Your pregnancy week-by-week: week 21

Your little one is now about 360g and 26.7cm long. It’s the size of a carrot and now weighs more than your placenta.

Your baby

Your baby’s brain and muscles are working in synch this week which means there’s determination behind those movements. They are now less jerky and random; they seem to be more deliberate and strong.

Your baby’s movements may start to form a pattern as she has periods of being awake and asleep. She may even settle into a favourite sleeping position. Your movement in the day tends to rock your baby asleep but when you start to rest, she may well wake up and want to get moving.

She’ll be swallowing a little amniotic fluid every day for nutrition and hydration, and also to practise swallowing and digesting once she’s born – and whatever you’ve eaten will influence the taste of the amniotic fluid.

You

You may find this is the time that shoes stop fitting you. The softening of ligaments in the feet and extra weight you’re carrying can mean your feet ‘spread’. Many mums-to-be find that they go up a shoe size during pregnancy, and their feet don’t often shrink back after birth.

Hormones can give you itchy skin in pregnancy. A cold, wet flannel can help to cool the skin or perhaps try an emollient cream. If you feel particularly itchy all over your body, speak to your midwife or doctor.

How are you sleeping? If you’re finding it uncomfortable, you might want to invest in a pregnancy pillow – check out nearly new sales as well as your usual go-to shops.

Bloating and wind are uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy. There isn’t much you can do about this but try eating smaller meals; some say it helps to drink ginger or chamomile tea.

Have you thought any more about a birth plan? There’s no need to have one or indeed have anything too prescriptive but if there are things that you feel strongly about, then it’s better to think about it now, rather than in the throes of labour! Remember though that it is a ‘plan’, and things may not happen as you expect on the day. Probably the main decision is where you would like to have the baby – at home, at hospital or at a birth centre? Speak to your midwife or doctor to discuss options for you.

If you are thinking about antenatal classes, see week X [add link]. Many mums find that making new friends, who are going through the same experience as them, is an invaluable support network. Antenatal classes also provide useful information about what to expect during labour, and how your partner can support you.

Your partner

Do you know if your partner would like a baby shower? It’s not essential and she may prefer not to have one. However, if you think she’d enjoy a nice afternoon celebrating before the birth, speak to her family and friends – they may wish to organise one for her.

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