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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.

21 weeks infographic.

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.

If you are interested in more information about vegetarian or vegan diets find out more here.

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 (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:
  4. Arabin B (2002) Music during pregnancy, Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology 20(5): 425–30:
  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.
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Last reviewed on June 26th, 2018. Next review date June 26th, 2021.

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  • By Joy (not verified) on 2 Dec 2018 - 12:48

    Hi I'm 21 weeks pregnant , my partner and I would like to go shooting since its deer season. Will the sound of the gun affect the baby at all ? Thanks .

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Dec 2018 - 15:59

    We are not aware of any evidence to conclude that loud noises will negatively affect an unborn baby.

  • By Jennifer (not verified) on 2 Dec 2018 - 11:18

    Hi doctor I am 21 week pregnant my whole body is normal but my face looks too fat having double chin... People who look at my face easily judged that I m pregnant but my tummy is nt big though I hv my ultrasound normal can you recommend me any facial exercise during pregnancy

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Dec 2018 - 16:07

    If this is swelling of your face and is very recent, it would be advised to see your doctor or midwife to exclude pre-eclampsia. This is a condition associated with headaches, dizziness, pain in your upper abdomen, swelling in hands, legs and face and should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

  • By Khadijah Ali (not verified) on 3 Aug 2018 - 15:25

    Hi!i am 21 weeks but for the past few month I discovered yeast infection in my vagina .is it safe to rub kenacomb cream

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Aug 2018 - 10:07

    Hi, I would suggest that you consult your doctor for advice. kenacomb cream is not recommended during pregnancy.

  • By Elizabeth (not verified) on 20 Jun 2018 - 06:32

    My doctor discovered am 21 week pregnant and my worry is,i was told my baby head is facing down any thing to worry about?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Jun 2018 - 13:17

    Hi Elizabeth,
    It is totally normal for you baby to be head down, they can move around in different positions at this stage and it does not matter what position they are in until you are 36 weeks of pregnancy, at which stage you would want your baby to be head down.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Angel (not verified) on 19 May 2018 - 16:50

    Hi I was seeing my period all along notice my Tommy was getting so I did a pregnancy test it was positive went to the hospital they sound my belly got a heart beat measured my belly an exanine me den told me I am 21 weeks pregnant how is dat possible...? I had no symptoms nothing

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 May 2018 - 16:11

    Hi, It is possible to continue to have bleeds during a pregnancy and this may not be easily distinguished from a normal period. We hope you are pleased about the pregnancy and make good use of our website as you will need to catch up with all the information! Take care

  • By Filory jan (not verified) on 14 May 2018 - 13:31

    What i do.?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 May 2018 - 09:53

    Hi Filory Jan
    Any abdominal pain, at any gestation of pregnancy needs to be reviewed as soon as possible at your local maternity unit triage by a midwife and Dr. In most cases, it's just for peace of mind. But abdominal pain isn't always normal and so worth getting checked out. Don't forget to take your pregnancy notes with you too.
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Kortni (not verified) on 12 May 2018 - 11:13

    I was having abdomen pain on my right side went to the ER and found out it was from a fibriod that moved it was located outside on top of my uterus prior to this pregnancy and last year's miscarriage...
    now its on the left side it was causing alot of pain to walk also trying to sit up and get out of bed they prescribed me indocin for the pain temporary says it won't affect the baby now but it still possibly can later on I have taken Tylenol to help mask the pain but I was wondering because I am allergic to pcn is that medicine safe?
    I have only taken the one dose at the hospital which added stomach pain to what I was already feeling 2days later I seen a fibriod specialist he advised me its okay to take the medicine prescribed...since then I still refused and went back 2work so a coworker said try kosher pickle juice and it helped relieve alot of the pain and in a day or two it has faded alot nothing else helped during the 5days I was in pain not rest or stretching so is it possible that really worked or the fibriod pain just faded on it's own? is there anything else besides that will help me avoid the pain from coming back as I progress right now I am only 20 weeks???

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 14 May 2018 - 11:26

    Hi Kortni,
    Sorry to hear you have pain. As midwives, we can't advise about prescription medication as this is outside of our remit. Have you spoken to your pharmacist? Paracetamol is the preferred option for pain in pregnancy. If this isn't effective for you please speak to your GP.

  • By Abigail Naylor (not verified) on 7 May 2018 - 10:58

    Hi I’m 21 weeks 6 days today. I have felt my baby move the past week apart from since yesterday morning I’ve felt nothing. I gave birth to my son at 21 weeks in October so I’m worried about this baby now. I just want to thank you for any response that I may recieve.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 May 2018 - 12:47

    Hi Abigail
    If you are ever concerned about fetal movement, and babies normal movements are somehow different - eg less frequent or a type of movement that worries you, then you need to attend your local maternity units pregnancy triage/day assessment unit asap if you have not already done so. They will check you and baby over there - don't forget to take your pregnancy notes with you!
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Aziola (not verified) on 30 Mar 2018 - 06:51

    Am drinking one cup of coffee per day,dose it affect for my baby inside

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Apr 2018 - 16:38

    Hi Ayziola
    One cup of coffee per day is fine. Here is our calculator below to help add up what else may contain caffeine during your day that you eat or drink...
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

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