21 Weeks Pregnant
Your belly may have grown a lot faster these past few weeks. Also, you may be starting to feel your baby move, which might feel a bit strange at first, but is also exciting. Speaking of your baby, he is going through his own growth spurt and will continue to put on some weight.
What’s happening with your body?
Have you recently forgot you were meeting your best friend for lunch or do you seem always to be misplacing your phone? Good news, you’re not becoming a ditz. You’re just temporarily experiencing pregnancy brain.
There are no definitive studies that state pregnancy brain exists, but there is research that indicates the brain does function differently during pregnancy.
You may be more forgetful or unfocused for a few different reasons. For example, you might not be sleeping well due to frequent trips to the bathroom, leg cramps or other pregnancy symptoms. Lack of sleep can make you forgetful. Also, you might be preoccupied with all the decisions you’ll need to make, which leaves you a little less focused. Whatever the reason, if you feel a little ditzy sometimes, blame it on your baby and all is probably forgiven.
One pregnancy symptom side effect you may be getting compliments on is your pregnancy glow. Your skin may take on a bit of a glow due to increased blood flow. Remember your blood volume can increase during pregnancy up to 50 percent. Also, pregnancy hormones may cause your oil glands to become more productive. The extra oil may give your skin a bit of shine. Hopefully, it does not get too oily. If the excess oil is making your look downright greasy, try using an oil-free moisturizer and makeup. Pat your skin a few times a day with a piece of rice paper to help absorb the excess oil.
What’s happening with your baby?
This week your baby is about the size of a pomegranate and weighs about 13 ounces. Her eyelids are formed now, but her eyes will continue to remain fused for several more weeks.
By 21 weeks, baby has developed all his organs and parts, and they are continuing to function more each day. Organ systems are also starting to work together nicely. For example, along with your baby’s spleen and liver, her bone marrow is also producing blood cells.
A few weeks back, your baby’s taste buds starting to develop and your little one learned how to swallow. This week, as your baby’s digestive tract continues to mature and prepare for life on the outside, your baby will swallow small amounts of amniotic fluid.
The fluid has been providing your baby with a nice cushioned home and now will also provide a little sugar and hydration. It’s not baby’s main source of nutrition, but it does give your baby a chance to practice swallowing, so he has it perfected by the time you meet.
Things to keep in mind
It’s too early to have your baby, but your body may still want to put in a little practice for the real thing. Towards the middle of your second trimester, you might start to feel Braxton Hicks contractions. Braxton Hicks contractions are in intermittent tightening of your uterus.
If you have not felt any contractions yet, you probably will in the next couple of week. When they first happen, you might wonder what is going on. Braxton Hicks contractions may feel like your uterus is becoming tight. When you put your hand on your belly, it might be hard.
Braxton Hicks contractions are different then contractions that you’ll experience when you are in labor. They tend to be less painful and don’t progress. Real contractions will generally come closer to together and get more painful.
The cause of Braxton Hicks is pregnancy hormones. Consider it practice for your uterus, so your body will be ready for the big day. Braxton Hicks contractions may come on more frequently when you are active, such as during exercise or if you are on your feet all day. Dehydration can also lead to contractions. Having a full bladder may also bring them on.
Once a Braxton Hicks contractions starts, you might just have to ride it out. It is a good time to practice breathing exercises or relaxation techniques you plan to use during labor. Changing positions may also help. Also, be sure to drink enough water.