About the baby …
In week 21 of pregnancy, the baby measures about 27 centimeters from top to toe, weighing more than 350 grams. It is ready to eat, swallowing amniotic fluid (which, however, provides him only 15% of its nutritional needs – the umbilical cord assures the rest of the food). Its taste buds are developing, so he will can soon identify the tastes.
If you feel some movements in your belly, not very intense, but repetitive, you should know that the little baby hiccups!
… and the future Mother:
In week 21 of pregnancy, the uterus is an inch above the belly button by a centimetre, bulged and nice. You have passed half of the pregnancy and if there were no problems in its evolution, you should feel better and full of energy. The pains in your feet could be intensified. For the rest, the small problems that you are already used to will continue: frequent feelings of bloating or indigestion and cravings (beware of unhealthy cravings – for example, you could begin loving the smell of a cigarette smoke or ash, but avoid it!).
What to do in week 21 of pregnancy:
Courses. Get ready to become a good student and go to a series of preparatory courses. It would have been better to sign up until now for a prenatal course, because they are very requested and have limited places. But it is not too late! First of all, the preparatory course for birth is essential, where you will learn conscientiously: what the labour requires, how to ease the pain (including breathing techniques), positions of delivery, what your husband could do during the labour, breastfeeding and methods of childbirth. But if you are a future mother without experience, you can find other courses in some clinics, as well as courses about baby care (how to nurse the baby, how to change it, how to put it to sleep it, how to bathe it, how to dress it) which are very efficient and make you feel more confident. Because the state hospitals offer a very condensed version – just a few days – of these courses, it would be better to find organizations and clinics that offer extensive training, including training of psychological and practical issues after birth.
Inform yourself. Besides the courses, any good student creates her own suplimentary reading list! So, go to some bookstores and buy some good books about pregnancy, childbirth and neonatal care. Be careful, as many of these books are full of pictures and they have a diary format (blank pages where you write what happens). Although it can be fun and even useful to keep a pregnancy journal – which will become a dear memory, you need serious books with correct information that will teach you practical things. So, before buying a book, browse it and look for information about authors via Internet (they should have education and experience in areas such as medicine, education, child psychology). These books will be very useful – though you cannot learn everything – and they will be an excellent material for reading in the evenings when you have trouble sleeping!
Pain in the legs. To relieve pain in the legs, use a special support or simply a pillow to support them, a little higher than the rest of the body. At specialized shops there are some support straps that you can use during the day. Do not stand up long. Apart from the pressure of the weight, water retention may cause swelling of the feet (and hands), too. Besides the pillow, it is useful to wrap your feet in a cold compress, too.
Equilibrium. You lose more and more the grace and balance of the movements and become less cumbersome in movements, so take care to avoid the falls. Avoid wearing anything besides perfectly flat soled shoes. Do not give up the physical movement but adopt risk-free exercise and preferably in a safe environment (home, in guarded swimming pools and aquatic gymnastics, in the school halls). The only type of low-risk exercise that you can try without worries is represented long walks. Anytime you feel dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, heart palpitations, hard and jerky breath, pain, stop and if the discomfort does not go away, talk to your doctor.