21 Weeks pregnant

About 10 inches long, your baby is now about the size of a carrot. There’s a lot of space in the womb for her to move around and kick from time to time. If you haven’t taken the anomaly scan yet, now is the right time to make an appointment. This scan will check for specific risks and will identify the placental position (if possible).

How the baby is developing at 21 weeks

Taste buds are quite developed at this point. Your baby swallows amniotic fluid and its taste depends on what you’ve digested, which means that whatever you eat, your baby will be able to taste it. There is research indicating that babies will have a preference after birth for foods they tasted in utero. That gives you one more reason to eat healthy veggies and fruits.

Your baby has also fully developed fingernails, eyebrows and eyelids. Those glossy images from the scan appointment will start to look better and better.

Your lifestyle and pregnancy symptoms at 21 weeks

Don’t let stress get to you. Take time to relax, have baths and massages and continue with your exercise routine. Whenever you sit or lay down, look for props to keep your legs elevated. This will help diminish leg cramps.

Avoid greasy foods that can cause heartburn and limit your daily calories intake to 500 calories a day. Keep an eye on your weight. You should gain about one pound every week in this trimester. It’s quite common to experience unusual cravings that are unhealthy for you. It helps if you always keep around varied snacks that are healthy substitutes. The key strategy is not to abstain from eating unhealthy foods, but to control your shopping behaviour: don’t buy those junk foods, alcohol and cigarettes in the first place.

Scan appointments at 21 weeks

The anomaly scan is usually taken around 18 to 21 weeks, so if you haven’t went to that yet, schedule an appointment this week. The sonographer will offer you a detailed analysis of the anatomical structures of your baby: limbs, spine, heart and tummy. There are specific risks to look out for at this particular stage, which is why this scan is so important. At the end of the scan, you will receive a detailed report with the analysis. Take it home with you and keep it for reference at other medical appointments. If possible, the placenta position will be identified as well during the anomaly scan.

The growth scan can be taken from 16 to 24 weeks. This week or the next three weeks are just right for taking this scan, as it is more likely for the sonographer to be able to measure your baby from head to toe. Before 21 weeks, your baby could only be measured from head to bottom.

Do you know the baby’s sex yet? You can have a gender scan to find out just that, or you can specify to the sonographer that you want to find out the gender as well during another ultrasound appointment.

7 Signs Your Pregnancy is Going Well

Pregnancy symptoms can be hard to interpret sometimes, but don’t stress over anything that doesn’t seem too serious. Here are seven reassuring signs that everything is going well with your pregnancy.

1. Frequent urination

Although uncomfortable, frequent urination is perfectly normal during pregnancy. In the first trimester, this is caused by the increase of blood flow to your kidneys. Later, when your baby starts growing, the pressure of your uterus on the bladder is the main cause for your need to pee often. Take it as a sign that your pregnancy progress is normal and try to stay away from caffeine – it makes you pee even more often.

2. Your body temperature has risen

With elevated progesterone levels come elevated temperatures. A slight rise in your body temperature is a sign that your hormones are doing their work just fine.

3. Your breasts are changing

Your breasts should enlarge due to pregnancy hormones and the areola should darken in the first trimester of your pregnancy. This is a sign that the estrogen has increased in levels and is doing a proper job.

4. You cope well with stress

Being pregnant can bring about plenty of circumstances that can be stressful for you. Try not to fret over issues that are out of your control. Those are the most stressful ones. Then create a strategy for dealing with problems that can be solved by you. Make time for yourself to relax and disconnect from your day-to-day thoughts. Your partner can help a great deal with your coping strategy, so talk it through and think of methods that both of you can apply to lead a stress-free life.

5. You feel comfortable exercising

Exercising is recommended during pregnancy and can lift your spirits and give you more energy. If you feel tired – which is a common symptom of pregnancy – try to stick to a light exercise routine. An established routine will make it easier to motivate yourself to stay active. If you feel comfortable and energetic during your exercises, that’s a sign of a healthy pregnancy.

6. You’re on track with your antenatal appointments

Pregnancy scans and tests help prevent pregnancy risks if taken on time. At your first antenatal appointment, plan a schedule of the important tests, ultrasounds and routine checks you need to do throughout your pregnancy. Keeping up with an appointment plan will help you stay safe and give you peace of mind.

7. You feel activity from your baby

Half-way through your pregnancy, you should already start to feel kicking and other movements from your baby. This is a good sign. Try to keep monitoring the activity you feel in your belly. In case you notice fewer movements for a full day, call your doctor immediately.

16 Weeks Pregnant

Your baby has already reached the size of an avocado and will grow double in weight in the next three weeks. At the next doctor appointment, you will be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat. You’ll now start to bond with her in several ways.

Baby developments at week 16

Communication between you two is getting more real: your baby can hear your voice and you might be able to feel kicking or some fluttering in your belly. If you started to feel the kicking, you will notice activity for even five minutes at a time, though your baby’s movements are quite tempered at 16 weeks.

Your ultrasound pictures will start to make more sense: your baby’s head is more raised, eyes are closer together and hair is developing, including eyelashes and eyebrows.

Taste buds are also forming when you’re 16 weeks pregnant. You will be really eating for two now. The umbilical cord is fully formed and the skeleton continues to strengthen.

Your body and lifestyle at 16 weeks

The fluttering sensation might feel unusual at first, but as it will grow in intensity, you will recognize the kicking. If you haven’t started to feel the kicking yet, it might have to do with the positioning of your placenta. Your doctor will analyse the placenta at the Growth Scan.

Nausea and the feeling of tiredness should have vanished by now, yet you might feel like you need to catch your breath as your lungs are getting crowded by your growing placenta.

Your breasts continue to grow and feel tender. Constipation and indigestion are common symptoms at this stage, due to pregnancy hormones. If you often experience leg cramps, try resting with your feet at a higher level than your body or massage your ankles.

Preparing for birth can be stressful for you and your partner. While this is normal, try to get informed on what you should expect and talk about it. It’s also a pretty good time to plan a mini-vacation, now that you are not feeling nauseous anymore.

Ultrasounds at 16 weeks

The Growth Scan is carried out between 16 and 24 weeks, depending on your doctor’s recommendation. At this ultrasound, the sonographer will observe your baby and your placenta in detail and will take a series of measurements for comparison to the average data. This is useful for tracking the progress of your pregnancy and ensures that the development rate of your baby is normal.

How to Cope with Early Pregnancy Symptoms

The four most common symptoms in early pregnancy are tiredness, morning sickness, mood swings and frequent urination, followed by other first signs of pregnancy. Learn how to keep them under control and cope with the changes they bring in your early weeks of pregnancy.

Tiredness

A very common pregnancy symptom is feeling tired. This is more intense in the first and third trimester.

Take naps as often as possible. You need plenty of rest, especially in early pregnancy, so try to go to bed earlier and take several short naps during the day.

Include carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables in all your meals and snacks throughout the day. A healthy pregnancy diet will keep you energetic and reduce the fatigue symptom.

Keep an exercise schedule and generally try to stay active. Even if you exercise lightly, establishing a daily routine will make you feel stronger and less tired.

Morning sickness

This symptom is commonly experienced in the first trimester of pregnancy. Nausea is sometimes accompanied by vomiting, especially in the morning.

Feeling nauseous can be accentuated by the food you eat. Keep your meals small and often, and replace foods that cause you nausea with their nutritional equivalents.

Natural remedies can be efficient against morning sickness. Examples include ginger, mint tea and Roman Chamomile tea.

Stay hydrated to diminish nausea. Have water, lemon juice or your favourite herbal tea with you to sip regularly throughout the day.

Frequent urination

This symptom is especially common during the first and third trimester of pregnancy. While your body produces more urine, the pressure on your bladder will increase, resulting in the frequent need to pee.

There are no options to go around this symptom. It’s very important to stay hydrated during pregnancy, so don’t cut back on fluid intake. Coffee makes you pee faster and is not very hydrating, so giving up caffeinated drinks will help. The frequent trips to the toilet at night can be reduced if you drink less water in the two hours before bedtime.

Mood swings

If your mood changes from one minute to the next, know that it’s normal. Mood swings are caused by hormonal activity and are very common during the first trimester.

You can’t really control the hormones responsible for your pregnancy symptoms, but there are ways to cope with mood swings. Exercise, rest and talking about your mood swings with your partner and friends will make you feel a lot better. Feeling guilty over your mood swings will only lead to more stress and is unjustified, as they’re out of your control. Be kind to yourself and find moments for reflection and relaxation. Reflecting on your pregnancy and becoming conscious of your baby is an important step towards a healthy pregnancy and giving birth.

The 10th Week of Pregnancy

Your baby is now just over an inch long and continues to grow fast. The foetal period begins, during which vital organs and systems will mature and develop complex functions. Fingernails and toenails begin to appear during the 10th or 11th week, and elbows and knees will soon start to form, although you won’t feel any kicking for another month or two. At the next scan you might be able to see your baby bending hands and kicking his or her legs. Look out for your little one’s hands on the monitor and maybe you’ll even spot the no longer webbed fingers.

Your baby’s spine, bones and cartilage are forming continuously, shaping a more and more human-like aspect. Teeth begin to form under your baby’s gums at this stage already, though they won’t come out until he or she will be six months old.

How your body changes

Your uterus has grown to about the size of a grapefruit during the 10th week, and your bump should also be visible by now. It’s time to shop for more comfortable, stretchy clothes or maternity wear. Save up money by adding elastic waist bands to your pants and skirts, an efficient method preferred by most expecting mums. You might be experiencing fatigue, dizziness and headaches. Make sure that you get plenty of rest while sticking to an exercise routine. Swimming, walking, and light stretching exercises are suitable for most pregnant women. Fresh air is a daily must. To reduce symptoms of dizziness, carry water and fruits or light snacks around you to keep hydrated and boost your blood-sugar when needed.

Pay special attention to what you’re eating and how much you’re eating. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables and leafy greens in your meals. During the 10th week you should be eating with about 300 calories more per day than before pregnancy. If your symptoms include constipation, fix it with fibre and fluids. Get your fibre from whole grain products and fresh and dried fruits. Choose raw vegetables over heavily cooked meals.

Pregnancy symptoms can be strong and influence your daily mood, while causing diverse symptoms. Focus on what you can do to relieve some of the symptoms, but you might have to just wait for others to go away. You’ll find many of these symptoms will reduce or disappear during the second trimester, which is getting closer.