Pregnancy is wonderful. But it’s also delicate and tough, especially as women undergo massive changes to their bodies as their unborn babies grow. There’s also the constant worry of doing something wrong and possibly harming the baby. Still, many women see motherhood as a fulfilling job, regardless of how hard pregnancy can be.
The body and the baby’s development continue week by week. Here’s everything soon-to-be-moms need to know by week 21.
By week 21 of pregnancy, women are already in their second trimester of pregnancy. In another 19 weeks or so, they will get to meet their little angels.
But for now, the baby is still small–around the size of a banana or a carrot. Fetuses at this stage are only around 27 centimeters (10.5 inches) long and weigh about 0.31 to 0.35 kilograms (11 to 12.5 ounces).
In previous weeks, the usual measurement of a baby’s size is from the crown to the rump, yet this time it’s from the crown to heel. This explains why they might have suddenly “grew” so much.
By week 21, their arms and legs are now in proportion, plus their movements are also more coordinated than before. They still have plenty of space inside the womb–for now. But, while they have space, they can move around quite easily, something that moms will definitely feel.
Neurons are now connected from the brain to the muscles, giving them more control of their movements.
Their organs, especially the liver and spleen, are working double-time to produce more blood cells. Since their bone marrow spaces are mature by this time, it also helps in producing essential cells to help them grow and be strong.
They also have their fingerprints by this time, making them more unique.
A baby’s heartbeat is also stronger by this point, making it easier to hear them with a simple stethoscope. However, it can be quite hard to distinguish your own heartbeat from them, but not impossible.
Simply listen for the faster beat, as baby’s hearts beat faster, around 120 to 160 beats per minute.
Baby’s Nourishment Inside the Womb
While the baby is inside the womb, they take nourishment from the placenta, which takes nourishment from what the mom is eating or drinking. But, by this time, the baby should be drinking amniotic fluid in small amounts.
So, whatever you’re eating, chances are your baby can taste it, too. That’s not only because they have begun drinking amniotic fluid, but it’s because they have developed their taste buds as well.
Body & Life Changes
As the fetus is growing, a woman’s body also changes, and these are more pronounced than ever.
For one, your womb is bigger, and you’ll start looking pregnant. It will also feel heavier as you and your baby grow.
Hunger is also more constant by the second trimester as you try to nourish both yourself and the baby growing inside of you. But that doesn’t mean you can eat anything and everything you see. Be careful and choose a well-balanced meal.
Make sure you also avoid anything that is not allowed.
Moreover, many pregnant women in their second trimester would experience milk leaking from their breasts. Don’t be alarmed as this is normal.
Stretch Marks and Veins
Another frequent body change that many women experience is more vivid stretch marks. They’ll be prominent on your breasts, hips, stomach, butt, and thighs and are usually discolored. Not everyone gets them, but if you get them, they’ll become more visible by week 22 to 24.
Sudden weight gain can be attributed to these stretch marks, so it’s best to slow down weight gain.
As the skin stretches, it might get itchy. If you wish to relieve it, use any organic and mild products such as moisturizers with cocoa butter.
Unfortunately, there seems to be no way to prevent these stretch marks. But after birth, several treatments are said to help minimize their visibility.
Pregnant women are also more susceptible to getting varicose veins due to the increase of pressure on the veins on your legs as your pregnancy progresses. Increased levels of progesterone could also make it worse by causing the walls of the veins to relax.
Besides varicose veins, pregnant women at five months tend to spider veins or those tiny, spindly vessels under the skin.
Your Doctor Visits
Throughout the course of your pregnancy, you’ll want to go to your ob-gynecologist to ensure that you and your baby are healthy and safe. It’s best to have their number on speed dial so you can call them whenever you feel something wrong.
For one, extreme pain in the abdomen is not a good sign, especially if it comes with bleeding. Call your doctor for advice or rush to the hospital.
You should also check in with your doctor for recommendations on possible diets you can try, as well as medicines you can drink if you experience headaches or cramps. If you’re not sure, call and ask them.
Lastly, follow your checkup schedule. Your doctor will likely provide you with one to better monitor your health and your baby’s growth.
Health & Safety
Physical changes aren’t the only thing that can happen to you as the weeks progress. Various symptoms will also come and go.
Here are the most common pregnancy symptoms of women on their 21st week of pregnancy:
- Mild headaches due to dehydration or hormonal changes
- Aches and pains on the lower back
- Leg cramps (usually happens at night)
- Swollen feet and hands
- Heartburns caused by uterus pushing the stomach or pregnancy hormones
- Hot flashes
How to Alleviate Common Symptoms
Perhaps the most common symptom of all is back pain.
As the pregnancy progresses, your stomach will grow bigger and heavier, making it harder to move around. It will also cause constant back pain and soreness. This is the reason why it’s good to invest in good back savers.
Adding a pillow on your lower back whenever your sitting could relieve tension and pressure on your back and support the weight of your stomach. You’ll also want to elevate your feet slightly.
For hot flashes, always wear cool clothing and stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water could also relieve mild pregnancy headaches.
Taking a warm bath or shower before going to sleep should also help relieve backaches and any tension in your body. You can relax more, which will help you sleep better. Warm baths can also help avoid leg cramps altogether.
Every woman experiences pregnancy quite differently from others, so it’s alright if your symptoms are different from others or your body didn’t change as much. The most important thing is to keep you and your baby safe and always to follow the expert’s advice.
Hello Health Group does not offer any advice, diagnosis, or medical treatment.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.