Week 21 Ultrasound Image: http://www.pregmed.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/21-Weeks-Pregnant-Ultrasound-Picture.jpg
What to Expect this Appointment?
Week 21 is the first week of the second half of a standard pregnancy. The fetus is measuring in at 10.5-11 inches and weighing in at 13 ounces. The baby is as long as a carrot during this week of development. The developing fetus is moving around in the womb and the movements can be viewed using an ultrasound. The baby sleeps between 10-14 hours a day just like a newborn. The doctor will take the baby’s measurements and will ensure that both mother and baby are healthy.
What is Developing?
21 weeks sees the fetus bone marrow take over the job of producing blood cells. Before the bone marrow took over the job, the blood cells were produced by the liver and spleen. In adults, bone marrow is where blood cells are produced.
The baby has developed taste buds and while practicing swallowing, the baby can taste the amniotic fluid. The flavor of the amniotic fluid changes daily according to the diet of the mother. Research has shown that infants and toddlers prefer the foods that have the same or similar tastes to the foods they were exposed to in the womb. This means that if mothers want their children to eat all their vegetables, the mother should start eating them while they are in the womb.
Some pregnant women experience darkening skin, mainly on the face. This condition is called melasma. Melasma is when dark brown patches appear on the skin. This is due to hormone changes in the body, usually pertaining to pregnancy. This is a normal sign of pregnancy and women shouldn’t be too worried about it. Majority of melasma cases fade after birth.
This is the week that the belly button starts to stick out. Most mothers have already experienced the joy of swelling ankles. A good trick to help alleviate the swelling is to rest with your feet propped up throughout the day.
Mothers should try to increase their calcium intake. Calcium can help with leg cramps and is beneficial to healthy bone development in the fetus. Stay away from the kitty litter. Cat litter can be infected with toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is an opportunistic disease that is characterized by headaches, muscle pain, and fever. Toxoplasmosis can live in cat feces or in contaminated food and is extremely harmful to pregnant mothers.
There is no cure for the stretch marks that are starting to spread across the belly, back, thighs, and breasts. Cocoa butter can help, but it will not prevent the development of stretch marks. Mostly cocoa butter will help with the itchiness and dryness associated with stretch marks. Stretch marks are a natural process of life. While the stretch marks look bad now, they will fade with time. After birth, most stretch marks fade to a silvery color.
Read out loud to the baby. The baby can hear you. Reading to the baby helps to cement the bond between parent and child.