress on your circulatory system.
Backaches: Not only is your center of gravity shifting and putting extra strain on your back, but the hormone relaxin is also causing your ligaments and joints to stretch and loosen, which means additional achiness in your back. If you can, splurge for a prenatal massage from a trained professional.
Bleeding gums: If your inflamed, bleeding gums are turning your toothbrush pink, avoid eating sticky candies, especially when you can’t brush afterward. The sweet stuff increases bacteria in your mouth and further irritates your gums.
Skin, hair, and nail changes: Have you noticed that your hair and nails are growing at record speed? Pregnancy hormones are partly the cause — as is the increased circulation in your body, bringing extra nutrients to your hair and nails (and to your baby, of course).