In the 21st week, you need to check your weight. By now you should have gained approximately 12 to 14 pounds for a single baby and if you are carrying twins then the weight gain could be as much as 20 to 22 pounds. Your baby is nearly 10 to 11 inches and weighs approximately 12 to 14 ounces. Now onward the baby will mainly be concerned with adding bulk to itself.
Two new symptoms start to appear at this time. One is the phenomenon of leaking breasts. The other is known as the Braxton Hick contractions. This is the tightness in the uterus that is the preparation by your body for delivery which is still nearly 20 weeks away. The increase I blood flow also manifests in varicose veins and even spider veins which are not restricted only to the legs. Keep exercising as this the only way to cope with these and be also aware that they will mostly fade away after delivery.
You’re Baby in Week Twenty-One
At the halfway stage the baby is growing rapidly. It still is quite small at 10 to 11 inches and has room to move around in the uterus. It sleeps for some time and you can feel its movements when it wakes up. However, it is too early to distinguish if it was a kick from the foot or a punch from the fist that you just felt. The baby is also now becoming aware of light and noise outside and reacts to sudden noise.
The baby is now nearly fully covered with vernix caseosa, a white pasty layer. Most of this will go away before birth but for a little left in the creases like the neck or back of the knees etc. The bone marrow is fast developing and producing red blood cells. This was being done in its liver and spleen till now.
The baby’s brain is also growing as fast as the rest of it. The bowels start functioning and a substance known as meconium is forming in them. This meconium is a black sticky substance that forms in the digestive tract and will ultimately be passed as the baby’s first stool.
Amniotic fluid surrounds your baby. It cushions the baby against outside pressure on the abdomen. Some of this fluid acts like air when it passes in and out of the lungs preparing the respiratory system to breathe after delivery. During delivery, this amniotic fluid in the lungs will be pushed out and make way for the first breath of air.
Some of the amniotic fluid is ingested in the digestive system. This exercises the digestive system. The digestion takes place in the small intestines where water is absorbed and the leftover is passed over to the large bowel. The bowel then forms it into meconium. The bowel normally will excrete this after birth as the first stool. Sometimes the baby will excrete this while in the womb just or during birth. This is normal. Care has to be taken that the baby should not ingest it.