Welcome to Week 21 Of Your Pregnancy!
Lets start this week off by talking a little bit about what is happening with baby:
Your baby is measuring about 7 1/4 inches (18 centimeters) and weighing approximately 10 ounces or 3 grams, about the size of a banana.
By now you probably feel more than tiny flutters as he squirms about in your womb. Babies at this stage can make extraordinary range of gestures. He’s also enjoying some smooth moves—no more jerky twitches—due to arms and legs that are now more proportionate and neurons that are connected between the brain and muscles.
His cartilage is even transforming into bone. You may notice specific times during the day when the movements become more intense such as right after you eat.
This week, taste buds form on your baby’s tongue and his sense of touch improves due to the continuing development of his brain and nerve endings. In the amniotic fluid, your baby can even taste the spicy and strong flavored foods that you consume
Your baby’s digestive system is developed enough to absorb water and small amounts of sugars from the amniotic fluid as he or she swallows throughout the day. These sugars will pass through your baby’s digestive system. These sugars are only a small part of the nourishment that baby needs though. Most of what baby needs is still being delivered through the placenta.
Did you know that by full term your baby can swallow as much as 500 ml of amniotic fluid in a 24 hour period.
Red Blood Cells:
Your baby is beginning to produce red blood cells. The bone marrow works along with the liver and spleen which have been responsible for making blood cells up to this point.
Her eyes are also developing and now come complete with eyelids and miniature eyebrows.
If you are having a girl, her genitals have begun to form, and she already contains approximately six million eggs in her womb– enough to last her a lifetime.
So, lets talk about what is happening with you this week:
Although there are a few women who continue to experience extreme fatigue and nausea throughout the second trimester, the majority feel reenergized and less nauseated.
This elevated energy and mood usually comes from the increased levels of hormones. Soak up this added energy and enjoy the ease of mobility as you belly has not become too big just yet.
If you feel like you need some relaxation, you can lie down on the floor, flat on your back with a pillow under your head and another under your knees. Close your eyes and allow the tension to flow out of you by emptying your mind and allowing your limbs to go limp. You can also enjoy self massage. Find a nice quiet place to sit and tap your fingers over your scalp from front to back for a few minutes. It’s a good way to destress.
The extra oil production in your skin may be causing acne. I just want to mention not to use any oral acne medication at this time as it can be harmful to your baby. Washing your face with mild soap and cleanser and using oil free moisturizers should help.
Now let’s Talk About Sex:
Now that the discomfort of the first trimester is leaving, sex might be much more appealing these days. And, yes, it is perfectly acceptable and normal to enjoy sex during pregnancy. You will not hurt the baby.
Pregnant women tend to lean one of two ways: The increased hormones, increased blood flow to the pelvic area, and increased vaginal lubrication result in an increase in sexual desire, or the pain, weight gain, and fatigue can cause sexual desire to plummet. Either way, it is OK. Speak openly about your feelings with your partner. Keep in mind that there is more to a healthy relationship than simply sex. Many couples worry that sex during pregnancy will cause a miscarriage, but sex won’t cause a miscarriage.
Here are some reasons to abstain from sex during pregnancy.
• If you have been diagnosed with placenta previa, that means if the placenta is covering or partially covering the opening of the birth canal,
• If your cervix has begun to dilate
• If you are leaking amniotic fluid or your water has broken,
• You have severe abdominal cramping,
• You are in premature labor (or have been), and you have inexplainable vaginal bleeding
• Also, if you or your partner carries any sexually transmitted diseases, you may need to abstain from certain sexual behaviors. Discuss your options with your practitioner.
If you haven’t had the 20 week detailed anatomy ultrasound scan then now is the time to schedule one. Depending on the hospital policy you may be able to find out if your baby is a girl or a boy.
Varicose veins may start to appear at this time. You can help prevent them by taking regular breaks from standing and putting your feet up. Sit with your legs elevated whenever you can.
If you have to sit for long periods keep moving your legs to stimulate the circulation and flex your feet up and down. Wear support tights or ask for a prescription for elastic stockings that will help return the blood to your heart.
Your doctor will start to focus on tracking the growth of your baby and watching for any health problems of your own.
Your doctor can check the size of your uterus by measuring the distance between your pubic bone to the top of the uterus called the fundus. This week your fundal height will likely be 21 cm. equal to the number of weeks you are In addition to this, your weight and blood pressure will be taken.
Be sure to mention any forms of severe pain, vaginal bleeding or discharge, vomiting, chills fevers, headaches, or sudden swelling.
Well that’s it for week 21, I hope that helps. Can’t wait to tell you what is happening during week 22! Until then, enjoy this pregnancy journey of yours these are the moments are lives are made of.
I’m Monica Healy and thanks for watching.