21 Weeks Pregnant

Week 21 photo
length ~ 10.8 in  |  27.5 cm     weight ~ 12.7 oz  |  360 g   /   Look Mommy, I'm dreaming!

Fetal development in week 21

Your beautiful little miracle-gro baby will be putting on a full ounce and a half this week.

And that's just the beginning! Within the next five weeks, they'll really be packin' it on as they start to gain fat!

For now, we’re pleased to report the addition of rapid eye movement (REM); a key component to any healthy baby's sleep schedule, that indicates they're now capable of dreaming.

Over in the dermatology department: your sweet lil bun's thin soft skin is very red, rather translucent, and a bit wrinkled.

Not to worry, it’s not some creepy premature aging disease. It's just their clever little body setting them up with extra space that will smooth out once your little one starts packing on the baby-fat. That won’t be for a few more weeks, though.

So, for the time being, your munchkin is still a little lean mean growing machine!

Lastly, the beginnings of what is commonly called “brown fat” is just starting to fill in to help your baby retain some body heat, which is crucial as they’re not yet capable of regulating their own body temperature.

And how's mom doing?

We're smack in the middle of trimester two and you're in the full swing of baby-growin'.You can feel fluttering little kicks, but your womb-hijacker hasn't yet grown to their full-sized unholy proportions that'll leave you feeling like a pregnant whale with legs

Most moms are feeling pretty good right about now. You can feel fluttering little kicks, but your womb-hijacker hasn't yet grown to their full-sized unholy proportions that'll leave you feeling like a pregnant whale with legs.

You may already be noticing some mild uterine contractions — don’t panic, this is completely normal. It's also normal not to have them.

Actually, your uterus contracts throughout your whole life — only now that there’s enough pressure on the uterine muscles can you feel the contractions.

Have you started thinking about breastfeeding your child?

If this is your first pregnancy, one of the things that you'll have to be ready for, is having your breasts be your baby's primary food source for their first year.

For reasons that aren't entirely clear, much of North America decided that breastfeeding was for the poor and weird back in the sixties.

Formula became the culturally preferred option despite there being absolutely no evidence that it was indeed better for infants.

As scientists began to compare formula and breast milk - made by your body which built your baby cell by cell, they found overwhelming evidence that breast milk is superior to every brand of formula out there.

We'll cover this in more depth next week, but suffice it to say, unless you're physically incapable of breastfeeding, you should be preparing yourself for this very unique feeding relationship with your infant.

Did You Know?

There is always the risk that pregnant women end up with varicose veins. The American Institute of Preventive Medicine offers the following advice to avoid getting varicose veins: wear elastic support stockings, elevate your legs (above the heart) when resting, and take long & short walks every 45 minutes during long flights or car rides. And finally (obvious for pregnant women) avoid standing for extended periods.

Pregnancy Psycho-Meter

How are 21 weeks pregnant members feeling?
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  • Not So Grand: 1335 votes
  • Ugh Bad: 1033 votes
Week 21 cartoon

Sarcastic Journalist ?

What to accept when you’re expecting

It seems like everyone loves to ask a pregnant woman if she has any weird food cravings. I really think they want you to tell them “Why, yes. I do. I eat a can of sardines every night before I go to bed. Sometimes I cover them with grape jelly.”

Really, I went for “comfort food” (cheeseburgers are comfort food in my book) and sweets. I think I personally kept Betty Crocker in business during both of my pregnancies.

It always started out innocent enough: I wanted a cookie. Next thing I knew, I had gone through an entire bag of Oreos and a gallon of milk. Then two candy bars and a sandwich.

When I first got pregnant (this was during my first pregnancy, when I read those books) I read the “What to eat” chapter in What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

These people had what I should or should not be eating down to an exact science. I wanted to get my pregnancy off to a good start, so I’d eat all that “good for you” food while really wanting to high tail it down to the corner store to pick up a cupcake.

I’d pat myself on the back, all high and mighty like, because I made myself delicious meals that would make my baby smart! Those greens? They’re getting my baby into Harvard! All that fruit? She’ll be President!

It didn’t take too many lunches of trying to eat cottage cheese before I gave it all up. I tried. I really wanted to be a good Mom and somehow, that book had me convinced that I wasn’t a good Mom because I chose chocolate over cheese. She’d be lucky if she’d get into community college with the way I was eating!

Get over it. You’ll be a good Mom. Just consider all the eating good practice for when you have a kid and you’re so tired of all the whining that yes, you let him have ice cream for breakfast.