Tommy's PregnancyHub

21 weeks pregnant - all you need to know

Wow - you’re halfway there! Your baby is growing hair and starting to look much more like the baby you’ll meet at the end of your pregnancy.
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What does my baby look like in week 21?

Your baby weighs in at around 350g and is about as long as a carrot. Although your baby’s ears began to form early on, they’ll start to be able to hear around now. They’ll be able to make out sounds from outside, including your voice and the voices of people around you.

Talk and sing to your bump if you feel like it, and encourage other family members to do the same - it can be a nice way to let others get involved.

It sounds a little strange but your baby has been growing a fine hair called lanugo all over their tiny body over the last few weeks. You’ll be relieved to hear it usually disappears before they're born.

The hair on their head and eyebrows is starting to become a little thicker at the roots and showing signs of pigment. 

Your pregnancy symptoms in week 21

Headaches in pregnancy

Mild headaches are common in pregnancy, often caused by hormones or dehydration.

However, if you’re more than 20 weeks pregnant, have a bad headache that lasts for more than two or three hours and paracetamol doesn’t help, it could mean you have high blood pressure. This can be a sign of pre-eclampsia.

Find out what to do if you have a severe headache that will not go away.

Are you suffering from cramps, swollen feet, indigestion or heartburn?

Here’s our guide to 10 common pregnancy complaints (and how to avoid them).

What to do in week 21

Do you have questions about your scan results?

If you’ve discovered that there’s a health complication with your baby, you’re probably feeling very anxious and shocked.

You can find lots of advice and information on the Antenatal Results and Choices website. They also have a helpline: 0800 077 2290.

Find out more about screening and diagnostic tests in pregnancy.

Don’t forget you can also talk to our midwives from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

There are a number of ways you can get in touch:

-        Call our free PregnancyLine on 0800 0147 800

-        Email [email protected]

-        Comment or message on the Tommy’s Midwives Facebook page.

What can I eat to boost my iron levels now I'm pregnant?

If your blood tests show that you are anaemic in pregnancy then your doctor or midwife will prescribe an iron supplement. You can also boost your iron levels by eating these iron-rich foods: red meat, oily fish, eggs, pulses (peas, beans and lentils, for example), wholegrain or wholemeal breads, nuts, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit and some breakfast cereals (look for ones with added iron).

Eating or drinking foods with vitamin C will help your body absorb the iron. Avoid tea and coffee though, because they can stop the iron being absorbed.

I am vegan or vegetarian: is it safe during pregnancy?

As long as your diet is balanced and includes a range of foods from all food groups then being vegan or vegetarian in pregnancy is perfectly safe. If you have any questions about your diet and pregnancy then don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or midwife.

Specifically, eggs, peas, beans and soya foods such as tofu are good sources of iron and protein and are good choices as meat replacements. It is also important to eat at least four portions of calcium-rich foods a day. If you avoid dairy products then this can be found in dark green vegetables such as kale and spinach as well as in dried fruit, nuts and seeds.

Find out more about vegetarian or vegan diets during pregnancy.

Enjoy bonding with your baby

You're halfway to meeting your baby! Stroke your tummy, talk to your baby and enjoy your pregnancy as much as you can.

  1. NHS Choices. You and your baby at 21–24 weeks pregnant http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-21-22-23-24.aspx (Page last reviewed: 28/02/2017  Next review due: 28/02/2020)
  2. Lennart Nilsson (2009) A Child is Born, Jonathan Cape
  3. Graven SN, Browne JV (2008) Auditory development in the fetus and infant, Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews 8(4): 187-193: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1527336908001347
  4. Arabin B (2002) Music during pregnancy, Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology 20(5): 425–30: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1469-0705.2002.00844.x/abstract
  5. Newham J, Wittkowski A et al (2014) Effects of antenatal yoga on maternal anxiety and depression: a randomized controlled trial. Depress Anxiety. 2014 Aug;31(8):631-40. doi: 10.1002/da.22268. Epub 2014 Apr 30. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.22268
Review dates

Last reviewed: 26 June, 2018
Last review: 26 June, 2021