At 21 weeks you’re more than halfway through your pregnancy. You’ve noticed that your body’s changing more and more, but what’s going on inside that beautiful baby bump?
Your baby’s development
This week your baby is the size of a… banana.
At the halfway stage of your pregnancy your baby’s brain is now developed to the point where she can control her movements. You will notice that she is wriggling around and kicking more – this is her way of making it known that the way you are sitting, standing or trying to sleep is uncomfortable to her.
Physically, your baby looks much like she will when she’s born – only a lot smaller. Her facial features are formed, she has hair on her head and she’s also started to test her digestive system and intestines by feeding on amniotic fluid.
Now, your baby can also hear you talk, and some parents like to read to their bump to help soothe their baby when they are showing discomfort – this can also help your little one recognise you and your partner’s voice when she is born.
From now on your baby will be growing at a faster rate than ever – for you, this will mean you are noticeably bigger than you have been in the past weeks. This rapid weight gain, as well as the loosening of your joints due to an increase in the relaxin hormone, continues to alter your balance. You may find yourself resembling the Mr Men character Mr Bump as you suddenly become clumsier than usual.
It’s probably time to ditch the high heels, especially as you will also notice that the longer you’re on your feet the more your ankles swell. Try not to stand for long periods of time and make the most of being able to get a seat on the bus!
Your health and fitness during pregnancy
It can be hard to get to grips with the rapidity of your weight gain, but don’t be tempted to count calories. As long as you’re eating a healthy and balanced diet all the weight you’re putting on is vital for your baby to grow and to be born healthy.
If you are feeling low, make sure you get out and about and keep up the exercise – the endorphins that are released during activities such as swimming, walking, cycling and yoga will act as an instant pick-me-up.
Your week 21 pregnancy checklist
· Invest in a children’s book that you love and read it to your bump to soothe a restless bub.
· Stay centred and balanced by continuing those yoga classes.
· Swap heels for flat shoes, and treat sore feet to a lovely pedi or foot massage.
· Pamper feet even more (and boost your general wellbeing) with a prenatal reflexology treatment.
· Keep energy up with a balanced diet and regular exercise.