Pregnancy Week 21

Woman who is 21 weeks pregnant

Relax! This week will probably be one of the most enjoyable weeks of your pregnancy. Here is what you can expect during this week.

Pregnancy Week 21a: What changes are occurring with your body?

If you place your fingers about a half inch above your belly button, you may be able to feel your uterus. The vast majority of people that you encounter will realize that you are expecting. If you notice that your lower legs and feet swell towards the end of the day, try to schedule a couple of times a day that you can sit and rest. If you seem to be battling oily skin and/or increased breakouts on your face or other parts of your body, wash your face with a gentle soap and water twice a day.

Many women enjoy this portion of pregnancy the most. They have survived many of the early pregnancy symptoms and are not so big that they feel incredibly uncomfortable. Try to relax during this time and enjoy being pregnant.*

Pregnancy Week 21: How big is your baby?

Up until this point your baby’s length was measured from the crown of their head to the bottom of their rear end (CRL). Now your baby’s length is measured from crown to heel (CHL).Your baby has grown to over 8 ½ inches long and weighs about 12 ounces.*

Pregnancy Week 21: What is happening with your baby?

Your baby’s eyelids have finished forming this week, and he/she is very busy moving around and swallowing amniotic fluid. You most likely have felt your baby move by this time and have realized that he/she is not necessarily on the same schedule that you are. As your baby swallows amniotic fluid, his/her digestive tract is continuing to mature. Your baby is also receiving some of the caloric intake from the amniotic fluid. If your baby is a little girl, then her vagina has fully formed but will continue to develop until her birth.*

Pregnancy Week 21: What should you plan for this week?

As you gain more weight during your pregnancy, you may notice that you are beginning to develop varicose veins which occur to some degree in the majority of pregnant women. They most often occur in the legs but can also be found in the vulva and rectum. Pressure from the growing uterus and blood flow changes can make varicose veins worse. Some women may notice a painless purple or blue spot on their legs, while others will have obviously swollen veins that are painful and require elevation. Swelling normally disappears after pregnancy, but the varicose veins often will not disappear altogether.

Pregnancy Week 21: Tips for making your pregnancy better

A urinary tract infection (UTI), or bladder infection, is a bacterial infection of the urinary tract. UTI’s are more common during pregnancy because of changes in the urinary tract. The uterus sits directly on top of the bladder. As the uterus grows, its increased weight can block the drainage of urine from the bladder, causing an infection. If the UTI goes untreated, it may lead to a kidney infection.

You can reduce the likelihood of developing a UTI by doing a few things:

  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water each day and unsweetened cranberry juice regularly
  • After urinating, wipe from the front toward the back
  • Urinate before and after intercourse
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting pants
  • Wear all cotton or cotton-crotch underwear and pantyhose

If the UTI goes untreated, it may lead to a kidney infection. Please see our information on UTI’s during pregnancy to learn what signs and symptoms to look for.

Pregnancy Week 21: Tips for mom’s partner

Did you know you could increase the chances of your partner getting a UTI? Urinary tract infections develop because bacteria gets inside the urinary tract, which is right above the vaginal area. This often can happen during sexual intercourse or different types of sexual contact.

You can help avoid bacteria getting into the urinary tract by showering before any sexual contact occurs and encouraging your partner to urinate before and after intercourse. These small acts can help her avoid the pain and discomfort that is associated with a UTI.

Last Updated: 1/2013