What does my baby look like?
Over the next few weeks, your baby’s taste buds will continue to develop and they’ll be busy practising swallowing in readiness for life outside your womb.
They get all their oxygen from your blood via the placenta until they take their first breath after they're born.
Smoking decreases the amount of oxygen in the placenta, so it’s very important to stop if you’re still smoking.
Your symptoms - what's happening
Spotted a stretch mark?
Stretch marks are pink or purple marks that appear on your bump, or possibly boobs and thighs. They eventually fade to silver.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy make your skin more prone to stretch marks as your bump grows. Creams that claim to prevent or stop them are unlikely to have any effect, because they can’t penetrate deep enough to where the damage is.
However, it won’t hurt to very gently massage your bump with nice oils or creams if you find it relaxing, and might make you feel better about your new ‘badges of honour’.
Keep an eye out for swollen feet and hands
If rings on your fingers feel a bit tight or your shoes a bit snug, this is probably due to the increased fluids in your body, known as oedema.
However, get medical advice from your midwife, doctor or the hospital straight away if you have the following signs:
- Sudden severe swelling
- Swelling on your face as well as your hands and feet
- Bad pain under your ribs
- You are vomiting
- You have a severe headache or problems with your vision.
These symptoms can be signs of pre-eclampsia.
Actions to take
Is it safe to diet during pregnancy?
Pregnancy is not the right time for a weight-loss diet. It is a time to eat well for both you and your baby. If you try to lose weight, you and your baby may miss out on nutrients that you need to stay healthy and strong.
If you’re concerned about weight gain, remember that if your diet is healthy, much of what you put on will be lost with the birth of your baby and the placenta.
What is BMI and why does it matter?
Don't forget your pelvic floor!
Make sure you give your pelvic floor muscles a workout as part of your daily routine. Toning up your pelvic floor muscles will help you ease your baby out and recover more quickly after the birth.
They will also help stop you weeing by accident, especially when your growing baby starts to press on your bladder.
“I exercised throughout both my pregnancies, right up until my due date. I was a lot more tired in the second pregnancy, because I was running around after my daughter, but I always did something active because it made me feel better.”
Aileen, mum of two
Find out more about managing your weight by keeping active.
2. 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).
3. Mennella JA, Jagnow CP, Beauchamp GK (2001) Prenatal and postnatal flavour learning by human infants, Pediatrics 107(6): E88: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11389286 accessed 12 March 2015].
4. Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012) Mayes’ Midwifery, 14th edition, London, Ballière Tindall, pp. 370–2.
5. Brennan M, Young G, Devane D (2012) Topical preparations for preventing stretch marks in pregnancy, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 11: CD000066: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23152199 [accessed 10 February 2015];How can I prevent stretch marks?Hide details
ℹLast reviewed on April 1st, 2015. Next review date April 1st, 2018.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 17 Aug 2017 - 15:53
I had circlage at 19weeks because my cervix opens at 24weeks my baby boy was alive for 2dys & past on now im 22weeks bt i feel like my baby is kicking the stitch and i feel mild pains is it normal? please help im just nervous
By Midwife @Tommys on 17 Aug 2017 - 16:29
Hi, it is completely understandable that you are feeling so nervous in this pregnancy given what you have been through. It is lovely that you are feeling your baby move about however they would not be able to kick so much so that the stitch comes out or on your cervix so your go into labour. With regards to the pains that you are feeling I would need a little bit more information such as the type of pain, how often you are feeling them etc.? Also some pain can be due to a urine infection so ensure that you have had your urine tested recently by the midwife or doctor. If you are having any vaginal loss, and/or pains are on going then do ring the maternity unit for advice.
By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Aug 2017 - 15:53
it does sound like you are busy with your little ones. Could you call your unit and see what they advise. I fully appreciate that it would take some time to organise childcare. It is good to know that your bladder has settled put a pad on and monitor if there is any loss and call the unit an hour after that. If you have a thermometer at home I would also just check to see that your temperature is normal (36.1-37.2) also monitor for any odour from the discharge.
Take care of yourself
Anna- Tommy's Midwife
By Anonymous (not verified) on 1 Aug 2017 - 22:00
Thanks for your advice, I did go to my local day assessment unit (as the frequency I needed to go to the toilet increased again) and I do have some sort of infection, they'll get the results in a couple of days and prescribe whatever antibiotics are necessary. A doctor checked and my cervix was still closed, waters still intact, thank goodness! A massive relief, thanks so much for advising me to go, the midwife was really nice and I didn't feel I'd gone in unnecessarily. I have had two miscarriages in the past year so feel very anxious a lot of the time so it's difficult to know when I'm being concerned for a reason or not. Thanks very much, it's lovely to have the peace of mind and treatment for an infection. Kind regards, Siobhan
By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Aug 2017 - 13:31
Hi and thank you for posting. Going to the toilet every 15 minutes seems quite excessive and tedious. Although you don't have any pain, the sheer number of times you are needing to go to the toilet would make me think that we need to exclude both a urinary tract infection and ruptured membranes in view of your first baby being premature. As you mention the wet underwear could just have been pregnancy discharge which can be increased especially in the warmer weather.
As you are over 18 weeks you can be seen at the Day Assessment Unit at your unit. Look on the front of your notes and contact them now. They will check your urine and may perform a speculum examination to see if your waters have gone.
I hope all is well but please go in to be checked for your peace of mind and let us know how you get on.
[email protected] or call 0800 0147 800
By Anonymous (not verified) on 1 Aug 2017 - 14:51
Hi again, thanks for getting back to me. Fortunately the frequency of urination stopped pretty much after I posted to you! So that must be several hours ago. Would you still think I need to be seen? I haven't had anymore watery discharge (since about 9pm last night, which I mentioned previously). My husband is away and I have three little children at home with me, that said if you'd advise a trip I'd do anything to make sure this little one stays safe regardless of the 'hassle' of sorting childcare! My second and third babies were both 39 weeks, by the way, just the first was early at 32 weeks. Thanks again, Siobhan
By Anonymous (not verified) on 1 Aug 2017 - 10:43
Hello, I'm 22 weeks and this morning I keep needing the toilet! Maybe every 15 minutes. It doesn't hurt and it's all clear but if I was out somewhere it would be so inconvenient. Is this normal at this stage? I'm feeling well otherwise although yesterday I had two incidents (one about 10am, one about 9pm) where my underwear felt wet and I know it wasn't urine. I was fine and dry inbetween and have been dry since. I'm presuming this is just discharge and not my waters leaking. My first pregnancy baby came at 32 weeks and when my waters went they didn't stop flowing. Thanks so much for your help.