This week, your baby’s growing, your skin is changing and those movements in your womb are intensifying. Here’s what your baby and your body is doing at 21 weeks.
How big is my baby at 21 weeks pregnant?
Leaving the fruit analogies behind in favour of vegetable ones, your baby is now the size of a large carrot. She’s growing fast, now measuring 10 and a half inches long and weighing between 11 and 12 and a half ounces.
What’s my baby doing at 21 weeks?
You might have felt more activity in your womb than usual, and that’s because the initial fluttering movements you might have experienced will now start to feel like proper kicks, nudges, twists and turns. This is because the baby’s arms and legs will now be in proportion, the neutrons between the brain and muscles are connected, and the cartilage in your baby’s body will be turning to bone, all of which gives your baby more control over the movement of her limbs.
But it’s not all activity in there: despite the movement in your belly, your baby is sleeping as much as a newborn.
Your baby’s taste buds will also be developing. She’ll be swallowing a little amniotic fluid every day for nutrition and hydration, and also to practise swallowing and digesting once she’s born - and whatever you’ve eaten will influence the taste of the amniotic fluid. Some research even suggests that the food you eat now could influence your baby’s tastes once she’s born!
In other fun news, your baby's eyelids and eyebrows are now present, and if she’s a girl, her vagina has begun to form!
What is my body doing at 21 weeks?
Pregnancy certainly isn’t all glamour, so you may have noticed stretch marks appearing on your body, whether on your stomach, bottom, legs, thighs, hips or breasts.
The reason this is happening now is because your body is expanding and the supporting tissue under your skin gets torn as your skin stretches. Not everyone gets them, but if your mum had stretch marks, chances are that you will too.
Common symptoms to look out for:
- Swollen feet: This week, you may also find that your feet are swelling, but don't worry - your body has about 50% more blood and fluid than it did before you fell pregnant, so there is a reason for this.
- Itchy skin: As the skin on your stomach stretches, it becomes thinner and dries out, which can lead to an itchy, dry feeling. Use a bump oil to moisturise, soothe and keep skin soft and supple.
- Oily skin: While some people experience dry skin, others find they now have to deal with acne thanks to increased oil production. Try a gentle soap or cleanser, and stick to oil-free make-up and products to avoid exacerbating the acne.
- Varicose veins: With each week of pregnancy, there’s more and more pressure on the veins in your legs - and increasing progesterone levels, which relax the walls of the veins, only make it worse. To try to minimise these veins, try to exercise regularly, wear maternity support hose and to prop up your legs whenever you get a chance.
- Bloating and gas: Remember when we said pregnancy wasn’t all glamorous? The increased pressure your uterus is putting on your rectum means you might be a bit gassier than usual. Drink lots of water and eat foods rich in fibre to avoid constipation, which can worsen the problem.
What to do this week:
- Maternity leave: Start thinking about what maternity leave you want to take and when you want to start it. Statutory maternity leave lasts 52 weeks and you’re eligible for statutory maternity pay (SMP) for up to 39 weeks. You’ll need to inform your employer when you want to stop work and the day you want your SMP to start. You must give at least 28 days notice, and your employer must confirm within 28 days how much SMP you’ll get and when it will start and stop. Here's all you need to know about getting that all important MAT B1 form.
Your week 21 FAQ's answered:
How big is my baby at 21 weeks?
Right now, your baby is around ten and a half inches long (or the size of a carrot) and weighs around 11 and 12 and a half ounces.
How many months is 21 weeks pregnant?
Counting your pregnancy in weeks and months can get confusing, around now, you are four months and about three weeks pregnant.
How big should my belly be at 21 weeks pregnant?
This varies from expectant mother, but as a guide, by now you will probably have gained around 13 to 14 pounds (or around 21 pounds if you're expecting twins). You'll gain around 30 pounds in total during your pregnancy.
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