Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 21st Week
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We have prepared an excellent article for you about the 21st week of pregnancy. 🙂 We wish all mothers-to-be a pleasant reading in advance.
The days when you will hold your baby in your arms in your pregnancy adventure, where you left half of it behind, are numbered. How would you like to examine in detail what awaits you and your baby in the 21st week of pregnancy, while your loved ones who see your belly growing with you are excited to see the new individual join your family?
Baby at 21st Week
Pregnancy seems to be progressing slowly with your slightly enlarged belly, but a 21-week-old baby has come a long way since last week. It grows rapidly, develops, and acquires new skills. Here are all the details about your little one.
How Big Has My Baby got?
From the moment you found out you were pregnant, your baby has continued to grow rapidly. The weight and height of the 21-week-old baby, who is now almost the size of a large carrot, are as follows.
As a result of the examination, fetal height and mass values may be below or above the average. This does not usually mean there is a problem. The reason is that the estimated fertilization date and the actual fertilization date are far from each other.
Development of Baby's Systems and Newly Acquired Skills
The healthy survival of the baby after birth is directly proportional to the development of its systems and organs. What about the organ and system development of the 21-week-old baby?
It rapidly increases the number of nerve cells (neurons). Fat and protein myelin sheaths surrounding neurons continue to develop. This development strengthens the baby’s body control by enabling the neural impulses to be transmitted faster.
The brain and spinal cord continue to develop. As a result, the connection between the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system is strengthened. Thus, the baby moves from uncontrolled skeletal movements to controlled movements. In other words, your little pup can voluntarily kick and play with the umbilical cord to sense the sensation it gives when touched.
The state of sleep and wakefulness, which is under the control of the brain, has now entered a regular cycle. He can sleep for a long time at certain hours and stay awake for a long time.
The Circulatory System
The heart is successfully pumping blood through the veins. As the vessels thicken and expand, the blood volume and flow rate increase.
The veins became so prominent that they could be seen under that cotton skin.
The digestive system works intensively. The baby, whose reflexes developed in parallel with the development of the spinal cord, also developed the swallowing reflex considerably. The baby is constantly swallowing the amniotic fluid it is in. It sends urea, protein, lactic acid, citric acid-like substances in the liquid to the digestive tract. With the digestive enzymes it starts to produce, it breaks down food and even creates waste.
For now, there is no excretion of waste materials. The wastes it produces accumulate little by little in the large intestine. This deposit will form your baby’s first dark, pasty poop, called meconium, after birth.
The respiratory system will complete its development last. Therefore, it will continue to develop at an intense pace until its birthday. The lungs already can breathe. His chest goes up and down like he’s breathing. Of course, for now, amniotic fluid, not air, passes through the respiratory channels, so that he has practiced oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange after birth.
Support and Movement System
Muscles get stronger; joints can move more actively, cartilage structures continue to ossify. This means that the baby can now move more strongly and actively.
The kidneys have formed units called nephrons, which will be found in millions in each kidney and serve to filter the blood; it just needs to develop a little more. By this means, your little one can filter the amniotic fluid they drink through the kidneys and form urine. The urine formed is mixed with the amniotic fluid and swallowed again, and it is filtered in the kidneys and turns into urine again.
Testes and glands in male infants; The female babies had a vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes and will now continue to develop and grow in size. In men, if the testicles have not descended into the scrotum so far, they may descend at the 21st week of pregnancy and go out of the body. In girls, ovaries are developing, each containing more than 1 million egg cells.
“Will the gender of the 21-week-old baby be known?” parents wondering; get ready! The external reproductive system organs that determine sex in babies became clear enough to be evident from ultrasound. If you haven’t learned yet, your doctor will probably answer that exciting question: “Girl or boy?”.
Now the IgG antibodies produced by the mother will begin to pass through the placenta to the baby. The higher the number of these antibodies, the stronger the baby’s immune system will be.
With the development of bones, white blood cells, which are the cornerstones of the immune system, are produced. However, the most powerful defense tool of the baby, whose defense system is still weak, is the vernix caseosa layer, which acts as a barrier between it and the amniotic fluid, which is its only external world.
21 Weeks Baby Movements
In parallel with the support and movement system development, 21-week-old baby movements have now reached a level that the expectant mother can feel. The expectant mother may even feel the baby’s movements such as turning, kicking, somersaults, and even rhythmic hiccups that continue at regular intervals for a while. It is expected that the movements are not yet clearly felt by an outsider. So the father-to-be will have to wait a little longer to witness this miracle.
Sense Organs and Developmental Characteristics in 21 Weeks Baby
The sense organs work under the control of the brain, so with the development of the nervous system in the baby, the sense organs will also develop. What about your baby’s senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell as of the 21st week of pregnancy?
Eye and Sight
The eyes are on the head where they should be. Eyelids are fully developed but not yet opening and closing. The eye muscles are developed enough to move the eyes in their sockets. His eyesight is not yet developed enough to perceive light. The baby in the womb will soon perceive enough light to distinguish between day and night.
Ear and Hearing
The bones in the inner ear begin to harden. While these bones contribute to the baby’s hearing ability, they also develop a sense of balance. However, the baby’s hearing frequency range is still not within the range to hear its mother’s voice.
Skin and the Sense of Touch
Your little one’s skin continues to store fat, but they still have lanugo hairs to insulate heat. The protective vernix caseosa layer, which is white and creamy in texture, continues to thicken.
The lower and upper skin layers of the skin begin to form. The hair that comes out of the channels where the hair will grow on the scalp becomes visible.
Tongue and Taste
The baby’s sense of taste has developed. By the 21st week of pregnancy, the baby will taste the foods you eat through the amniotic fluid and maybe even taste buds already.
Nose and Sense of Smell
As the amniotic fluid enters the baby’s nose, the smell of the substances in the fluid can be perceived by the baby. Of course, he perceives these tastes now does not mean that he will remember and recognize them after birth.
Mom at 21 Weeks Pregnancy
As your baby develops and changes rapidly, you get your share of these changes. When you ask your doctor about any problem, the answer you get is, “It happens during pregnancy!” will be. Yes, indeed, the root cause of most of the problems you experience during pregnancy: Pregnancy. What problems? Here are the possible problems waiting for the expectant mother at 21 weeks of pregnancy.
Reflux and heartburn:
It is one of the most annoying situations for pregnant women. As the pregnancy hormones relax the muscles and the uterus expands, and the baby gets heavier, the pressure on the mother’s internal organs increases. The stomach also suffers from this pressure; The loosened gastric valves open, and the food leaves the stomach and returns to the esophagus and mouth.
Indigestion and constipation:
As pregnancy hormones affect muscle movements, the working speed of internal organs working with the help of muscles slows down. Slower movement of the muscles in the stomach and intestines slows down digestion, leading to digestive problems such as constipation and indigestion.
Difficulty in breathing:
The weight gained, and the growing baby compresses the lungs, making it difficult to breathe.
Frequent urination and urinary tract infections:
The growing baby and the heavier uterus put pressure on the bladder. Because of this pressure, you will need to go to the toilet even if the bladder is filled with urine even a little. This can cause you to spend most of the day commuting to the toilet.
Pressure on the bladder sometimes clogs the urinary tract, causing urine to accumulate there. In the channels where urine waits for a while, the risk of infection is high.
Growing abdomen, lower back and leg pains, edema, heartburn, reflux, and frequent going to the toilet… Under these conditions, of course, it will not be easy to sleep comfortably. In short, what causes insomnia? “It happens during pregnancy!”
As the baby gets heavier, it puts pressure on the intestines along with other internal organs. With the increased pressure, the muscles weakened by pregnancy hormones cause relaxation in the intestines and pushed out. Small intestinal masses that come out of the anus appear as a problem called hemorrhoids. If no precautions are taken, it can negatively affect the mother’s standard of living by causing pain and suffering in the future.
Formation of dark spots on the skin:
Again just “It happens during pregnancy!” is a symptom we can explain. Dark spots occur in many parts of the mother’s body, especially on the nose, forehead, and cheeks. The reason for these spots is again pregnancy hormones.
Formation of cracks in the skin:
While weight gain continues rapidly in the 21st week of pregnancy, the skin has to keep up with the body’s expansion and volume increase. However, when it does not have the opportunity to stretch, it cracks and makes room. These lines, which are light-colored, purple, or pink intones, are usually seen on the abdomen, breasts, buttocks, and legs. The scars, which will increase in the following weeks, are usually permanent. For this reason, it is essential to take precautions before the cracks form and to use creams and oils that will protect the flexible structure of the skin.
Waist, back, and leg pains:
As the baby grows and you get heavier, your skeletal system starts to struggle under these extra pounds that it is not used to. When all the weight is loaded on the hips, spine, and legs, pain occurs in these areas. In addition, adapting to the changing center of gravity of the body causes a restriction in movements.
Nasal congestion and bleeding in the nose:
Pregnancy hormones, especially Beta HCG, increase blood volume. With increased blood volume, blood pressure rises, and the mucous membranes swell. While this swelling causes nasal congestion, the capillaries in the nose can easily crack and bleed as the increased blood volume and blood pressure force the vessels. Bleeding is usually mild and not something to be afraid of.
In some expectant mothers, pregnancy causes a decrease in blood pressure. As a result, symptoms such as low blood pressure and dizziness are seen. This is the reason for dizziness and the darkening of the eyes, especially when you wake up suddenly from lying down or sitting, starve or take a hot bath.
Tips to Minimize Annoying Pregnancy Symptoms!
The 21st week of pregnancy means you are still in the 2nd trimester.2. trimester is known as the golden age of pregnancy in terms of symptoms. Because it is a more comfortable period than the 1st and 3rd trimesters, it is possible to make this process better by minimizing your symptoms. To minimize pregnancy symptoms, it will be enough to pay attention to the following points.
- The reason for the problems that bother you during pregnancy is pregnancy hormones and increasing weight. You cannot prevent pregnancy hormones, but you can facilitate the process by keeping weight gain under control. When you do not gain more weight than expected, problems such as skeletal pain, hemorrhoids, reflux, heartburn will be relieved.
- Pregnancy stretch marks are permanent, so it is necessary to take precautions before they occur, not after they occur. Controlled weight gain and maintaining the skin’s flexible and moist structure are the most effective measures you can take in this process. Natural oils and crack creams recommended by your doctor will help you in this regard.
- Do not stand for a long time during the day; try to rest by sitting or lying down whenever possible. In this way, you can reduce skeletal pain and edema formation.
- Review the foods and diet you eat, revise if necessary. Proper nutrition also reduces complaints about other systems, especially the digestive system.
How Much Weight Should You Gain?
During this period, you have gained enough weight that your pregnancy will be evident from the outside. So how much weight is gained at approximately 21 weeks of pregnancy?
Having gained 4.5-6.5 kilos so far indicates that the process is progressing healthily. In not gaining a balanced and controlled weight, varicose veins, low back pain, cracked skin, difficulty in breathing, and similar symptoms become more disturbing. In contrast, each extra weight gain makes it difficult for you to reach your old weight after delivery.
Nutrition during pregnancy is an issue that you should take care of for yourself and your baby. Because everything you eat will be food for your baby.
We can list the things you need to be careful about nutrition at 21 weeks of pregnancy.
- The amount of food you eat is as significant as its content. There’s no need to eat for two just because I’m pregnant. You will only need to consume an extra 300-350 calories per day in the second trimester.
- Prepare your meals at frequent intervals and little by little.
- Make it a habit to consume three main meals and three snacks a day.
- Consuming too much coffee, alcohol, and soda will negatively affect your baby’s development and your health.
- Avoid low-quality foods that are low in nutrients but high in calories. You should avoid fried foods, pastries, sweets, white bread, processed meat, packaged snacks, and similar foods. In this way, you will both eat healthily and not gain unnecessary weight.
- Consume calcium-containing foods regularly so that the baby does not have the opportunity to deplete your calcium reserves.
- Drink at least 2 liters of water per day.
- Consume fibrous foods.
- Eat a balanced and adequate diet.
Exercise is not meant to lose weight but to maintain a healthy body condition. Therefore, it is recommended to be done during pregnancy as well. The 21-week pregnancy exercises that you can do within the doctor’s knowledge, as much as your health allows, are as follows.
- Lightweight pilates
- Kegel exercises
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Abdominal exercises
Checklist at 21 Weeks Pregnancy
- You probably found out the baby’s gender. Now that it is clear whether you will buy mainly pink or blue, you can start shopping.
- If you have learned the gender, you can now do a name search. This process can make your job easier to get ideas from your spouse, friends, and relatives.
- If you haven’t had it yet, your doctor may request a detailed ultrasound scan at the 21st week of pregnancy. With this screening, the baby’s probability of genetic and physical anomalies will be evaluated approximately, although not definitively.
- It should not be forgotten that this week will be your last chance for those considering the quadruple screening test or amniocentesis application and those who have not yet had it done.
- Start researching where you will give birth and which doctor you will prefer.
- Get ready for Braxton Hicks’s contractions and research them.
Pregnancy is a tremendous period in which parents take care in every sense. Knowing all the details about the 21st week of pregnancy will help you as you try to build a healthy foundation for your baby in every step you take.
Note from your baby:
Mommy, hello from our 21st week!
I have a wonderful surprise for you! I’m kicking for the first time; see if you can feel it. I’m going to touch your belly lightly; I’m sure it will make you very happy. I never want to hurt you and upset you. I see you gave up your high heels for me; you can wear them as much as you want after I’m born. In our 21st week, I liked moving my feet in my mother’s belly the most. My dear family, what did you like most?
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