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The 21st week of pregnancy: what happens to the baby and mom

The second half of pregnancy begins its countdown with the 21st obstetric week. As of the end of this week, according to the medical establishment, the fetus will be viable, if he has to leave the cozy womb. By this time, all of the baby’s organs have already been formed, although their functions are not without glitches.

The mom’s belly begins to grow rapidly, because the fetus is actively gaining weight. Its movements are already quite noticeable, so the psychological bond of the mother with the baby strengthens.

The size and development of the fetus in the 21st week of pregnancy

In the twenty-first week the child has already reached an impressive size. It looks like a little doll. Its length is about 28 cm, and weight is about 400 grams. All organs have been formed, and the skin is less transparent and thin.

In the 21st week of twin pregnancy the babies weigh a bit less – about 370 grams, but their length is comparable to “single” babies.

Pregnancy week 21 size

How does the fetus change in this term?

  • there is accumulation of adipose tissue;
  • thermoregulation is improving;
  • eyebrows and eyelashes are forming;
  • rudiments of milk teeth are appearing;
  • endocrine glands perform their functions;
  • spleen begins its work;
  • the nervous system is being improved;
  • brain is rapidly developing;
  • intestines are developing, facilitated by amniotic fluid swallowed by the fetus;
  • nervous system is getting stronger;
  • taste receptors are developing, the child can distinguish sweet from bitter;
  • immune system is improving, white blood cells appear in the blood, which helps to fight infections.

Behavior. The 21st week is a new period in the development of the baby’s motor system. The fetus does not make just any random movements – he learns to control them. The child alternates phases of activity (about 10-15 per night) and sleep.

[attention type=yellow]The number of movements has significantly increased up to 200 times per night. But the mother feels less than half of them. In the 21st week, the child is able to hiccup in the womb. It feels like frequent rhythmic contractions.[/attention]

What’s going on with a mom in the 21st week of pregnancy

Appearance, the size of the abdomen and weight gain

Photos of belly on 21 weeks pregnancy

Beginning with the 21st week, the woman’s weight will increase rapidly. This is caused by the quickly growing fetus and an increased appetite. A woman might have peculiar taste preferences. Normal weight gain is considered to be about 3.5-4.5 kg from the beginning of pregnancy. Above you can see photos of the mothers’ tummies in the 21st weeks of pregnancy.

The uterus continues to grow and rise. Now, its top edge is 1.25 cm above the navel. It does not make sense to hide the appearance of the abdomen – it’s just impossible. It’s very rounded and becoming noticeable.

Hair and nails grow in leaps and bounds, there is increased sweating, stretch marks appear, the breasts have greatly increased.

Sensations, movements, pain in mother

Baby move at 21 weeks' gestationIn the 21st week, a woman is experiencing not only the discomfort of pregnancy, but also a lot of positive emotions from the movements of her baby. A tumbling baby in the stomach does not cause pain, but is felt quite clearly.

The breasts begin to secrete colostrum. This is a substance, which will feed a newborn the first 2-3 days before the arrival of milk.

Each woman can have different unpleasant moments:

  • Now the child begins to gain weight every week. Because of this, the appetite of the mother is greatly increasing. Because of the greatly increased weight – the back starts to hurt. Running nose is common in the 21st week.
  • A bigger stomach causes sleep problems. You can not sleep on the stomach or back, and it becomes uncomfortable on the side. This problem is aggravated by frequent urination. When a woman lays down – there is heartburn.
  • Also, constipation continue during this period. That’s why it’s necessary to stick to a diet and not eat foods that harden the stool.
  • Often, the increased uterus compresses the blood vessels, causing edema of the legs or varicose veins. Shortness of breath may appear, because the lungs are now also a bit cramped.
  • This period may present some tugging of the belly. This can be caused by different things. There is tension of the ligaments of the uterus, and the expansion of the pelvis, and constipation, and the far less harmless – threat of termination of pregnancy.
  • Dizziness and weakness may happen due to lower blood pressure. Also, there are frequent problems with gums. They start to hurt and bleed.

At this point, training contractions can take place, called Braxton Hicks contractions. Not very painful, they do no harm to the mother or the child.

[attention type=red]If there is sharp cramping, radiating to the lower back, sometimes accompanied by vomiting and bloody discharge, this is a direct threat of miscarriage. You must see your doctor immediately. Even if you can not keep the pregnancy, doctors will be able to save a child’s life with appropriate care.[/attention]

Possible discharge

Discharge in the 21st week should not differ from those which were earlier (milky, uniform in consistency, with no pronounced odor).

But there may be other secretions requiring a doctor’s advice:

  • thin, watery discharge may indicate a premature leak of amniotic fluid;
  • thick discharge of white or greenish color, accompanied by itching, may be evidence of vaginal candidiasis;
  • the cause of the sharply odorous secretions can be sexually transmitted infections;
  • discharge with blood is typical of placenta previa or its detachment. This is a critical condition requiring the immediate intervention of specialists. If bleeding is slight, doctors may prolong the pregnancy with special medications. If this is not possible, then the best   way out of the situation is labor. A child born in the 21st week can be saved.

The psychological condition

The psychological condition of mothers at 21 weeks' gestationIn the 21st week the psychological condition of the mother is more or less stable. In general, the woman is in harmony. The hormonal boom is in the past, the body has adapted, and she likes her body.

At this time, women are trying to establish emotional closeness with their child. They begin to read books to him and talk to him, trying to feel his reaction.

This condition is marred a little by constant fatigue due to lack of sleep, heartburn, back pain and other unpleasant companions this week.

Analyses, examinations and ultrasound in the 21st week of pregnancy

Photo fetal ultrasound at 21 weeks of pregnancy

In the 21st week, the woman will visit several doctors in addition to her obstetrician. She will have to see an otolaryngologist, dentist, physician, and eye doctor. Each of them will submit their opinions on a special sheet issued at the antenatal clinic.

Before seeing an obstetrician, she will need to take the standard urine and blood tests, a blood test for hormones, as well as an electrocardiogram.

At the gynecologist visit, a doctor will take the following measurements:

  • blood pressure measurement;
  • listening to the heartbeat of the fetus;
  • weighing;
  • measuring the height of the uterine fundus.

The second ultrasound screening is usually done in the 20-24th week. So, if you have not had a screening in the previous weeks, then now is the right time to do this. During the appointment, the doctor must verify the absence of uterine tone, and congenital malformations of the baby, since termination of pregnancy for medical reasons is only possible up to 24th week.

The results of the ultrasound are as follows:

  • measurement of brain structures;
  • check the structure of the liver;
  • lengths of tubular bones of the child;
  • check for stomach and bladder presence;
  • check the structure of the hands and feet;
  • the condition of the kidneys and intestines.

We invite you to watch a video of a fetal ultrasound in the 21st week of pregnancy, as well as to review the above photo of the baby.

Possible abnormalities

Any deviations from the norm should be a reason for additional screenings. The detection of fetal development disorders on an ultrasound calls for review by additional specialists of narrow profile. They will help to diagnose the disorders of child development compatible and incompatible with life.

As a result doctors appointments listed above a conclusion can be made about whether the woman the can have a vaginal birth or a cesarean section is needed. A planned Caesarean section is scheduled in case vaginal delivery harms the health of the woman.

Nutrition, skin care and exercises in the 21st week of pregnancy

Mothers nutrition on 21 weeks' gestationThe woman’s nutrition in the 21st week, as well as throughout the pregnancy, should be the most beneficial and balanced.

It is necessary to avoid excessive consumption of salt and sugar. Salt contributes to fluid retention, which is why there are edemas, and sugar is the cause of excessive weight gain.

The woman needs to lean toward fruits and vegetables, which contain a variety of vitamins and minerals needed during pregnancy.

[attention type=yellow]To avoid heartburn, it’s better to eat more often, but in small portions. And for the prevention of constipation do not eat food which hardens the stool. Be sure that meat and fish are present in the diet. Herbal tea is also helpful for pregnant women.[/attention]

In the 21st week stretch marks often appear. If they already exist, nothing can be done about this. Special creams for stretch marks rarely help. Taking care of the skin and moisturizing it should have begun much earlier.

As for exercise, at this time it’s necessary to perform Kegel exercises that strengthen the muscles of the pelvis and vagina.

At this time, you can swim in a pool and practice prenatal yoga. It is also necessary to perform breathing exercises and do more walking in the fresh air.

Sexual activity in the 21st week

 Sexual relations in the 21 week of pregnancyIf there is no threat of termination of pregnancy, sex in the 21st week is not contraindicated. A grown stomach will greatly complicate the process. But considering other, more comfortable positions, will solve this problem. You must select only positions in which there is absolutely no pressure on the abdomen.

Sex not only has a positive effect on the mood of the mother and father, but also on the mood of the child, thanks to the mom’s happiness hormones. And her increased libido and absence of necessity for protection, paint the sexual relationship in brand new colors.

What is necessary for maternity leave; medical chart

The woman takes maternity leave when the pregnancy crosses its 30-week threshold. But you need to know how to prepare for the leave, in advance.

 What kind of documents are needed to access the maternityYou will need:

  • sick leave authorization record;
  • certificate of registration at the early stages;
  • an application for leave.

Since preparation for maternity leave takes some time, do this ahead of time.

How to prepare for maternity leave:

  • Get a certificate from the gynecologist confirming the term of gestation.
  • Get a certificate of registration in early stages of pregnancy. It will be needed in order to process the maternal leave allowance.
  • Make sure you have all the necessary stamps.
  • Provide the women’s clinic with documents required for sick leave registration: a reference from a gynecologist, passport, insurance policy, pension certificate.
  • Provide the employer with a sick leave record with a written leave statement.

A medicinal card contains all the necessary information on pregnancy: data about the mother, the period of gestation, the results of analyses, the expected due date and other important data. It is necessary to ensure that any doctor that does the delivery, could deal with any situation, even with preterm labor.

Starting with the 21st week you’d better always carry the medical card with you. The medical card must be signed by your gynecologist and the head of the women’s clinic

Recommendations for future moms

For an easier process of pregnancy a mother should follow some recommendations:

  • to avoid varicose veins it is better to wear stable low-heeled shoes, and often recline with elevated legs;
  • follow a diet;
  • listen to your baby’s movements – their number should be about 4 per hour;
  • wear comfortable clothes and cotton underwear;
  • exercise;
  • get a back massage;
  • do Kegel exercises;
  • abstain from heartburn-causing fried foods; eat often, but in small portions;
  • always carry a medical card;
  • make arrangements for maternity leave.

Video about the 21st week of pregnancy

We invite you to watch a video, which will tell you about when the medical card is issued and what data should be recorded in it. You’ll also learn about your rights during maternity leave, how to arrange for it, what benefits will be paid and for how long. And also about how the law protects the newly-minted mother from divorce.

[attention type=yellow]How is your 21st week going? What kinds of sensations are you getting you’re your baby’s kicks? Hopefully, no deviations from the norm are disturbing you, and the ultrasound went well. By the way, did you take your husband to the ultrasound screening? What was his reaction? Share your experience with us![/attention]

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