With each passing week, you’re getting closer and closer to meeting your little one, and that’s something to look forward to.
In the future, you’ll be thinking about buying baby gear and decorating the nursery, but for now, you may still be focused on your body and your baby’s development.
In this post, we’ll cover some of the highlights of being 21 weeks pregnant and tips and tricks to help you make the most of this special time. So, sit back, relax, and let’s get started!
At 21 weeks pregnant, there are two main things you probably want to know about. These are:
- Your baby’s development
- Pregnancy symptoms at 21 weeks
So, first things first, let’s take a look at the above.
Later we’ll closely examine how to take care of yourself at 21 weeks and moving forward and answer several FAQs about this exciting stage of your pregnancy journey.
Your baby’s development at 21 weeks pregnant
At 21 weeks pregnant, your little one is continuing to grow and develop at a rapid pace. Here are ten points about your baby’s development at this stage:
- Size: Your baby is about the size of a carrot, measuring approximately 10.5 inches long and weighing around 12.7 ounces.
- Skin: The skin is becoming less translucent and starting to thicken, with the development of a protective layer called vernix caseosa.
- Hair: Hair is beginning to grow on your baby’s head, eyebrows, and even eyelashes.
- Taste buds: Your baby’s taste buds are forming, which means they can now taste the amniotic fluid they are surrounded by.
- Nervous system: Your baby’s nervous system is maturing rapidly, and they are developing the ability to sense touch, light, and sound.
- Swallowing: Your baby is swallowing amniotic fluid, which helps with the development of the digestive system and the practice of swallowing.
- Brain: The brain is growing rapidly and developing more complex neural connections, which will continue to shape your baby’s cognitive abilities.
- Movement: Your baby is becoming more active and coordinated, and you may feel stronger kicks and fetal movements.
- Gender: If you haven’t already found out the gender, an ultrasound at this stage may be able to reveal it.
- Red blood cells: Bone marrow has contributed to more red blood cell formation.
- Sleep: Your baby is developing regular sleep cycles, and you may notice increased activity followed by rest periods.
Overall, at 21 weeks pregnant, your baby is growing and changing quickly, laying the foundation for their development as they prepare for life outside the womb.
Pregnancy symptoms at 21 weeks
You may be experiencing a range of symptoms as your pregnancy progresses that can make this time challenging.
Here are some tips for managing pregnancy symptoms at this stage:
1. Back pain
As your baby grows with your pregnant belly, your center of gravity shifts, putting pressure on your back. Gentle exercises like prenatal yoga or swimming can help relieve back pain. Also, try to maintain good posture and avoid standing or sitting for extended periods.
Heartburn is a common symptom of pregnancy. Avoiding spicy, greasy, or acidic foods can help reduce heartburn symptoms. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can also help.
3. Leg cramps
Leg cramps can occur during pregnancy due to a lack of potassium or calcium. Ensure you get enough of these nutrients through your diet or supplements.
Stretching before bed and staying hydrated can also help prevent leg cramps. Stretching and massaging can also lessen the severity of pregnancy-related varicose veins.
Swelling is common in pregnancy, particularly in the feet and ankles. Elevating your feet, staying hydrated, and avoiding standing or sitting for extended periods can help reduce swelling.
Pregnancy can be exhausting, especially as your baby continues to grow. Take frequent breaks, prioritize rest, and delegate tasks when possible.
6. Mood swings
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to mood swings. Practice self-care, such as taking a warm bath or walking, to help manage your emotions.
7. Urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common during pregnancy and can occur at any stage. If you suspect a UTI at 21 weeks pregnant, checking with your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment is essential.
8. Braxton Hicks contractions
These are practice contractions that can occur in the second trimester.
Staying hydrated and changing positions can help alleviate discomfort.
Remember to consult your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing severe or persistent symptoms.
Other symptoms, such as bleeding gums or mild vaginal discharge, may come and go but can cause concern if occurring heavily.
With the right care and management, you can feel more comfortable and enjoy this exciting time in your pregnancy journey.
Self-Care at 21 Weeks pregnant
Self-care is essential during pregnancy to help you manage your physical and emotional well-being.
Here are some gentle self-care tips that you may find helpful at 21 weeks pregnant:
Meditating for a few minutes each day can help reduce stress and anxiety. There are many guided meditation apps available that you can use to get started.
2. Pregnancy massages
Prenatal massages can help relieve tension, reduce stress, and improve circulation. Make sure to choose a licensed massage therapist trained in prenatal massage techniques.
3. Creative pursuits
Engaging in creative pursuits such as painting, drawing, or knitting can be a great way to unwind and reduce stress.
4. Connect with loved ones
Spending time with loved ones and talking about your feelings can help reduce anxiety and stress. Schedule regular catch-ups with friends or family, or consider joining a prenatal support group.
5. Gentle exercise
Gentle exercises like walking or swimming can help improve your mood, increase energy levels, and reduce stress.
Remember to prioritize self-care throughout your pregnancy journey. Taking care of yourself will benefit you and your growing baby.
FAQs at 21 Weeks pregnant
Is 21 weeks 5 months or 6 months?
Determining how many months pregnant, you are can be confusing since a pregnancy lasts approximately 40 weeks or nine months.
At 21 weeks pregnant, you are in the second trimester and halfway through your pregnancy journey.
Considering that each month has four weeks, 21 weeks is around five months and one week pregnant.
However, the exact month you are in can depend on how you are calculating it. Some people may count the months based on the calendar month, while others may use the number of weeks to determine the month.
Therefore, at 21 weeks pregnant, you can say that you are either in your fifth month (counting from conception) or the sixth month (counting from the first day of your last menstrual period).
How much weight should I gain by 21 weeks?
Pregnancy weight gain varies from person to person, depending on several factors, including your pre-pregnancy weight, height, and overall health.
However, on average, most healthcare providers recommend a weight gain of 1-2 pounds per week during the second trimester.
By 21 weeks, you should have gained approximately 10-15 pounds if you started with a healthy weight before pregnancy. If you are underweight, you may need to gain a little more, while if you are overweight or obese, your healthcare provider may recommend gaining less.
It’s important to remember that weight gain should be gradual and consistent throughout your pregnancy to lessen stretch marks and promote overall health for the mother and baby.
Rapid weight gain or sudden weight loss can be a sign of a problem, and you should consult your healthcare provider if you experience either of these.
Also, remember that the target weight gain recommendations are general guidelines. Your healthcare provider will monitor your weight gain and adjust your target based on your needs and circumstances.
Why haven’t I felt my baby move at 21 weeks?
At 21 weeks pregnant, halfway through your second trimester, you may start feeling your baby’s movements for the first time.
However, it’s also not uncommon for others not to feel any movements yet.
There are several reasons why you may not have felt your baby move at 21 weeks:
- Position of the placenta: If the placenta is positioned at the front of the uterus (anterior placenta), it can cushion the baby’s movements, making them more difficult to feel.
- Subtle movements: Early movements may feel like gentle flutters or bubbles, which can be hard to notice if you’re not paying close attention.
- Variation in fetal activity: Fetal movement patterns can vary from person to person and even day to day. Some babies may be more active than others.
- Weight and body shape: If you have a thicker abdominal wall, it can make it harder to feel movements early on. Also, if you are overweight or obese, it can be more challenging to feel the baby’s movements.
If you’re concerned about not feeling your baby move, it’s always best to talk to your healthcare provider. They may recommend monitoring your baby’s movements more closely or doing an ultrasound to check on your baby’s well-being.
How much should I be eating at 21 weeks pregnant?
At 21 weeks pregnant, it is recommended that you consume an additional 300-500 calories per day above your pre-pregnancy calorie needs.
However, discussing your specific dietary needs with your healthcare provider to ensure you meet your nutritional requirements is important.
They can also provide specific recommendations for your weight and health status.
Why am I so hungry all the time, 21 weeks pregnant?
Feeling hungry more often during pregnancy, particularly at 21 weeks, is very common. This is because your body is working hard to nourish your growing baby and support the changes in your body.
Additionally, your baby is growing rapidly and requires a lot of nutrients and energy to develop properly.
There are also hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy that can affect your appetite. For example, an increase in the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, may contribute to increased hunger.
Additionally, the hormone leptin, which helps regulate appetite, may become less effective during pregnancy.
It is important to listen to your body and eat when you are hungry, but try to choose healthy, nutrient-dense foods to nourish yourself and your growing baby.
If you are concerned about your hunger levels or have questions about your diet during pregnancy, it is always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider.
Caring for yourself during pregnancy can be a wonderful experience, especially during the 21st week when your body changes significantly. It’s a time to pamper yourself and show yourself some love!
Remember to stay hydrated, eat a healthy diet of delicious food, get enough rest, and exercise regularly. You don’t need to go for a marathon run; even gentle walks or prenatal yoga can make a big difference!
Don’t forget about your mental health, too. Fluctuating pregnancy hormones are not just physically exhausting but emotionally taxing too. Take time to practice self-care and relaxation techniques like deep breathing or calming music. And it’s always a great idea to connect with your loved ones or seek support from a therapist if needed.
Overall, self-care during pregnancy is a beautiful way to bond with your body and your baby. Enjoy this special time, and remember to take care of yourself to have a healthy and joyful pregnancy journey and smoothly transition into your third trimester.