You’re 21 weeks pregnant!
You may start feeling your centre of gravity shift as your belly begins to grow. You may start to have to start changing the way you sit down, stand up and do other physical activities.
Exercise is still pretty easy and is good for your body, as long as you stick to activities that don’t put you at risk for falling or being hit in the stomach (e.g. horse riding or karate). You also want to avoid becoming overheated and dehydrated.
You may find that you get breathless a little quicker because your uterus is pushing up and squashing your diaphragm. If you already exercise, make sure you stick within your limits. If you are just starting an exercise program, you should start slowly and it's a good idea to talk to your care provider first, to make sure you choose the best program for you.
21 Weeks Pregnant – Your Body
You may notice varicose veins making an appearance, caused by the extra pressure on the veins in your legs, as well as higher progesterone levels making the vein walls relax.
You’re more likely to get varicose veins as you have subsequent pregnancies and if other family members are prone to them. Exercise, resting with your feet up and maternity support hose are all ways you can alleviate varicose veins.
Your skin might be itchy from stretching to accommodate that growing belly and you might start noticing some stretch marks – red, pink or purple streaks that appear on areas like your stomach, breasts, buttocks and thighs.
There is no way to prevent stretch marks as they happen when the support under your skin is torn as it stretches. Rapid weight gain can make them more noticeable, so it’s a good idea to eat healthy and exercise so your weight gain is slow and steady. Using a good moisturiser such as virgin coconut oil helps with the itching, dry skin and stretch marks — which do fade after baby is born.
At 21 weeks pregnant, you may also start to notice Braxton Hicks contractions. This is your uterus tightening and releasing. These contractions are your body’s way of practicing for labour and have actually been happening since you were about 7 weeks pregnant. They aren’t painful and shouldn’t cause you any alarm.
Braxton Hicks will increase in frequency and intensity from now until baby arrives. If they do become painful, make sure you speak to your doctor, midwife or phone the maternity ward just to be sure. It could be an irritable uterus, meaning you need to take things a bit easier. Check your water intake too, ensuring you're getting enough.
21 Weeks Pregnant – Your Baby
Your baby is gaining weight much more rapidly and looks much more like a newborn.
He still has a lot of weight to gain and because he still needs to fill out his skin is still very wrinkly.
His eyebrows are developed now, giving his face much more expression.
This week, your baby weighs about 340 grams, and is about 23 cm long, around the size of a carrot.