21 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist
- Use a footrest to elevate your feet slightly whenever you sit
- Treat yourself to a warm bath to help relieve back pain
- Make sure your registry is done, especially if your baby shower is happening soon
Your Baby’s Development
The amniotic fluid that has cushioned and supported your baby now serves another purpose. The intestines have developed enough that small amounts of sugars can be absorbed from the amniotic fluid that your baby swallows and passed through the digestive system to the large bowel. Almost all of your baby’s nourishment, however, still comes from you through the placenta.
Until now, your baby’s liver and spleen have been responsible for making blood cells. But now the bone marrow spaces are developed enough to contribute to blood cell formation. Bone marrow will become the major site of that production in the third trimester and after birth. (The spleen will stop producing blood cells by week 30, and the liver will stop a few weeks before birth.)
Is exercise safe during pregnancy? Exercise can be a great way to stay in shape during pregnancy and can even keep some problems — such as varicose veins, excessive weight gain, and backache — to a minimum.
But pregnancy is not the time to start training for a triathlon — going slowly is the name of the game. Because ligaments become more relaxed during pregnancy, you’re at higher risk for injury, so low- or non-impact exercise such as yoga, swimming, and walking are your best bets. Talk to your health care provider before beginning any exercise program while you’re pregnant.
Pregnancy symptoms at 21 weeks
As you adjust to your changing size, a little clumsiness is to be expected. You’re carrying more weight, your centre of gravity has changed, your joints are loose and your muscle coordination is reduced. It’s no wonder that you keep bumping into things!
Although clumsiness is a common pregnancy symptom, it will still give you a fright if you fall over. Rest assured that your baby is well protected in his amniotic sac. It’s unlikely he’ll be hurt, but contact your midwife or GP to let them know what’s happened.
If you’re feeling clumsy and have other symptoms, such as pain, blurred vision or swollen hands and feet, you should see your GP or midwife. They may be a normal part of your pregnancy, but they can also be signs of pre-eclampsia. It’s best to get yourself checked over just in case.
What you need to know at 21 weeks pregnant
Now you’re more than halfway through your pregnancy, it’s a good time to think about the kind of birth you’d like. If you’re worried about interventions, such as episiotomy or assisted birth, you may prefer to give birth in a midwife-led unit or even think about having a home birth.
Many women find that being in warm water helps them to cope with the pain of contractions more easily. So you may want to consider having a water birth or using a pool for part of your labour. As long as your pregnancy is going well, having a water birth is perfectly safe. See if it’s right for you, and ask your midwife what your options are in your local area.
If you’d prefer to have access to pain relief such as an epidural, or if you have complications during your pregnancy, it may be better for you to give birth in hospital. Find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of hospital birth.