Week 21 of Your Pregnancy
Exciting developments in the 21st week: Your baby still has plenty of room for exercise, which he or she uses extensively.
You will feel this from time to time, just like the increasing weight of the uterus, placenta, and baby. So don’t forget to strengthen your pelvic floor and give yourself breaks.
Pure anticipation should flood your body during the 21st week of pregnancy and simply wash away any fears. The child in your belly is wriggling around so happily that you (almost) can’t help but think about him or her. What else is going on with you and your baby – and what is good to know now in the sixth month.
Here you can find all of our 2nd trimester articles:
The baby in the 21st week of pregnancy
In the 21st week of pregnancy, the baby is 10.2 to 10.6 inches long at the crown-heel level and weighs about 12 ¾ ounces (about the size of a carrot). It is active, and its movements are already quite coordinated and purposeful. Its sleep-wake rhythm has become more pronounced.
Ultrasound images show that many children prefer a sleeping position in which they either pull their chin down onto their chest and fold their hands under their chin or let their heads fall backward. Sounds, brightness, as well as the mother’s eating behavior and sleep rhythm influence whether the baby sleeps well and regularly.
In the 21st week of gestation, the baby’s face and facial expressions continue to develop.
Eyebrows and eyelashes are also visible now. Finger and toenails have formed and continue to harden over the next few weeks. The child’s digestive system has been preparing for its later functions for several weeks. During this week, its intestines are stimulated to contract for the first time by the absorption of amniotic fluid.
The growth of the brain and the further differentiation of sensory abilities are at the center of the child’s development in the 21st week of pregnancy. The first furrows are now formed in the baby’s brain, but brain development as a whole is not completed until adolescence. The anlagen for the perception of taste and smell have already formed in the first trimester, and taste buds and olfactory receptors have also developed in recent weeks.
In the meantime, the baby’s senses are in an intensive training phase. Since taste and smell sensations are related, both are stimulated by drinking and “inhaling” the amniotic fluid.
The baby can even taste through the amniotic fluid what the mother has previously eaten. Incidentally, the memory of these first “culinary experiences” is retained after birth – the baby later recognizes the flavors it is already familiar within the mother’s milk.
Hearing is already very well-developed in the 21st week. The baby perceives the voices of its parents as pleasant, familiar, and also soothing. If you regularly sing or read to your unborn child, you can be sure that the baby will be familiar with the rhythm of the song or story even after birth.
Researchers have found that babies drink more intensively when they hear the sounds they already know. Fathers who have often talked to their baby during pregnancy have the fascinating experience that the newborn immediately calms down, even in their arms, when he hears their voice.
The baby’s heart and blood circulation are already functioning very well in the 21st week of pregnancy. His heart beats about 110 to 150 times per minute, twice as fast as the heart of an adult human. Many mothers think that the baby’s heart sounds like galloping horse hooves through the stethoscope.
These are your symptoms in the 21st week
- Sciatic nerve. Some women complain of sharp pain in the buttocks and thighs that can spread to the toes. This could be caused by the sciatic nerve. The weight of your belly puts pressure on this nerve. It consists of several nerve fibers and is located at the level of the hip. Acutely, you can relieve this discomfort in what is called the stepped posture. Lie on your back and place your lower legs at right angles to your thighs on a chair. If lying on your back is no longer comfortable for you, plenty of heat will also help. Use a hot water bottle or a cherry pit pillow. It’s best to take a warm tub bath at the end of a long day.
- Headaches. If you suffer from headaches, you are not alone. Reasons can be hormonal fluctuations and tension, but also stress. If the headache does not subside, consult your doctor to rule out other causes.
- Hair. Due to significantly higher levels of progesterone during pregnancy, both your hair and fingernails are strengthened. They appear shinier and healthier. Enjoy it and give yourself a little time out with a visit to the hairdresser.
Your body in the 21st week of pregnancy
You may feel this weight gain firsthand in the 21st week of pregnancy in the form of back pain. Pain, especially in the lower back, is one of the common pregnancy complaints.
As the uterus grows, your body’s center of gravity shifts, and your lower back is pulled forward. At the same time, all the joint attachments and ligaments in your body are loosened by the hormone relaxin to allow the birth canal to widen enough.
Some women also tend to push their abdomen forward and go into an unnatural hollow back. To take some strain off your back, always place your feet on a footrest when you sit. Whether in front of the TV or at your desk, your feet should be slightly elevated. If you have to stand for long periods of time, alternate placing one foot on a small stool. This will take pressure off your lower back. Take a warm bath for additional relaxation. If you suffer from persistent back pain, please consult your doctor.
Your child’s development is programmed for growth, and he is diligently exercising his muscles.
Therefore, it is not unlikely that you will feel the same in the 21st week of pregnancy. Should you be one of the physically very active women, you will probably be more likely to feel something if you take some rest. Lie comfortably on your back and try to feel the highest point of your uterus with your hand. Then place your hand there and breathe calmly and evenly. If you are not sure how to feel, you can simply place your hand above the pubic bone. Now try to imagine your child in your belly and feel it. Perhaps, with a little patience, you will notice a slight tingling or bubbling sensation. Do not worry if you do not feel anything. You are now 21 weeks pregnant and there are so many more weeks ahead of you. As your baby grows, it will become tighter and tighter in your belly over time, and you will then be able to feel the baby’s movements very clearly. Nevertheless, enjoy this first contact with your child and allow yourself relaxation and cuddle time!
You’re pregnant, which means your metabolism, cardiovascular system, and musculoskeletal system are performing at peak performance. Just like your pelvic floor, which consists of three layers of muscles that lie on top of each other like a grid. It’s an everyday job: to carry the pelvic organs and give them support.
Now, during pregnancy, the uterus and placenta are added to the mix. As the baby’s weight increases, they put more pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, stretching them more than usual. Giving birth then puts another enormous strain on the pelvic floor muscles.
Pregnancy To-Do: Training for the pelvic floor
In order for them to have normal-tension again after birth, it makes sense to train the pelvic floor muscles regularly. You should not let this slide during pregnancy – and in the weeks after the birth. Because of the muscles remain slack in the long term, there is a risk of bladder weakness or even uterine prolapse.
A great exercise to become aware of the pelvic floor:
- Breathe in consciously and try to close your urethra, vagina, and anus as you exhale.
- To do this, gently pull your ischial tuberosities (the bones you can feel when sitting upright) towards each other and gently lift your pelvic floor. Imagine that you have a tampon in your vagina and that you have to hold it in place.
- Consciously feel this tension for two to three breaths and then release it completely with the inhalation.
- Repeat the exercise whenever it suits your daily routine in between.
- We have more pelvic floor exercises for you here.
FAQ - Twenty First week of Pregnancy
Week of pregnancy. You have already passed the first half of pregnancy, now you start the 6th month.
Your baby probably already has a proper waking and sleeping rhythm during these days, in most cases, it is still opposite to your own rhythm. Also, it sleeps most hours, 16 to 20 hours a day, sometimes deep, sometimes shallow.
Some women already feel a painless hardening of the uterus from time to time. These are preterm contractions, but they are just harmless physical exercise. If these contractions come very frequently, regularly, and painfully, you should inform your gynecologist.