Pregnancy Week 21

July 8, 2009

What Is Baby Up To?

It's week 21 and baby is now a little longer than seven inches and weighs more than ten ounces! He's about the same size as a banana and growing steadily, albeit a little more slowly than previous weeks. His organs and central nervous system are still maturing and developing and his skin is continuing to mature as well.

At this point, your baby's digestive system is beginning to work. Although they are not fully developed, his intestines are contracting and relaxing and his ability to swallow is improving as he absorbs fluids through the amniotic fluid. Actually, swallowing the amniotic fluid helps his digestive system to mature.

Baby Hiccups And Things That Go Bump In The Night

Baby is moving a lot these days, flipping around and swimming. There is still adequate room for him to tumble without banging into uterine walls and you'll be able to feel the movements much stronger now. This is a good time for Dad to connect with the wonder of this new life. You may also notice some rhythmic movement that you will identify as hiccups. They can go on for five or ten minutes once or several times a day. Some babies hiccup more than others, it's a common occurrence and nothing to worry over. It is generally not a problem, although nighttime hiccups can wake you up from a sleep.

You're Feeling Great - Take Advantage Of The Good Feelings

Your body is growing larger, but you haven't reached a point where movement is difficult. Some women refer to the second trimester as the "honeymoon" period of pregnancy. You are over the initial stages of morning sickness and discomfort of the first trimester and you haven't reached the awkwardness and associated discomforts of the third trimester. Enjoy the time!

You may notice some pains in your legs at 21 weeks pregnant. Wearing support stockings can help relieve the aches and heaviness you may feel in your legs and they can help to reduce any swelling you may experience as well. Propping your feet up (if you aren't doing so already) is another way to reduce swelling and aching. Stretching and exercise go a long way to alleviating discomfort in the legs and help to prepare your body for the rest of the journey.

Regular exercise is an important aspect of your pregnancy and helps strengthen your body for labor and delivery. Many different types of exercise that you can do at this stage of your pregnancy are not only beneficial but also fun. Pregnancy yoga, walking, swimming and stationary bike riding are excellent ways to exercise, gain strength and stay fit. Avoid riding a conventional bicycle because a fall could hurt both you and baby. Try a recumbent bike (one that reclines), which is easier on the lower back while still providing a good workout. Don't forget to maintain a good diet. Baby will be putting on weight and it is important for you to eat a lot of nutrient dense foods to sustain you both.

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