Pregnancy Week 21

What to expect at 21 weeks pregnant

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    Baby development at 21 weeks pregnant

    You’re 21 weeks pregnant, and your baby is taking up more and more room inside your body. During week 21 of pregnancy, you are probably going through a lot of emotions, receiving plenty of advice from family and friends and experiencing some new physical changes and discomfort.

    Your 21-week-old baby now measures 9 inches long (228.6 millimeters). Your baby is now the size of a banana.

    This week, your little one’s limbs are in proportion to the rest of their body, making it easier for them to move about inside your uterus. As their bones continue to harden, the neurons in their brain connect to the muscles, allowing them to become stronger and more coordinated in utero. Your little one is moving and shaking in there!

    In week 20 of pregnancy, your baby’s taste buds have just become fully formed. This week, your baby will be able to taste what you are tasting! In fact, research shows that what a woman eats during pregnancy can shape a child’s food preferences later in life! Want a healthy eater? It’s time to fill up on fruits and veggies.

    Week 21 pregnant belly

    During your pregnancy, you’ll gain 25 to 30 pounds. This might sound like a lot, but each pound plays a special role in protecting your growing baby. Here’s a breakdown of where the extra weight will go:

    • Placenta: 1.5 pounds
    • Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds
    • Increased blood volume: 4 pounds
    • Increased fluids: 3 pounds
    • Uterus growth: 2 pounds
    • Breast tissue: 1 to 3 pounds
    • Fat stores: 6 to 7 pounds

    Common pregnancy symptoms at 21 weeks

    At 21 weeks pregnant, you are in your sixth month of pregnancy. You may have some heartburn and indigestion. Many women begin feeling hot flashes around this time, and the extra weight from the baby can make you a little achy.

    Your baby bump may be garnering some new attention. Don’t be surprised if you start to receive a lot of unsolicited advice about pregnancy and parenting. Friends, family, and even strangers may begin sharing their thoughts. Remember, they just want to help.

    • Fetal movement: You have likely started to feel your baby moving by now. This is known as quickening. Quickening is often described as feeling like little butterflies. As the weeks continue to go by, your baby’s movements will continue to feel more and more pronounced.
    • Heartburn and indigestion: Your muscles are relaxing to prepare for birth. As a result, the muscle at the top of your stomach may relax enough to allow some digestive acid into your esophagus, which can lead to heartburn. Limiting your intake of acidic food can help.
    • Backaches: Bain pain is a commonly experienced pregnancy symptom that can be attributed to your baby’s ever-increasing size. Make sure to frequently check your posture and have proper support when you’re sitting or lying down.
    • Swollen or bleeding gums: Your gums are more sensitive during pregnancy, and some women become prone to gingivitis. Take care of your oral health by brushing and flossing twice daily.
    • Braxton Hicks: False labor, also known as Braxton Hicks contractions, will feel sporadic and relatively mild. They actually start around week six but often aren’t felt until the second trimester.

    pregnant woman standing in kitchen

    Pregnancy checklist at 21 weeks pregnant

    There’s quite a bit to think about and plan for in the weeks to come.

    Reminders for
    Week 21
    • Test for diabetes. This week, you’ll want to schedule your glucose test. This is a test to see if you’ve developed gestational diabetes.
    • Hire a doula or midwife. A common question that comes up is whether you want to use a midwife and/or doula. Do some research to learn about the difference and decide whether you want to have one, both or neither on hand during your labor and delivery to help guide and support you.
    • Book a maternity shoot. Now is the time to start researching photographers who specialize in maternity shoots. It’s best to have these photos taken between 30 and 36 weeks. Not your thing? That’s okay, too. This relatively new trend isn’t for every mom-to-be.
    • Finalize shower plans. If you’re having a shower, you should finalize your guestlist for the host and make sure your registry is filled with all the necessities.

    Explore pregnancy by week
    Week 20 | Week 22

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