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.

20 Weeks Pregnant

Imagine you’re carrying a plump banana weighting around 10 ounces. That’s how much your baby has grown at 20 weeks of pregnancy. A growth scan will tell you the exact measurements of your baby, but most babies will have around this weight and about six and a half inches in size.

How the baby is developing at 20 weeks

In general, babies grow about half an inch during this week. Your baby’s digestive system is developing complex functions, aided by the fact that your baby will be swallowing more than in the previous weeks. Development of brain nerves and of some key body functions is going at a fast pace these days.

Iron is very important for the baby’s development at this stage, especially for the creation of red blood cells. Include in your diet lentils, red meat and other foods rich in iron or iron-fortified foods.

Your pregnancy symptoms at 20 weeks

It is common to feel tummy aches around this time, because you bump is growing fast. The muscles and ligaments of your abdomen are stretching apart to make more room. Use lotions to prevent stretch marks and don’t give up your exercise routine. Exercising helps with muscle elasticity. If you feel uncomfortable during exercise, talk to your midwife or doctor to be reassured if this level of exercise is safe for you. If you feel pain in your pelvis, it’s not a major reason to worry, but your doctor can set a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment to relieve the pain.

Your estrogen levels may cause snoring. Sleeping on the side and with a pillow should help, and you will have a better sleep quality. In general, avoid eating before going to bed for at least two hours to sleep more comfortable and to avoid heartburn. Pillows and props should always be with you for a proper nap and a good night’s sleep. Use them to get comfy.

Scan appointments at 20 weeks

The growth scan and the gender scan are usually taken around 20 weeks. In week 21, however, it is more likely that the sonographer will be able to measure your baby from head to toe during a growth scan. Before this time, your baby can only be measured from head to bottom, because she is curled up. If you’ve decided to find out the baby’s sex, the sonographer may be able to tell you more details about the development of reproduction organs – especially if it’s a girl – as these have already began developing.

19 Weeks Pregnant

Congratulations, you are halfway along your pregnancy! This is a busy week for the development of your baby’s senses. Areas in the brain are specializing to refine vision, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Communication with your baby is getting real now. Start singing lullabies and read her stories.

Your baby’s development at 19 weeks

At 19 weeks, your baby is 6 inches long, and she is growing at a fast pace. The sensory development is on the rise. Your baby can hear you and she might be able to taste the amniotic fluid she swallows. The arms, legs and body are now well proportioned, as you might be able to see in the ultrasound pictures. More cartilage is being transformed into bone, which means grasping and kicking are done more firmly and controlled now. Your baby might also grow hair on her scalp already, although you will not be able to see this yet at a 3D scan. The skin of your baby is getting covered in vernix – a white, creamy substance that protects her sensitive skin from the amniotic fluid. This will shed by the time of birth, although some premature-born babies can be covered with vernix.

Your body and lifestyle at 19 weeks

Your uterus is getting crowded after this halfway mark of pregnancy. Be prepared with comfortable maternity wear, midwife advice, a nutrition plan and a schedule for your most important ultrasounds and check-ups.

This is also a period of pregnancy called quickening – when mums start feeling their baby’s movements. It usually happens between 18 and 21 weeks, but if you only start feeling movements later, it is not a worrying sign. Try to pat or brush your belly whenever you get signals from the baby. She might be able to feel it and a true bond will start to form between you two. For many mums, this is an experience that helps to become aware of how real the baby is. It’s a magical moment. Share with your close ones. Everybody is delighted to feel the baby kicking.

Ultrasound scans you can take at 19 weeks

One of the most important pregnancy scans is the anomaly scan. Book this scan before the end of week 21. It is recommended to have this scan for assessment of risks and of the general health and well-being of the baby.

You can already have a growth scan at this time if you haven’t yet. This is to track how your baby is growing in size. Your sonographer can explain you in detail all the measurements that are taken during a growth scan appointment and how the results can be used.

You can also have a gender scan, although it is better to wait until after 20 weeks for clearer images that can confirm the gender of your baby with accuracy.

Schedule an appointment for a 4D Baby Scan to see your baby in motion, floating and, if you’re in luck, grasping and kicking. For better video quality, book an HD Live 4D Scan.

17 Weeks Pregnant

At 17 weeks, your baby is growing faster than ever. Unique fingerprints are forming and the kicking is growing stronger. Fat is being deposited under your baby’s skin, and soon those 3D scan pictures will look adorable. Your bump is visibly bigger now, so get comfy in stretchy clothes and flat shoes.

Baby development at 17 weeks

Your baby’s bones have started to harden and deposit calcium. The hand grip and legs kicking are now stronger and firmer. You are likely to feel some of the kicking already. Body fat is slowly accumulating under the skin and the heartbeat should now be regulated. Your baby’s heartbeat should be about twice as fast as your heartbeat. Weighting around 150g, the body is growing bigger and will start to look more proportionate. Ears should be fully formed and they are starting to reposition closer to the face.

An exciting development is that of her fingerprints. Around week 17, the fingertips and toes are starting to form unique fingerprints.

Your body and lifestyle at 17 weeks

Pay attention to movements in your tummy these weeks. You won’t feel strong kicks for at least a month yet, instead you will start to feel gentle fluttering movements. After 22 weeks, you might be able to guess if it’s a hand or a foot that’s kicking.

You might feel a little off-balance as your gravity center is shifting. Now is the time to give up wearing high-heels and wear flat or low-heeled shoes to avoid any falling or stumbling.

When sitting, try not to get up too sudden to avoid fainting. Keep exercising and maintain a healthy diet to feel fit and well during these months.

You will notice skin pigmentation around your nipples, some spots on your face and a dark line below your belly-button. These are normal and will fade after birth. The dark circles around your nipples will be gone in about a year after you’ll have given birth.

Ultrasounds you can take at 17 weeks

From 16 to 24 weeks you can take the Growth Scan, an ultrasound that helps the doctor take measurements of your baby and check how she is growing.

From week 17 onward, you can have a 3D/4D scan. It’s a good idea to document the early moves of your baby at week 17 in video and images. The images will look better however later on, when more fat will have formed under the skin.

Week 15 of Pregnancy

Eyebrows, hiccups and kicking are the most exciting developments of your baby at week 15 of pregnancy. Your symptoms are now changing by the day, with stuffy nose, swollen feet and bleeding gums as the most problematic symptoms at this stage. On the bright side, you will feel a stronger bond with your baby and become more conscious of the important changes ahead of you.

Baby developments at week 15

Your baby is now about the size of an orange, weighting around 2.5 ounces. Ears have most likely formed by now, so you may begin to have your chats and listen to music together. Squirming, hiccups and kicking are quite common at this stage, though you might not feel any of these yet. Eyes are still shut, but your baby can already sense light. Taste buds are forming, so she will soon be able to taste as well.

The genitals might be formed already, but we advise waiting at least until week 17 for a gender scan. Your baby’s body is becoming longer, especially the legs, and the proportion between body size and head size is more harmonious.

How your days are changing at week 15

You might notice around this time that your shoe size has increased. That is due to the levels of progesterone in your body. By the time of birth, your shoe size might increase by up to one size. Wear your most comfortable and stretchy shoes to avoid feet swelling. It’s also time to shop for maternity wear as your breasts and tummy will continue to increase. Other pregnancy hormones may lead to over-sensitive teeth and gums, in some cases even to bleeding. In the second trimester, blood flow to the mucous membranes is increased, so you might have a stuffy nose these days and sometimes even nose bleeding.

During this week, avoid gas-inducing foods, fried meals and large meals. Keep an eye on your weight gain. You should gain about one pound every week and have a meal schedule with five or six small meals a day plus fruits, smoothies and other healthy snacks in-between meals.

Ultrasounds at week 15

You can already book an appointment for next week to have a Growth Scan. The sonographer will check the growth rate and other measurements of your baby. Confirmation that everything is normal after your Growth Scan means that the risk of miscarriage drops below 1%.

Week 14 of Pregnancy

At week 14, your baby is about the size of an apple, weighting around one and a half ounces. Interesting developments are taking place, from tiny face muscles to peeing. Your early pregnancy symptoms have diminished by now, and you should start feeling better and more energetic during the following months. This is the most enjoyable part of pregnancy for most women.

Your baby’s development in week 14

Several facial features are developed around week 14. Your baby can frown and make all sorts of grimaces. The mouth roof is developed as well, and other particular features continue to fine-tune during this week. At your next ultrasound, you might be able to see your baby grimacing, grasping, sucking her thumb and being more active in general. Her body is growing longer and by the end of the week the length of her arms will become well-proportionate to her body.

How your days are changing during week 14

As the second trimester begins, you will notice that your energy levels return to normal and symptoms such as morning sickness, nausea and breast tenderness have diminished or disappeared completely.

You may experience abdominal aches due to the stretching of your belly muscles. Snoring, breast growth and an increase in appetite are other symptoms you may experience during week 14. A common symptom that appears at the start of the second trimester is forgetfulness. Your memory might feel foggy at times. This is not a severe symptom and should not be a reason to worry.

If you haven’t already announced your pregnancy to friends and colleagues, now is the time to do it. A small bump will start to show soon and the risk of miscarriage is low by this time. The announcement will also enable you to make sure that the environment at work is safe for your pregnancy.

Ultrasound scans at week 14

The next important ultrasound scan will be at week 16: the Growth Scan. This will check the measurements of your baby and confirm the healthy development. If everything is normal at the growth scan, the risk of miscarriage drops under 1%.

You will be able to find out your baby’s gender starting with week 17, through a gender scan or a 3D scan. You can already start thinking about whether you want to know your baby’s sex or not, and make a decision for your next appointment. Finding out the baby’s sex is always optional during our ultrasound appointments.

Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for the Second Trimester

Prenatal yoga is a great exercise for mums to be. When practiced safely, you will feel more energized, more comfortable and your body will be stronger and more flexible. If you’ve been practicing yoga regularly in your first trimester of pregnancy, you will now notice an increase in energy and a general decrease in discomfort. This is the most enjoyable time for exercise, as the pregnancy symptoms from the first trimester have diminished and the major physical changes of the third trimester are not an obstacle yet.

How is yoga different in the second trimester?

Now that a small bump is becoming visible, yoga practice will help you to become aware of the responsibility for the little one your carry. Yoga helps you reflect on this newly learned selflessness and on letting go and accepting.

Your baby is starting to shift the centre of gravity towards the growing belly, putting pressure on your back. This means you will have to modify your balance poses and use support for most of the poses.

At your prenatal yoga classes, you will learn how to adjust your practice to alleviate discomfort in the lower back and other sensitive areas. Standing poses and balance poses are very beneficial in the second trimester, as they build the muscles in your legs and prevent swelling, but most of them have to be adjusted by using support such as a chair. Warrior I and Warrior II are excellent poses that will help you improve your balance and strengthen the knee joints and thigh muscles. Don’t avoid them if you feel worried about your balance, and instead practice these poses near a wall.

Safety tips for practicing yoga in the second trimester

As your sense of balance gets affected by the growing belly and joint and muscles have loosened up, be extra careful during your exercises. Don’t push yourself by locking into a yoga position for too long or forcing your body over its limits. Overdoing it at this stage of pregnancy can result in injuries. If your yoga class is not dedicated to prenatal exercises, make sure your instructor knows that you are pregnant and in order to give you advice on what support to use during standing poses and how to adjust poses to accommodate your bump and release the pressure on your lower back. Avoid poses that involve lying flat on your back. This can put pressure on your spine and can restrict blood flow to your womb. Choose a side-lying position as your resting pose instead.

One Delicious Pregnancy Smoothie for Every Trimester

Blend all the essential vitamins and minerals for your current trimester in a tasty and healthy power combo smoothie.

First Trimester: The Mango Avocado Power Up Smoothie

Start your day with this fresh and thick green smoothie. Avocado and mango are rich in folate, which plays an important role in cell growth during your first trimester. Pumpkin seeds and spinach contain iron, while yoghurt contains calcium, both essential during the first months of pregnancy.

You need:

  • 1 avocado
  • A spoonful of pumpkin seeds (raw)
  • 1 mango
  • 1 small yoghurt
  • Optional: 50g (2 oz) spinach (for extra leafy points)

Peel the avocado, remove the seed and split it in 4 or 6 cuts. Blend it all together with the sliced mango, the pumpkin seeds and the yoghurt. Add fresh spinach leaves to increase iron intake. If the mango is not very ripe and sweet, add one tablespoon of honey and squeeze a lemon half. That’s it! You’ve got one large, energizing smoothie for you and your baby.

Second Trimester: Almonds and Pineapple Smoothie

This is mouth-watering and healthy smoothie, perfect for your nutrition plan during the second trimester of pregnancy. Raw almonds are the key ingredient, as they are rich in Vitamin E and Calcium, essential for these months of pregnancy. Pineapple completes the vitamin intake with its rich amounts of Vitamin C (though you can also replace it with orange juice). Bananas are energizing and make a delicious thick base for your smoothie. Use non-sweetened coconut milk instead of milk: it contains plenty of saturated fats and adds an exotic taste to your smoothie.

You need:

  • ½ cup of raw almonds
  • ½ pineapple
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup of non-sweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Grind the almonds into fine bits and blend it in with the coconut milk and fruits. Add honey. Set aside a pineapple slice for decoration. Enjoy this smoothie in the morning or as a brunch snack.

Third Trimester: Energizing Banana Smoothie

Bananas are rich in Vitamin K, which needs to be in sufficient values when you’ll go into labour. To top this with Vitamin E, Calcium and Iron, add apricots, spinach leaves and almond milk.

You need:

  • 1 banana
  • 2 small apricots
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 10 to 20 fresh spinach leaves

Cut the fresh spinach leaves in fine bits. Peel the banana and the apricots and slice them. Blend it all together with the almond milk. This smoothie will keep your energy levels up during the day, while providing essential nutrients for you and your baby during the third trimester of pregnancy. As a bonus, the Vitamin E contained in almond milk helps prevent stretch marks.

The Anomaly Pregnancy Scan and the Most Common Abnormalities It Detects

The anomaly scan is a detailed ultrasound scan, used for determining physical abnormalities of the foetus early on. The best month for an anomaly scan starts with the 20th week of pregnancy. Most women take the scan between this time and the 24th week. What is the anomaly scan used for and why is it recommended to have it? Find out below.

What is the use of an anomaly scan?

With the help of the anomaly scan, the doctor can take a close look at your baby and your uterus to check that everything is developing normally. Usually a scan lasts around 30 minutes, during which major physical abnormalities are checked by looking at certain factors. Your doctor will look at the ultrasound from various areas and angles and assess your baby’s heartbeat, the position of the placenta and the amount of amniotic fluid around your baby. Measurements to check the baby’s growth and development will be carefully taken in detail, and the baby’s organs will be examined as detailed as the visibility on the scan allows.

Common abnormalities that are checked for during the anomaly scan

Your doctor will also look for signs of some particular disorders when looking at the anomaly scan. Some of these conditions are:

  • Heart conditions, for which your baby’s heart is examined during the scan
  • Spine abnormalities: the doctor will check if the spine and skull are developing normally
  • Certain genetic disorders
  • Chromosomal abnormalities: the doctor will check if the number of chromosomes is normal and for related conditions such as the Down syndrome.

Remember, it’s not always possible to check everything in full details, as there are a lot of factors that can impede having a clear view in certain areas. If, due to these factors, the doctor decides that measurements will not be accurate, either a new appointment will be scheduled or an internal transvaginal probe will be used.

Why is it recommended to have the anomaly scan?

Even though the scan is accurate on the measurements that can be taken, not all abnormalities can be identified during this scan. The scan does, however, greatly reduce the risk of having a miscarriage or severe birth defects due to lack of knowledge about certain abnormalities early on during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor and keep yourself informed about the uses and limitations of the anomaly scan to fully understand how you and your baby will benefit from this scan appointment.

Nutrition Guide for Your Second Trimester

At this stage, what your baby needs most is to grow. Most expecting moms feel more energized during the second trimester and begin to put on weight. Vital systems start to develop and kicking can be felt already. Here are the most important vitamins and minerals you will need for a healthy development during your second trimester of pregnancy.

1. Vitamin E

A good balance of Vitamin E and Omega oils is healthy for you as well as for your baby. Vitamin E helps prevent and heal stretch marks, while contributing to your baby’s development. Vitamin E in excess is not recommended. Avoid taking dietary supplements and try instead nuts such as almonds and pine nuts, spinach and green olives. These vitamin-rich foods are healthiest in their raw form and will satisfy the recommended daily dose in a balanced diet.

2. Vitamin C and Zinc

Vitamin C and Zinc are both critical in aiding your immune system and preventing infections. There is also evidence that Vitamin C and Zinc can help with the development of the baby’s nervous system. Try including strawberries, kiwi and other fruits in your diet, as well as bell pepper, broccoli, lamb, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds and peanuts. Eating one portion of peanuts per week during pregnancy reduces the chances of your child developing allergies later on. Peanuts are recommended only for those without a family history of peanut allergy.

3. Vitamin D and Calcium

During the second trimester, your baby’s bones and teeth begin to harden. Calcium with Vitamin D and magnesium are essential in the formation of bones and teeth, so make sure you spend sufficient time in sunlight and eat plenty of cheese, milk, tofu, mushrooms, sesame seeds, almonds and Brazil nuts. Complete you diet with fish like Mackerel and Tuna, which are rich in magnesium and Omega-3 fatty acids.

4. Beta-Carotene

Beta-Carotene is the most popular provitamin A, widely available in plenty of fruits and plants. Because it converts to Vitamin A within your body, it plays an important role in the development of your baby’s vision. You will find beta-Carotene in orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, beetroots, mangoes and papayas. Sweet potatoes and lettuce are also a rich and healthy source. Beta-Carotene is a safe source of Vitamin A and does not have its toxic effects. It is highly recommended to not use dietary supplements of Vitamin A and to avoid consuming liver during pregnancy.