By the 21st week, you will probably not be able to keep your pregnancy under the wraps because everyone you meet would be able to figure it out from your belly bump. It is a different thing if you choose to wear loose and unrestricted clothing to purposefully keep the news undisclosed but if you are type who couldn’t wait long enough for your belly to start showing, it is time you got a few belly hugging tees and tops! Maternity wear comes in a wide range of choices these days and if you have always wanted to flaunt that baby bump, there is nothing like a couple of maternity tees to accentuate your pregnancy. You can expect more energy this week so shopping would be a welcome change. You would be able to feel your uterus by placing your fingers half an inch above the belly button; yes, you are that ahead in pregnancy already!
Starting from the previous week, your baby is now being measured in terms of Crown to Heel length instead of Crown to Rump. She will probably measure around 10 inches in length and 12 ½ ounces in weight. Doesn’t it sound too good to be true? Wait till you know what your baby will be compared to this week! Your baby is already the size of a large carrot and as unbelievable as it sounds, you will be able to make that out when the light flutters and movements1 turn to kicks and moves that will wake you up in the middle of the night. Your baby will be practicing all sorts of moves inside the womb and they will fill you up with warm and fuzzy feelings. You might want to keep a track of your baby’s moves but it is still too early to do that because there is no set pattern for the movements yet. However, you might notice that she kicks more when you are lying down and lesser when you are actively involved in some work. This could go on to become her pattern and will help you to keep track when the doctor will ask you to.
There is plenty of room for your baby to move around in your womb right now and till your uterine walls start closing in and it becomes more cramped inside, there will be quite a few somersaults in the making. You would often wonder if your baby is ever asleep, what with all the new moves he has mastered, but contrary to what you think, your unborn baby sleeps quite a lot like a newborn does. When you are actively involved in some work, you wouldn’t notice but the movements from outside the womb tend to lull the baby to sleep. It is right when you are resting that all the activities begin. Are you already apprehensive of the newborn phase? Don’t be because we have all been there and done that. It is not easy but it is not impossible either.
What Does Your Baby Taste?
You had once heard from a distant cousin that just because she had eaten cucumbers all through pregnancy, her baby seemed to take an instant liking to them as soon as they were introduced. If you thought that it was mere coincidence, think again! Your baby swallows a tiny bit of amniotic fluid every day. This is done in order to practice the skills of swallowing and digesting food that will later help after birth. It is said that the taste of amniotic fluid changes as per the kind of food you have. If you have been eating more bananas, it is likely that your baby will find more interest in them after he takes to solids.
It is often recommended to expecting mothers that they eat as many veggies as they can during pregnancy so that the baby is exposed to the taste of them and does not create a fuss when the greens are finally introduced. This is not absolutely backed by evidence but an observation based on a number of similar instances.
Making The Moves Count
What used to be jerky and twitchy moves are now properly synchronized and coordinated because your baby’s limbs are now in perfect proportion with the body and his neurons connect the brain and his muscles. The impulses are better transported and with cartilage running between his bones, it is easier for him to co-ordinate his moves.
You would find that the moves follow a pattern and if you have been keeping track, you will soon be able to identify the period during which your baby is the most active. You might as well feel overwhelmed with all the movements sometimes, which is normal. Try and get some rest if you have been feeling touched out with so much happening around you.
Your Body At 21 Weeks
You could either be feeling more energetic this week or find no such improvement from the last week; every pregnancy is different and there is no ideal as such but it has been found that most women find the second trimester to be the most bearable. How is your body changing in response to the developments this week? Read below to know more!
Acne That Refuses To Go
Are you a teenager all over again? You might ask yourself this question often these days because acne outbreaks are changing the way you look at yourself. As if dark patches and chloasma2 wasn’t enough, you now have acne to deal with! Your skin is producing more oil, you are sweating a lot more and you might as well be dealing with sleepless nights; acne is bound to follow. Before you start panicking and resorting to all sorts of topical creams and such, it is important for you to know that pregnancy-induced acne will go away on its own and there is no need to take OTC medication for it. Try keeping your face as clean as possible and use mild cleansers twice a day. There is a fact that not a lot of people are aware of; the more oil-free your face wash is, the oilier your skin becomes. This is because your skin produces more oil as an automated response to the absence of oil on the skin. The best remedy is to wash with water as often as you can.
What looked like thin streaks last week will develop into more prominent marks this week. Stretch marks can seem depressing to you initially and you will probably do all that you can to get rid of them. However, as time passes, you will realize that these stretch marks are your body’s way of telling you that your baby is growing well.
Stretch marks are deep epidermal tears and however much you may try; you cannot avoid them if you are genetically meant to get them. There are women who never get a single mark on their body all through pregnancy and then there are women like you who feel like a checkerboard by the end of it. What is significant is how these stretch marks are worth the trouble.
Your skin is expanding beyond limits and there is every reason to get these stretch marks on various parts of your body like your abdomen, thighs, breast and buttocks. These stretch marks are not harmful by themselves but they are generally itchy and might cause you to scratch them often. Scratching stretch marks could only worsen your situation because they might lead to skin infections if your nails are too sharp. While you cannot get rid of stretch marks, you can rest assured that they will eventually fade away after delivery. All you will be left with are silvery streaks on the skin. However, it is important for you to know that you can never really get rid of stretch marks. You could use all the creams and lotions you want to but these act superficially on the skin and will never be able to do away with the marks. What these creams and gels can do is relieve the itching and discomfort. You can also use oatmeal paste and aloe vera gel directly on the area that has been affected by stretch marks. You will at least not need to keep scratching your belly to feel comfortable.
Yet another reason for you to get stretch marks is rapid weight gain. It is normal to gain a chunk of weight in the second trimester but accelerated weight gain could spell trouble for both you and your baby. Try and have nutrient dense food so that you can gradually add the pounds. If you are a fair-skinned woman, you will find that the stretch marks are more prominent on your skin whereas if you are darker in complexion, they might not be as prominent.
Sex In The 21st Week Of Pregnancy
If you have been feeling aroused all week, you have one good thing to appreciate your pregnancy hormones for. It has been seen that many pregnant women experience a rush of sexual desire by the time they reach their second trimester. What used to seem like an impossible task in the first trimester becomes the most desirable feeling ever. This is because there is increased blood flow to your pelvic area and there is also more lubrication in and around your vagina. If you are feeling awkward about wanting to have sex frequently, please don’t because it is absolutely normal and your husband will be more than willing to oblige.
While some can’t wait to reach the bedroom and turn off the lights, some others just don’t feel like having sex at all. This is also a normal variant of pregnancy. There could be a number of reasons. A lot of women experience dryness or a burning sensation during and after sex in pregnancy which is why they don’t feel like having sex. You could also feel unattractive, be more conscious of your changing body and also feel too exhausted all the time. If you are avoiding sex because your feel your body is not beautiful enough, try talking to your husband about it. Communicate your problems and let him know how exactly you find it difficult to get involved in sex.
Sex is not the only way you can communicate with your partner so if you have issues that do not let you have sex often, try spending more time talking and cuddling. Make these conversations about you two; it is important to connect as partners before you connect as parents. If there are positions that make you feel uncomfortable, try other positions that do not involve too much movement. Spooning has been often preferred by pregnant women.
When Should You Not Have Sex During Pregnancy?
As long as your pregnancy is low-risk and uncomplicated there is no reason to not have sex till the day you go into labor. However, there are situations when your doctor will recommend you to avoid sex completely. Listed below are the reasons:
- If you have a low-lying placenta; medically termed as placenta previa3
- If you have a history of miscarriages.
- If you have had unexplained vaginal bleeding or spotting.
- If your cervix is not strong or closed enough to support the pregnancy.
- If you have leaked amniotic fluid in the past.
Pregnancy is a phase when you will need to be extremely careful about contracting sexually transmitted diseases because they could harm your baby in more ways than one. If you feel that your partner could have a health issue that needs to be addressed, talk to your doctor before indulging in oral sex or sex without condoms. Even with condoms, there is no surety of the fact that you will not get affected. Always get a testing done when you are unsure.
If you had a premature labor or a preterm birth, your doctor might advise you to abstain from sex completely till your delivery. If your cervix is not strong enough, you might experience preterm labor yet again which is why abstaining from sex is the wisest recommendation that you could get.
Are You More Anxious Than Ever Before?
You not only feel pregnant but also look pregnant which might start making you feel anxious about what the future holds for you. There will be people who might ask you unsettling questions, especially the ones that you had never thought of. To be honest, nothing can prepare you for pregnancy and parenthood so quit trying to look like a person who has everything sorted out. It is important to take one step at a time and when you do so, you will be able to solve a chunk of your problems.
Never ignore the fact that you are actually anxious because the more you try to keep the fears away, the more they will start creeping up on you. You might be apprehensive about your financial condition and whether your finances would be enough to take care of all your needs. If you are a single mother, the going gets tougher. How would you plan your innings?
Begin with a flowchart of things; what leads to what and you would know where to save and how to make your earnings work to your best advantage. If you are concerned about your job structure, you might want to talk to your employer about it. By now, he or she would have probably got an idea about your pregnancy and if you haven’t really made pregnancy announcements, this is the time for an ice-breaker. Always schedule an appointment before you plan to talk about the pregnancy. Doing it in a hurry would only worsen the situation if your boss is not too thrilled about it. Keep your priorities sorted. If you are in perfect health conditions you will not need to talk about leaves yet but if you do have an unavoidable situation that is hindering your ability to work efficiently, communicate the issue to your boss right away.
It is possible that your work role involves staying and involving yourself in hazardous conditions. The end decision is yours to take but it is recommended that you try and stay away from such roles. Talk to your employer about other vacancies in the system and if you could shift your profile till the time you are capable of going back to your earlier role. Never apologize for being pregnant because that can make it easier for your employer to take undue advantage of the system. Even if you are hale and hearty, drop a hint about maternity leave and when you plan to take it so that you have all your documents ready.
If you are anxious about managing the work life balance, talk to friends and peers who have been pregnant and are parents now. They will be able to give you a clearer picture as to how things are supposed to be handled. They could also suggest day care facilities for your baby so that you need not worry about not having a baby sitter at home or quitting your job to take care of your baby.
Join Prenatal Classes
Now is the time to enroll yourself in prenatal classes because you are neither too big to feel uncomfortable sitting for longer periods nor too early to understand the process of birthing and newborn care. You may or may not choose to take your spouse or partner along to these classes but it is recommended that you do. This would be a wonderful way for both the parents to connect with each other and the baby. A hands-on experience is an important lesson in parenting and what better way and time to learn it other than this?
A prenatal class will not only help you relax but also teach you new ways you never knew one could birth in. However, you will need to decide if you want a natural birth or a hospital birth. If you are looking for natural birthing options that your doctor approves of, then get hold of classes that deal with them. If you are looking at a hospital birth, you can join classes that teach you prenatal yoga and advise you on your diet and lifestyle.
Midwives3 are excellent choices if you are looking for a natural home birth. Births these days are being treated as surgeries; with doctors and nurses taking over you like a patient and trying as many ways as they can without seeking your permission. A midwife will respect your choices, if she happens to be of the same mental wavelength and she will assist you in an anxiety-free birth with little or no medical intervention.
How Can You Help Your Pregnant Spouse In The 21st Week Of Pregnancy?
As your spouse settles down into the 21st week of pregnancy, you can try being more helpful with work at home. If you are doing that already, keep the communications going strong. Mama Bear might not be in the mood for intimacy; not yet and you will need to understand if this is because she is feeling more conscious of the way her body is changing. Keep reminding her that she looks beautiful. This will make her feel good and loved and will add to her health and happiness. Midnight cravings are here to stay so keep your pantry stocked with healthy food like nuts, dried fruits and homemade granola. Always motivate her to eat healthy and if you feel that she might be going overboard with snacks, remind her gently that accelerated weight gain might not be a good idea. Yes, she might have anger outbursts, often or not so often and you can try to talk her out of the situation. Have a good laugh later and blame the pregnancy hormones together for spoiling a good evening. Spend quality time with her and remind her that she has a shoulder to fall back on whenever she needs to.