Louise Broadbridge
Louise Broadbridge
Pregnancy Week 21

Pregnancy Week 21

Your baby is busy gaining weight and getting bigger day by day. If they were to go on the scales right now, they would weigh in at around 300g, overtaking the placenta.

Your little one is now a similar length to a carrot – 26cm - from crown to heel. Their movements are now much more controlled and co-ordinated, and you should be able to feel them, especially when you are taking a quiet moment to yourself away from any distractions.

Every day, your baby will be swallowing small amounts of amniotic fluid, something which will eventually form their first poo, known as meconium. The dark sticky substance will appear in your little one’s nappy in the first 48 hours after birth.

One thing that may surprise you is that your baby will start to develop some sort of routine at this stage even though they are still in the womb. Rather than waking or sleeping randomly, you will notice your baby is developing some sort of pattern to when they are awake and when they are asleep.

Many pregnant women find their babies are likely to sleep when they are busy and active – the motion of walking about has a similar effect to rocking a cradle – and then wake up and start moving about when they settle down for the night and start trying to get some sleep. 

Although your little one’s hearing has been developing for a while, it is now advanced enough that they can hear sounds outside the womb. As well as talking and singing to your bump yourself, encourage your partner and any older siblings to get involved. This will help them bond with the new baby and will mean they are a familiar and comforting sound to your newborn when they arrive.

How will I feel at 21 weeks pregnant?

As your bump is getting bigger and more prominent, you may start noticing stretch marks. These can appear pink, brown, red or purple and happen when your skin stretches and the supporting tissue underneath gets torn.

If you do spot any stretch marks, you’re not alone – at least one in two pregnant women will develop them. There are creams and moisturisers you can apply, although the jury is still out on how effective these are. However, they will fade naturally and become less noticeable once your baby is born.

Remember to keep making sure you are eating plenty of iron-rich foods. Your blood volume has increased significantly so you are at a higher risk of anaemia.

You may feel a bit more unsteady than you are used to as your centre of gravity has changed. This means you may have to be a little more aware of your surroundings and cautious as you adjust to your changing shape. If you do fall, don’t panic as your baby has a lot of protection keeping them safe but do speak to your midwife and let her know as soon as you can so you can be checked out.

Sign up for a free online antenatal class