It’s Week 21 of pregnancy: Are your breasts and belly noticeably bigger? Has your figure changed dramatically? As your belly becomes bigger, your posture might change, resulting in back pain. Many moms inevitably feel a little lost because of all the physical changes in their bodies. What else could be going on in your body in Week 21?
21 Weeks Pregnant: Size of belly and weight gain
The fundal height, the distance from the top of the pubic bone to the top of the uterus, is 20–26 cm. Your belly might be protruding much more than before, and as a result, it becomes more difficult to keep your balance. You might not be able to see your feet too, with your belly blocking your vision. Use the handrail when you use the stairs and wear shoes with short or no heels to reduce the risk of falling down.
The ideal increase in weight for each week would be 1 pound. The ideal weight gain throughout the entire pregnancy for pregnant women who had a pre-pregnancy BMI in the 18.5 to 24.9 range is 25 to 35 lbs. Moms who had a BMI lower than 18.5 should aim to put on 28–40 lbs, while those with a BMI 30 and over should limit weight gain to 11–20 lbs. Note that these are just guidelines, so don’t be too worried. However, if you’re concerned about your weight gain, sit down and have a good talk with your OB-GYN about a weight-gain plan tailored specifically for you.
Symptoms of preeclampsia: Edema, proteinuria
When a protein urine dipstick test gives a positive (+) result, this means that a high level of proteins such as albumin is found in the urine. The kidneys filter blood and expel waste product through urine, so there is usually only a low level of proteins found in urine.
However, when the amount of blood in moms’ bodies increase during pregnancy, the kidneys are unable to filter blood as well as they usually do, resulting in an increase in the level of proteins in blood. If you’re curious as to what your protein level is like, or wish to find out if you are at risk of getting gestational diabetes, you can get a simple test kit containing a urine dipstick so you can test yourself at home.
You might also be asked to do a glucose screening test if high glucose levels are found in your urine during routine checkups at your OB-GYN. A glucose screening test is usually done between Weeks 24 and 28.
If the test for the glucose screening test is positive and the mom also has symptoms like edema (swelling) and high-blood pressure, then there is a possibility that the mom has preeclampsia. Preeclampsia poses a risk to both mother and fetus, so be on the alert throughout your pregnancy so as to be able to detect signs and symptoms as early as possible.
21 Weeks Pregnant: Sonogram of fetus in belly
21 Weeks Pregnant: Fetus and breech positions
The fetus is 190–250 mm long and 300–450 g in Week 21. The fetus has a body fat percentage of 3 to 4% and will gradually gain more fats as time goes by. The fetus in the uterus moves around freely, so it’s no surprise that about half of all babies are found in the breech position during this period. Most breech babies correct their position by themselves well before the estimated delivery date, so for now, don’t fret over this.
- Eyelashes and hair are growing and can be seen via ultrasound
Lanugo (soft, fine hair) grows all over fetus’ body
In male fetuses: the testicles descend from the pelvis to the scrotum
In female fetuses: the uterus is almost complete
The bones begin to harden: the cranium, backbone, rib and bones of the limbs
The fetus moves eyelids as if blinking
21 Weeks Pregnant: Maternity yoga for lower back pain
When morning sickness subsides in the second trimester, it is the right time to get started on maternity yoga. Maternity yoga has the effect of being able to help soothe the backaches you’ve been having. It also helps you refresh yourself and strengthens your muscles. Why not give this a go and try to make it an everyday routine?
Disclaimer: Avoid handstands, poses that put stress on the abdominal region, or poses which involve bending over backwards – these are not for the pregnant. Only try poses you can, and it is recommended that you do light exercises religiously every day if possible.
21 Weeks Pregnant: Too much caffeine is bad for fetus
You will be able to eat what you want in the second trimester, but you will still have to watch what you eat. This goes especially for coffee, green tea, or drinks which contain caffeine – don’t you get an adrenaline rush after downing a caffeinated drink? Taking in too much caffeine affects the fetus negatively.
If you cannot live without coffee, it’s best to limit the amount you drink to the recommended 1 to 2 cups a day and not allow yourself to reach the fight-or-flight, high-strung state that coffee gets some people into. There are decaffeinated coffees or teas you can grab instead if you decide to go cold turkey on caffeinated drinks.
Messages from the belly to mom!
Think of the fetal movements in your belly as messages sent to you by your baby. You might start feeling these fetal movements before retiring to bed or just before you enter dreamland. Think of it as Baby sending you some messages that you will decipher in your dreams – here’s to sweet dreams today!