Baby Growth at 21 Weeks Pregnant
Can you believe that more than 20 weeks have passed since you and your little one started this journey together? Your baby is about the size of a banana about 10.5 inches long and weighing about 14 ounces, just shy of a pound.
Baby is developing more senses this week as its skin is beginning to grow thicker. The skin is currently reddish and has semi-visible vessels. Baby can even sense the warmth in your womb at this stage.
As far as the other senses go, taste buds have begun developing this week as well. Given that most nutrients come from the placenta, the first thing your baby will drink is a small amount of amniotic fluid to help practice swallowing. That means the finer things in life (like cheeseburgers and milkshakes) will have to wait until their time in the outside world.
As the skin continues growing on the outside, fat and muscles also gradually develop underneath it. Itching with excitement, your baby will start to move their newly formed arms and legs. The baby’s first kicks in the womb may also be felt this week if you have yet to feel those first little bursts of joy. These movements are essential and beneficial for the further development of the muscle and skin tissues. Although the aerobics may become a bit uncomfortable in a later stage of pregnancy, their overall energy and movement is essential to development.
Inside your baby’s body, their liver and spleen have been working hard to produce blood cells with help from already developed bone marrow. Folate (Vitamin B9) is equally important at this stage, so also try to include more iron by eating leafy greens, grass-fed red meat, and taking those prenatal vitamins as they’re packed with blood-building nutrients!
You and Your Body at Pregnancy 21 Weeks
As your baby grows, so does your body and beautiful baby bump. However, the baby’s rapid development may begin to leave some marks; the first of many gifts your baby will bring into your life.
These may start to appear on your stomach, buttocks, thighs, hips, and breasts in the form of pink, red, or dark brown streaks as your body expands quickly to accommodate for growth. According to statistics, 50% – or at least 1 in 2 women – get stretch marks during their pregnancy. The extent of the stretch marks is mostly based on genetics.
Are you noticing record-breaking hair and nail growth as well? Something we can thank the pregnancy hormones for. Your body has increased circulation so as to bring more nutrients to yourself and your baby to sustain the further growth of their small body, with the added benefit of long thick hair and strong nails!
Typical Symptoms at 21 Weeks Pregnant
Although you still have about half of your pregnancy left to go before meeting your little one, your 21-week old baby is significantly larger than it was even 1 month ago which may start to make the body changes and challenges more noticeable.
Things may begin feeling a bit more crowded as growth continues. Your larger womb will also place more pressure on your stomach and digestive system, causing symptoms like gas and additional constipation. Meanwhile, your center of gravity will likely shift as your baby packs on the pounds which may place extra strain on your back. As a result, you may feel backaches a bit more often than in the earlier stages of pregnancy.
As the weeks pass, nutrient requirements to sustain the baby’s growth will increase. That means an increased appetite is likely on the horizon. You may start to notice that the standard three meals per day is not as sufficient as it once was and might find yourself snacking every few hours which is recommended and encouraged.
Pregnancy Week 21 Tips and Advice
Physical challenges such as backaches, bloating, and mental challenges all go hand in hand with the pregnancy journey which might stretch your nerves a bit.
The very first thing on this week’s to-do is to dedicate time to relaxing and easing your mind. Make sure you find time to decompress as often as you find it helpful. Whether it’s a stroll in the park, a quiet cup of tea, or sitting in the sunshine listening to your favorite tunes, you deserve it!
Besides a well-balanced and easy-to-digest diet, some complimentary but relatively healthy snacks full of protein, fiber, and healthy fat such as apples and almond butter or yogurt with berries and seeds, are some tasty options to keep you and your baby content and healthy.
If your feet are starting to ache, consider getting yourself a pair of more supportive shoes, which would be very useful for the upcoming months as your growing baby contributes to weight gain. When not moving or resting, try to elevate your feet to alleviate any swelling in your feet and ankles. Consider booking a prenatal massage or scheduling with a prenatal chiropractor if your pain worsens. It is recommended to get a prenatal massage only from certified professionals who are trained to evaluate your health conditions.
You’re doing great mama! Many women report feeling their very best at this stage of pregnancy. If you have the energy, use it to prepare for the baby and spend quality time with your partner or other children.