This week, your big banana baby continues to grow and develop at a fast rate. The hair on their scalp is a bit more visible, and their eyelashes and eyebrows are growing in.
As of this week, your little one swallows and digests a little amniotic fluid each day. This is nothing more than practice for post-birth swallowing and digestion. Your little one receives all their necessary fluids and nutrition from the placenta; and the swallowed amniotic fluid is as good as adding a small side of House Salad to your baby’s overall hydration and nourishment.
By week 21, many expectant moms notice whenever the little kicks to their abdominal wall start and stop. Before you spend one more mother-squirrelly minute transfixed in some pose with hands - your hands, your partner's hands, that random passerby's hands - pressed omnipresently to your baby bump... waiting... for... one... more... kick... or worrying about why your little one isn't kicking anymore, take a deep breath and feel free to remind everyone the good manners police say to keep their hands to themselves. Your little one now sleeps and wakes at regular intervals. If you're curious and not too distracted or overwhelmed by everything else currently existing in your life, take note of when your baby is full of zip. How much time passes before the little movements turn quiet again? Do you see a pattern?
If you are having multiples, the answer is yes: your babies are totally kicking each other when they move around inside you. But don't worry! Right now, in utero, they are protected by the elastic membrane that separates them.
At 21 weeks, your baby can get the hiccups! If you feel a small, pulsing jump, this steady beat could be your little one with a case of the hiccups! These movements usually occur for a few minutes at a time. As your baby grows larger, these movements become stronger. And because all babies are different, some babies hiccup multiple times a day, and some babies only hiccup when there's a full moon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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