21st Weeks of Pregnancy: Changes, Symptoms, Foods & Care Tips

Congratulations! You have successfully crossed the halfway mark. You are excited, aren’t you? You should be! You have got the beautiful glow on your face and you might be feeling those football kicks by now. This week, the feeling of being pregnant will start to sink in gradually and you might start to feel anxious. 

21 Weeks of Pregnancy: Changes, Symptoms, Foods & Care Tips

Do not stress about it unnecessarily. Everything is going to be fine. Be happy, knowing that you are in good shape and keep yourself motivated. There are quite a few new symptoms that you might be experiencing this week. 

What can you expect this week?

  • Since your baby continues growing in size, you will start feeling a little heavy.
  • Your weight will increase.
  • Mood swings will be your constant companion. 
  • You might feel backache but with doctor prescribed exercises, you can feel better. 

Expected Body Changes

It’s pretty much visible by now that you are pregnant. You have started wearing your maternity clothes. With your uterus growing with each passing week, your uterus is growing, stretch marks will start to appear. These body changes enhance right from your First week of Pregnancy. 

Not only will you notice stretch marks on your belly but also your thighs, buttocks, and breasts. You may have itchy skin too. Keep your skin well moisturized always. Your little champ will be making movements frequently from this week onwards and if you are conscious you might be able to feel them.

Rock that Baby bump like a proud momma!

Changes in your Baby

  • Your baby is around 10 inches and weighs about 12 ounces, almost the size of a large banana. 
  • The little one has started to make movements-= twisting, turning, and somersaults too. Now you know the reason behind those fluttering sensations in your belly at midnight.
  • The most remarkable development that your baby is undergoing now is that his/her taste buds are developing! Your little one has started tasting amniotic fluid- not just to keep himself/herself hydrated and not just for the nutrition either. The baby is learning to swallow and digest. Beware of what you eat, as your baby’s taste buds will develop accordingly.
  • The arms and legs are proportionate by now and even bones have started to develop.

Symptoms

Backaches

Your stomach is growing with each passing week and hence the center of gravity is moving front which is causing sharp back pain. It is recommended to take small steps while walking and also wearing flats instead of heels.

Stretch marks

Stretch marks are natural during pregnancy. It is a good sign of a healthy pregnancy. As your uterus keep on increasing in its size, the skin starts to expand too. Pink and purple lines start to appear near your breasts, thighs, and belly. You might have itchy skin due to the dryness. Keep your skin well moisturized always.

Hungrier

Your appetite will increase now and you’ll have a tough time to keep yourself away from munching into something now and then. Stock up will healthy and nutritious food and keep aside all your favorite oily junk foods. Maintain a healthy diet and you can enjoy a cheat day once in a while.

Heartburn

You might experience heartburn this week and it is normal. Your growing uterus is pushing against the stomach, and blame your pregnancy hormones for relaxing the valve between the esophagus and stomach. this might just make the stomach acid leak into the esophagus. You need to consider and understand how Apple Cider Vinegar can help during your pregnancy. 

Gas and Bloating

Blame your progesterone to be the reason behind the production of gas. Progesterone slows down digestion. Your ever-growing uterus is pushing your intestines to the abdomen which is also slowing down the digestion. Drink a lot of water throughout the day and foods rich with fiber to counter constipation.

Bleeding gums

The pregnancy hormones make your gum super sensitive and you might experience some swelling too. Use a brush with soft bristles to make sure the gums don’t bleed. Avoid having sweets to not let bacteria develop in your mouth and make it more uncomfortable. 

Leg Cramps

This is natural during the second trimester. You might experience cramps at night. To try and avoid cramps, do some gentle leg exercises before going to bed especially stretch your calf muscles a bit. Drink ample water throughout the day and take a comforting shower to ease the pain and discomfort.

Increase in the growth of nails

Blood circulation increases during pregnancy and all the additional nutrition goes to your nails, hair, and your baby. The pregnancy hormones are also responsible for the increase in the growth of the nails.

Movements in your belly

Your baby is bored staying in one place and is changing places now and then. He is twisting, turning, and even somersaulting. Don’t confuse these sudden movements and fluttering feeling for gas.

Varicose Veins

The varicose veins start to appear in your legs, vulva, and rectum because of the growing uterus. These veins might stay post-delivery but there are chances of them disappearing too. These are the ways which you can follow to keep control of the appearance of the varicose veins:

  • Keep your legs elevated, as much as they are higher than your heart.
  • Make continuous movements. Don’t sit or stand in the same position for a long time.
  • Keep a check on your weight gain. Examine your weight frequently.
  • Don’t let constipation kick in. Eat high fiber foods and drink an adequate amount of water and other liquids throughout the day. You can even use a prescribed laxative or stool softener.

Urinary Tract Infections

UTI is a common symptom throughout pregnancy. This happens because of the pressure applied by the uterus on the bladder, which blocks the passage of the urethra. Always keep yourself hydrated and visit the washroom whenever you feel a pressure. These are the symptoms of UTI that you should be conscious about:

  • Burning sensation during urination.
  • Urinating more than usual.
  • Always in the dire need to pee.
  • Cramping and pain in the pubic area.
  • Running a temperature.
  • Sudden chills.
  • Bad smell of the urine.

If UTI is not addressed at the right time, it may affect the kidney too. Look out for these symptoms for kidney infection:

  • Backaches
  • Running a temperature
  • Sudden chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Never leave kidney infection unchecked or unaddressed, as it can cause premature labor and low birth weight.

Acne outbreak

The pregnancy hormones usually increase the production of oil and that may result in ugly acne breakouts. Though you can control acne breakouts by following these steps:

  • Use a mild cleanser to wash the face and always wash your face with lukewarm water twice a day especially after your prenatal exercises.
  • Opt for oil-free cosmetics.
  • Wash your hair if it is oily.

Tips for a healthy pregnancy this week

Mild exercises: Exercising during pregnancy is an absolute must to keep your organs working healthily. But, do not do any weight lifting or high adrenaline exercises. Do yoga, walking, and breathing exercises.

Keep your feet elevated: the increase in blood flow in your body has resulted in the swelling of your feet and ankles. This is natural during pregnancy and the only way to counter this is by keeping your legs on an elevated platform.

Vitamin B: All the B vitamins (B1, B2, and B6) are essential nutrients for the baby’s development. They also help in forming the placenta and is also the reason behind a good vision. Your prenatal supplements already contain these essential vitamins, but if you want more B vitamins, then you can have liver, pork, poultry, bananas, and beans.

Keep a check on your weight gain: Maintaining a healthy weight gain is necessary. Being too overweight or underweight can cause complications for both the mother and the baby. Visit your doctor and follow the diet plan that your doctor has recommended. 

You will gain around 25-30 pounds in total during your pregnancy and by this week you have already gained 10-16 pounds of the total. If you feel that your weight gain is not constant, you should talk with your doctor as soon as possible.

Choline: For pregnant women, choline is a must. Choline is produced naturally during pregnancy but it is not sufficient for both you and your baby. Add more chicken, beef, eggs, milk, and peanuts to your diet to have a balanced choline level.

Do not remain empty stomach: You need an additional 300 calories per day for a healthy pregnancy. Have smaller meals throughout the day.

A 30-minute walk daily: Walk at least for 30 minutes per day to keep your organs working seamlessly. Walking will increase your metabolism rate and in turn stimulate bowel movement and prevent constipation too. Drink plenty of water and fiber-rich foods.

Emergency cases to call the doctor

  • Sudden vaginal bleeding
  • An increase in vaginal discharge
  • Foul smell or an odor
  • High Body temperature
  • Sudden chills
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Pain in the pelvic area and unbearable cramping

Takeaway

The more you stress, both physically and emotionally, the more you become prone to complications. Experiencing too much stress can harm the baby. Consult your doctor, if you can’t cope with the stress or talk with your partner about it. After bearing all the pain so far, you don’t want to go all the effort to waste. One wrong step and it can cost you your baby’s life. 

Maintain a healthy diet throughout and do your prenatal exercises daily. Practicing meditation and breathing exercises can be of great help to counter stress.

Keep up the good work!

Here are Some Important Frequently Asked Questions for 21st Week

Can I feel my baby’s movement every day?

Baby’s movements are felt during this week, but most pregnant women mistake the fluttering sensation with gas or hunger pangs. If you can identify the baby’s movement, then you’ll feel it often. You have to be extremely aware and conscious or else you won’t be able to feel it. Though the movements will become more prominent as time passes.

What type of pains can I expect this week?

Popularly known as Braxton-Hicks contractions, you can experience sudden mild cramping of the belly or sudden pain in your uterus. The pain in the uterus happens when your baby is changing positions. You might as well experience some mild leg cramping too.

Which sleeping position is preferable?

The safest position to sleep during pregnancy after the first trimester is on the left side as it facilitates proper blood circulation.

Which fruits to avoid?

Pineapples, grapes, papaya are some of the fruits that you should not eat during your pregnancy.

How to deal with my leg pain?

Leg pains and cramps are normal during this week. To ease the pain, you can keep your legs on an elevated platform, or you can sleep with a pillow in between your legs. Keep yourself hydrated to avoid cramping and wear comfortable shoes.

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