Week by week pregnancy guide – Week 21 of your pregnancy

pregnant womanThere aren't too many physiological changes in your body to speak of, as compared to your previous week. This said, there should still be plenty of cues for people to know that you are expecting soon. There are many developments within your body as well as on the outside.

Changes that happen in your body:

Here is what happens to you as you enter the 21st week of your pregnancy

Also Read

More News

You gain weight: Pregnancy is the time of your life when weight gain seems like the most natural and unsurprising thing to happen. So now that you have gained quite a few kilos and you can expect to see a steady weight gain till the end of your pregnancy.

Your legs and ankles start to swell: Water retention leads to edema, which makes your ankles and feet swell. Sometimes you might notice such swelling affect the palms and fingers too. This isn't a matter of concern and this harmless condition usually resolves soon after delivery. To deal with the symptoms during your pregnancy make sure you keep your feet elevated while sitting and don't exert too much pressure by standing for extended periods.

You feel hungry: Now that you are well into your second trimester and your baby's growth and development is at its peak, you may experience increasingly frequent hunger pangs to meet the needs of your body and that of your growing baby as well. Make sure that you don't eat or load up on unhealthy calories now though, as excessive weight gain at this time can lead to other complications, both for the mother and the baby. Your baby isn't a full-grown adult, so you certainly don't need to double your caloric intake; an additional 300 calories would suffice.

You get stretch marks: This is the most common complaint that every woman has during pregnancy. This is something unavoidable however and is part of the natural progression of pregnancy. As the uterus grows it stretches the surrounding ligaments and muscles and hence the abdomen expands giving rise to those stretch marks. To treat them apply moisturizer on your belly and thighs regularly.

You experience lower abdominal pains: This is because as the uterus grows and puts pressure on the abdomen, you might experience some discomfort in the lower abdominal area.

Apart from this, you may also experience some of the 'not so pleasant' symptoms of pregnancy like constipation, nausea, frequent urination, dizziness and heartburn. Acne can surface at some point during pregnancy and remain suppressed at other times. The best way to deal with the problem is by sticking to a balanced diet and by keeping yourself hydrated. Most of the common pregnancy niggles can be taken care of with just these two simple measures.

Developments that affect your baby

While you experience all of the symptoms mentioned above, this is what is happening to your baby within you:

Your baby's sense of taste develops: This week onwards, chances are your baby will also be able to taste the food that you are eating. As your baby swallows some amount of amniotic fluid your baby can also taste the food with the developing taste buds. Apart from nutrition and nourishment the taste buds will now help your baby to work on one of the important senses this week onwards.

Your baby's swallowing reflex improves: As your baby keeps swallowing more of the amniotic fluid each day, which is natural inside the womb, the swallowing reflex also gets better. This is the one skill that will help your baby to have food and swallow breast milk post delivery.

Your baby's face develops more: If you could actually observe your baby during this week, you would be able to see full grown eyebrows and eyelashes. Fingernails and toenails also develop this week.

Your baby's bodily systems are maturing: With every passing week your baby's digestive as well as central nervous system keeps growing.

This week your baby weighs somewhere around 350 gm and is around 200 mm measuring from the crown-to-rump.

What you should be doing

  • You might develop gestational problems like anemia or diabetes sometime during this phase. Take good precautions to save yourself from them. as it can have adverse effects on your baby's growth and your health. Find out how to tackle gestation diabetes during pregnancy.
  • If you have your second trimester reports -- blood tests and sonographies, talk to your doctor about the progression of your pregnancy so that you can plan your labour well in advance. Find out why second trimester tests are so important and which ones really are.
  • Infections and seasonal flu can get hold of you as your immune system is on a low, try to keep yourself clean and maintain good hygiene.
  • Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet and avoid having junk or fatty foods.
  • Exercise regularly and sleep at least for eight hours a day to combat fatigue.

Image source: Getty images

If you wish to know what happened to your body while you reached week 18 of your pregnancy, you could read:

<Previous WeekNext Week>

For more articles on pregnancy, visit our pregnancy section. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates! For daily free health tips, sign up for our newsletter. And to join discussions on health topics of your choice, visit our forum.

Total Wellness is now just a click away.

Follow us on