21 weeks pregnant: what can I expect?
At 21 weeks you will be feeling quite comfortable. You are still able to go about your daily tasks comfortably because your tummy is not that big yet.
Sleeping can be difficult for you during pregnancy. You might wake up in the middle of the night and find it difficult to go back to sleep. Many believe that Mother Nature has designed sleep problems during pregnancy, to prepare you for the lack of sleep you are likely to experience for the first few weeks after your baby is born. To get a good night’s sleep try light exercise in the evening, use a maternity pillow, avoid night time bathroom outings and don’t eat a heavy meal at dinner.
Physical changes in you at week 21
- Skin changes are normal during pregnancy. Due to high hormonal levels the skin on your face, breasts and tummy can appear blotchy. These usually disappear after you deliver. If they bother you can cover them with concealer and use sun screen when you go out. Eat foods rich in folic acid to deal with blotchy skin.
- Your belly button can change with pregnancy. You will find your belly button change from an “innie” to an “outie”. The change in the shape of your belly button is because your growing belly pushes out the abdominal walls resulting in the belly button popping out. As with other pregnancy symptoms, your belly button will return to normal after delivery.
- Your breasts will continue to grow larger and the surrounding area around your nipple will continue getting darker. This is nature’s way of preparing you for breastfeeding purposes. Use a sports bra to provide comfortable support for your growing breasts.
- Weight gain will vary from women to women during pregnancy. On an average you might gain 10 to 12 kilos during your pregnancy. You will continue gaining weight this week. A healthy diet will ensure you don’t gain more weight than necessary. Consult your doctor before you start an exercise regime.
- During pregnancy you will find your body giving you some strange and bizarre food and non food cravings. These cravings are your body’s sign demanding extra calories for nourishment. If it’s a craving like pickles or ice cream you can give in to these cravings and eat a little of the food that you crave. Craving for non food items like chalk, dirt or clay is a disorder called “pica” and it can cause complications during pregnancy. Avoid eating these food items and consult your doctor who will give you nutritional supplements to treat pica.
Emotional changes in you at week 21
- If you are working during your pregnancy, then the demands at home and work can get you a little stressed. Don’t overload yourself. Start planning for when you might want to take maternity leave from work. Avoid leaving things until the last minute because you will never know when exactly you will go into labor.
- If you are pregnant with your second child you might be a bit apprehensive. You might wonder if you are going to love this baby as much as you love your first born. But when your second child comes along you are going to love him or her intensely. Try not to worry about endless possibilities that might go wrong. This will only cause you more emotional distress.
How’s my baby doing?
- Your baby will now be the size of a large Cavendish banana with the bend in them. Your baby will now weigh around 310 grams but it still has a lot of growing up to do. The average weight of a newborn is usually around 3.5 kilograms. Each passing week increases the chance of your baby’s survival outside the womb.
- Your baby will continue swallowing this week. This is supposed to help your baby’s digestive function after its birth.
- Your baby can now hear your conversations. You can choose to read a story to your baby at 21 weeks. Don’t be surprised if that will be baby’s favorite bedtime story after it is born.
- Your baby will wriggle a lot now and if it’s uncomfortable it will move until it is comfortable.
- Your baby will produce meconium, a sticky greenish black substance that forms in your baby’s intestines and will be its first bowel movement.
- Continue drinking tap water as the fluoride in it will help your baby’s tooth enamel. Your baby’s permanent teeth will start to form this week.
Useful tips for you this week
- If your feet are killing you, give up high heels. Wear comfortable shoes with low arches that will support your leg and back.
- If you have pets at home like cats avoid cleaning their litter box. Feces of cats can give you a nasty parasitic disease called Toxoplasmosis. Wear gloves when you do outside work where you think your cat could have been. Wash your hands before you eat.
- It’s time to look at albums when you and your partner were babies. Ask your parents, how they managed when you were little. Their suggestions could help you raise your lovely baby.