Pregnancy calendar

weeks pregnant

21 weeks pregnant - what's happening

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.

21 weeks infographic.

What does my baby look like?

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 (so they probably won’t come out furry!).

The hair on their head and eyebrows is starting to become a little thicker at the roots and showing signs of pigment. Do you think they’ll be blonde or dark?

See how your baby will develop over the coming weeks with BabyCentre's animated inside pregnancy video: weeks 21-27.

Your symptoms - what's happening

Sore head?

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).

Actions to take

Concerned 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.

Can I start doing yoga if I’ve never done it before?

Yes - yoga is a great exercise to do during pregnancy as it doesn’t put too much strain on your joints.

Yoga has been shown to reduce anxiety and to help women stay calm in pregnancy and labour.

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

Foods containing iron include 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, because this can have the opposite effect.

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.

Read more about supplements to take during pregnancy.

Sources

1. You and your baby at 21–24 weeks pregnant, NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-21-22-23-24.aspx [accessed 5 May 2015] (last reviewed: 11 February 2015; next review due: 11 February 2017).

2. Lennart Nilsson (2009) A Child is Born, Jonathan Cape, p.207

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[accessed 12 March 2015].

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 [accessed 12 March 2015].

5. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/da.22268/abstract;jsessionid=8356994E9CF8683BEBFA426268A1E65D.f01t03 p638

6. Ibid, p203

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Last reviewed on April 1st, 2015. Next review date April 1st, 2018.

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