In the 21st week of the pregnancy you are much more relaxed as you are halfway through your pregnancy and the baby is
growing well. Pregnancy becomes easier as the body has coped with the difficulties of earlier pregnancy stages. It is preparing for the difficulties to be faced later during delivery.
You can take permission from your medical practitioner and follow some low impact exercises such as yoga, walking or light swimming. Mild exercise can be helpful in reducing problems such as varicose veins and backaches. If the body and mind is healthy, this can help to avoid post partum depression faced by some women after delivery. The symptoms of post partum depression can be characterized by fatigue, irritability, inability to cope with a newborn baby and can even lead to suicidal thoughts in some women. These symptoms can be reduced if women take good care of their physical and mental health also if she is well supported by her family members she can cope with the stress of a delivery in a better manner.
Your Symptoms: Due to your increased weight and increased hormones, you may get hot more easily and sweat more often. You may also be experiencing painful leg cramps (make sure you’re drinking enough water.) Baby’s movement will also be quite pronounced by now.
Baby’s Development: Baby is beginning to lay down some fat stores.
Baby’s Size: 24.5 cm (size of a carrot). 240 g.
To Do: Discuss parenting views and desires with your partner.
An ideal exercise can be selected by you to remain supple and flexible throughout pregnancy. Many activities such as running and weight training are recommended by some and discouraged by others. Cycling, horse riding, skiing or rollerblading need to be avoided at all stages. Safer methods like walking, swimming, yoga, aqua natal classes, pilates, dance and low impact aerobics can be done under medical supervision. Remember to keep yourself active throughout the pregnancy. Drink lots of water before and during the exercise, warm up before doing any form of exercise and avoid exercising flat on your back after the first trimester. Wear loose fitting breathable clothes and flat supportive shoes to avoid tripping and falling. Avoid overdoing any exercise and stay away from all dangerous sports.
The baby’s blood circulation is functioning quite well by now. The umbilical cord continues to thicken in size and grow in length as blood travels with considerable force through the body to the baby. The baby will become larger in the second trimester and the placenta is now almost equal in size to the baby. The baby’s crown to rump length will be around 7.2 inches and the baby will weigh around 10.5 ounces.
In this week, the baby’s digestive system matures and grows. The intestines contract and relax. The baby practices swallowing the amniotic fluid to further mature the digestive system. Many babies start hiccupping which is quite funny as the mothers experience small repetitive movements in the abdomen. The eyebrows and eyelids are fully developed and the fingernails also fully cover the fingertips. A baby is said to hear your conversations and can hear you talking, reading or singing at this stage. It is found that newborns suck more vigorously when you read them a story that they have heard frequently while they were in the womb. Many people read epics, classics and spiritual books which are said to have a positive effect on the baby as well as chant sacred mantras or play soothing music to relax the baby. You can communicate with your baby and develop a bond with him/her from this stage.
Changes with your body
As the baby begins to gain more fat, your weight will also increase. You can expect to have gained around 10-15 pounds of weight by now. You will be able to feel your uterus about ½ an inch above your naval. Strangers will be able to tell that you are pregnant by now.
You can notice leg cramps or aches and pains in your legs that grow stronger. To reduce these symptoms one can use pregnancy pillows or normal pillows to support the legs while at rest. Maternity support belts can be used during the day to avoid edema and discomfort in the ankles and legs throughout pregnancy. Maternity support hose help to reduce pregnancy swelling and varicose veins problems which can occur due to the increase in weight leading to pressure on the legs while standing. A quick remedy for swollen legs is to wrap them in a cold wet cloth before elevating them on a pillow for support. As your weight keeps increasing you tend to become clumsier and are likely to fall so you should avoid wearing heels at all stages of pregnancy. Wearing loose and comfortable clothes along with flat shoes is advisable to avoid falling and getting hurt.
What to expect
You will notice an increase in appetite now as you need 500 extra calories per day to support your heightened metabolism. It is best to avoid food high in fat or processed food at this stage especially if you want to avoid unhealthy weight gain. You can expect to get strong food cravings at this stage especially for specific foods. If the cravings are unhealthy ones like cigarettes, beer, or other such prohibited food, you can contact your doctor.
You might observe swelling in your feet and legs which can be reduced by supporting the legs with pillows or props while sitting. Water retention is another problem faced by most women causing swelling in the arms and legs which can be improved by having a healthy and balanced diet. The more you relax during pregnancy it is likely the baby will be relaxed as well. Babies pick up the stress and discomfort of the mother very easily right from the womb. Moderate exercise can help to keep your muscles strong and flexible and can also relax you while reducing the discomforts of pregnancy such as backache and constipation. It is important to exercise with care during pregnancy. Report immediately to your healthcare provider if you notice any vaginal bleeding, blurred vision, nausea, dizziness, fainting, breathlessness, heart palpitations, sudden change in body temperature or sharp pain in abdomen and chest.