Pregnancy and birth

21 weeks

17 weeks to go! Yay!

Oh Baby says:

YOU By now you will probably be able to feel the top of your womb, it will be almost level with your navel. Over the next ten or so weeks you will continue putting on weight, only now at a faster rate. Sometimes this weight gain can seem overwhelming, even a little depressing, try to focus on the fact that your growing belly is home to a rapidly developing little person.

YOUR BABY Your baby is now about half the length it will be when it is born. The eyes are still flat against the cheeks – they have yebt to build up and are still fused shut. Your baby’s skin should be opaque by now. White blood cells are present now which play an important roll in protecting your baby from disease and infection. Baby is now a lot better proportioned and movements are becoming advanced. He or she now weighs around 450g and measures about 27cm long.

This Oh Baby update illustrates well the differences between a singleton pregnancy and a twin pregnancy – the top of my uterus passed my tummy button a long time ago.  And I shudder to think how much weight I’ve gained by now.  The last time I weighed myself (week 19, I think), I’d already gained nine kilograms.  However, I’m mindful of the fact that nearly all of that seems to be on my bump, so that’s good news.  It is weird to see my weight creep up, though.

It’s also very weird to think that I’ve got two little people inside me, each of whom are that length.  I guess that explains the bump…

Babycenter says:

How your baby’s growing
Your baby’s eyebrows and eyelids are fully developed and his fingernails  now cover his fingertips. If you’ve started to feel  your baby’s movements, you can look forward to more action in the coming weeks.  You may discover a pattern to her activity as you get to know her better.

How your life’s changing
You may notice you have to adjust to your changing size. Don’t be  surprised if you find yourself getting a bit more clumsy these days. You’re carrying more weight and your centre of gravity has changed  with your growing uterus. As well as these changes, your fingers, toes, and  other joints are all loosening, thanks to the effect of pregnancy  hormones.

There’s no precise formula for how big your bump should be. So  try not to worry if you feel that your bump is big for your stage of pregnancy. Your midwife or doctor probably  won’t measure your bump until you’re 24 weeks pregnant, but do mention it before then if you’re concerned. She’ll be able  to reassure you that all is well.

Although I’m certainly not feeling constant movement (thanks to one twin’s anterior placenta – on top of the bump, in other words), I am feeling a lot more flutters (from my boy) and a few lurches (from my girl).  According to this page, the only real potential problem with an anterior placenta is an increased risk of bleeding if I have a c-section.  But never mind – there’s not much we can do about that.

I’m glad that my babies now have eyebrows.  I’m a bit obsessed with eyebrows.

Huggies says:

Your baby’s changes this week

  • Back to fruit size comparisons in week 21 and now your baby is the size of a banana. Not a delicate Lady Finger mind you, one of those big Cavendish bananas with the bend in them. Their weight is about 310 grams, still tiny but growing all the time. Just out of interest: an average birth weight is around 3.5 kilograms, head circumference 35 centimetres and length around 53 centimetres.  So, if you’re looking for an easy way to remember these numbers, just think in combinations of 3 & 5 and it will come to you.  That’s how much growing your baby needs to do yet.
  • Your baby’s brain and muscles are working in synchronisation this week which means there’s intent behind those movements. You’ll find they’re less jerky and random and seem to be more deliberate and strong. If you lie in a particular position and your baby doesn’t like it, you may find them wriggling around so they can find their own comfortable space. They can be picky little things.
  • Your baby is constantly taking amniotic fluid into its mouth and swallowing it.  This cycle of swallowing, digesting and then recycling the fluid as urine will take place throughout the rest of your pregnancy.  Waste products are already forming in your baby’s bowel, to be passed in their first bowel motion; known as meconium.
  • Tiny tooth buds for your baby’s permanent teeth are starting to form in their gums from this week. If you live in an area where the water supply is fluoridated, your baby will be getting the benefits. The placenta will do a good job filtering out many substances, though fluoride is one of the proven compounds which are harmless when taken in safe doses.

Your physical changes this week

  • The skin on your legs and arms could be looking a bit blotchy this week.  A bluish or motley appearance is common in the second trimester and is a result of your high levels of oestrogen.  It doesn’t mean you have a reduced blood supply to these areas. You will find that after delivery, it will settle.
  • Don’t look too deep if you’re searching for your belly button. If you’ve usually got an “innie” it’s probably being pushed out a little by this stage.  At 21 weeks of pregnancy, many women find their belly button is flat and at the same level as their surrounding skin. It may well pop out and become more prominent as the baby grows.  Interestingly, belly buttons are another one of a mother’s body parts which go through permanent change after pregnancy. So expect a little variation to what it used to look like.
  • Your breasts have probably stabilised in their growth by this stage and you’ve become used to their different appearance. Your nipples will become bigger and the areola will darken as your pregnancy progresses.  Make sure you wear a comfortable, well fitting and supportive bra.  It is not uncommon to need to upsize maternity bras a couple of times through pregnancy.  All of these early changes in your breasts are nature’s way of preparing your body for breastfeeding and producing milk.
  • You’ll notice you are starting to put on more weight than you have been for the last couple of weeks. In fact, over the next 10 weeks you are likely to gain almost half of your total pregnancy weight gain. Your baby is responsible for some of it of course, because it’s laying down more fat stores and muscle as well.
  • Craving for strange things?  If you start to look longingly at sandpits, coal or charcoal in the fireplace or BBQ, or even sticks of chalk, don’t think you’re loosing it.  Craving non-edible foodstuff is known officially as “Pica” and although it seems strange, this may have its origins in something more fundamental. These substances can be a source of trace elements and your body is craving them for a reason. However, resist the temptation and put that chalk down. Instead, make sure you eat from a wide variety of food groups and look for texture as much as taste with what you’re eating.

How totally strange to think that my babies have little baby teeth brewing!

Running through that litany of possible physical changes for me, I can now reveal that:

  1. I haven’t noticed any particular skin blotchiness;
  2. My tummy button is totally flat, but has not yet started sticking out;
  3. My boobs are enormous, although they don’t look particularly big because of the enormousness of my bump (and I’m wearing a bra all the time – a proper maternity bra during the day and an Aah Bra at night);
  4. I’m starting to live in fear of how big I’m going to end up, particularly when you consider that I may have another 17 weeks of pregnancy ahead of me, and;
  5. I haven’t had any weird cravings, which I hope means that my diet is reasonably well balanced.

I feel like I’ve been moaning a lot about my current size (off-line, anyway), but it is a bit daunting to think that this is still early days for me and already I’m suffering because of my bump size: it is very uncomfortable when I eat because my tummy can’t handle much food; I get short of breath really easily because my lungs are getting squashed; I’ve got a recurring sore rib ligament on my right side that is really unpleasant at times; and I am finding it increasingly difficult to sleep comfortably – I’m too big to just move normally when I’m asleep, so I stay in one place for a few hours and then wake up with everything aching.  AND IT’S ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE! ARGH!

Anyway, I’ve just measured my bump and today it’s 103 cms.  So it’s just creeping up in size, and not expanding to cartoonish proportions like I might have feared.  I won’t weigh myself today…

2 thoughts on “21 weeks

  1. I’m guessing the answer is yes, but have you invested in a couple of long or wedge shaped pillows yet? I’ve got a £10 special from Lidl (classy) which is almost the same length as me. It helps but unfortunately feels like a third person in the bed and takes up a lot of room so poor hubby gets relegated to the spare room on some nights. I also have a wedge pillow for sliding under the bump, or which I put behind me to stop myself rolling onto my back. That said, I’m only 17 weeks with the one sprout and still finding it tough to sleep, so can only wince at what you’re going through. I guess the only other option is to grab 40 winks whereever you can (so back to the sofa with Tui then) and maybe start the mornings with a warm bath to ease the aching? Hope things improve hun xx
    PS – I never underestimate the importance of eyebrows. Eyebrows are a good thing.

    1. Funny you should mention that: we tried to buy me a long pillow the other day, but the shop had sold out (there must be a lot of uncomfortable pregnant women in the neighbourhood). However, I spent a few hours today with my new friend Emma, who is currently 33 weeks pregnant with twins, and she’s passed on her long pillow to me! So in five minutes I shall go and have my first nap with it. Hurrah!

      And great suggestion about the warm bath in the morning – I am a big lover of wallowing in baths, and this sounds like an excellent excuse. xx

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