Pregnancy Week 21
Break out the sparkling apple juice - today is an important milestone in your pregnancy! You’re now at the halfway point: twenty weeks accomplished; twenty weeks to go. From now on, your body will be preparing to give birth and your baby will be preparing for life outside your uterus.
The amniotic fluid is the perfect substance to support your baby’s movement. The baby can move in any way their brain and muscles direct: spinning, jack-knifing, turning and somersaulting. The amniotic fluid plays a major role in your baby’s growth and development. It keeps them buoyant, warm, and clean. It even gives them something to occasionally swallow so they can practice digesting and excreting waste.
Your baby’s heart is growing stronger and stronger. By this time, your baby’s heartbeat can be detected by a stethoscope. If they forget to offer, ask if you can listen during your next prenatal visit.
Your baby’s sleep habits begin to appear - periods of drowsiness and sleep alternate with periods of activity. Sometimes you can detect and anticipate these cycles.
Right now your baby looks like a miniature newborn. Its face looks peaceful with closed eyes, nostrils, and a nicely formed mouth. Every once in a while, its thumb or finger will slip into the mouth and your baby will practice sucking.
Your hair and nails tend to grow rapidly now that you’re pregnant because of improved circulation and metabolism caused by pregnancy hormones.
You may notice that your gums are sensitive and sometimes swell and bleed. Like other changes, gum sensitivity results from increased levels of pregnancy hormones. Check with your dentist if you experience severe gum pain or discomfort.