Your Pregnancy at Week 21by Your Baby Club
Your baby can now taste what you eat!
your baby this week:
Only 4 months to go until you are holding your little one in your arms! Your baby is now roughly the size of a large banana, with ever decreasing room to spin, twist, and kick you out of at least a few hours of much-needed sleep!
For your little one, sleep is becoming a regular part of their routine with them now sleeping almost as much as a newborn. Their taste buds are now developing as all of those tasty meals you have been having in the outside world are now also tasted by your baby within their amniotic fluid. It's swallowed to help them practise swallowing and digesting food, key skills they will need for the outside world.
This amniotic fluid also provides nutrition and hydration for them in the womb. They'll get a taste for whatever you're eating, so it's time to start introducing them to a whole range of foods - veggies, fruits and tastes that can help them be less picky once they're at weaning age.
Their limbs are now finally in proportion to their body, and bones inside them are firming up, meaning their movements are now more controlled and less twitchy.
By week 21, your hormone levels have likely evened out, allowing you to experience more mood stability throughout the day.
Most women have gained about 13 to 15 pounds by week 21. Swollen, hurting, or cramping legs and feet are completely normal right now. As your body continues gaining weight to support your little one's growth, you may notice your ankles growing sore, experience leg cramps, or see varicose veins. These discomforts, thankfully, usually subside after pregnancy (though any varicose veins may linger longer or fade into less visible varicose veins).
If you're feeling nervous about the number showing up on your home scale, stop weighing yourself. Okay, all joking aside, as if as you are eating healthy, drinking lots of water, and exercising at a moderate pace (because your doctor totally approved this activity for you), the scale's number does. not. matter. What truly matters is you and your growing baby (or babies) are healthy. Your little one weighs more now. The placenta, your uterus, the amniotic fluid, and your awesome, voluptuous breasts weigh more now. So relax; and put your feet up, especially if you're near the end of your day, because your feet and ankles are likely swollen. Drinking water can decreases the amount of swelling you experience, which is another reason to stay hydrated throughout the day.
One last food for thought... rapid weight gain can cause stretch marks, so if you wind up binge eating every time the hungry monster tickles at a snack-filled thought, you may begin to notice new stretch marks striping your body in pink, red, or brown on your stomach, breasts, booty, thighs, and other areas your body tends to naturally carry extra weight. Don't worry, we swear these marks are worth it. And sometimes a lot of cocoa butter goes a long way.
Louise Broadbridge - Our Expert Midwife
Hi, my name is Louise, I am a Registered Midwife, founder of Let's Talk Birth and Baby and the face behind Instagram's The Honest Midwife. I have worked in health settings for the past 30 years, the majority of which have been working in children and family settings.
your tips & to do's:
Take a side profile pregnancy and write in your pregnancy journal. Speaking of pregnancy photos, if you're considering a maternity photo shoot, it's time to get it scheduled on your calendar!
To help prevent, minimize, or deal with varicose veins and swelling during pregnancy, put on compression socks or support hose first thing in the morning. You can also wear a belly belt throughout the day to help with edema or discomfort in the ankles or legs and elevate your legs on a pregnancy support pillow at night, or when sleeping. This will increase circulation in your legs, which often relieves and lessens varicose veins, cramping, and edema. You should also be sleeping on your side by week 21.
Don't steep in personal disappointment if you can't keep up with the schedule you used to! It's important to listen to your body and rest, or stretch, if you need to. Your body is going through some amazing changes, and it deserves some time to relax as needed!
Last week, we talked about working with your partner to choose a name. If you've found a name that passes the partner test, take our best advice: If you don't want to know what people really think, don't share your baby's name until you have a fully formed, birthed baby to show with it. People won't hesitate to tell you about the hideous girl from their college dorm named Blahblahblah, who had serious body odor and pretended to sleepwalk up and down their dorm's hallway in the middle of the night.
Have you settled on how you'll spell your baby's name?
How does it look when you write it out on paper? Will you or your child get embarrassed when their name is called out at a sporting event, or in a grocery store? Will your baby's initials spell out anything you might wish it wouldn't when only initials are used, as Farrah Anna Timber's and Nathan Udolph Thompson's might? Will the full spelling of the name incite future teachers and school administrators to grossly mispronounce your child’s name on first day of every school year and at every social gathering? If you child has a speech impediment, will their name cause anxiety or bullying? How will it look on a resume? Can you imagine meeting someone with this name? Do you like the person you imagine the name belonging to? These are the things you may want to consider!
Last, but not least, talk with your midwife or doctor about taking the glucose challenge test!
As the third trimester draws near, your symptoms could be a sign of things to come. Fortunately, hopefully you're still experiencing a bit of the golden phase of pregnancy, taking advantage of any energy, patience, sexual desire, and free time whenever you have it. Here is a list of symptoms you may experience this week.
- Fetal movement
- Bloating, gas, and/or constipation
- Swollen ankles and feet
- Leg cramps
- Thicker hair and stronger nails
- Heartburn and/or indigestion
- Stretch marks
- Dry, itchy skin
- Frequent nighttime wakings
- Crazy dreams
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