Posted by: mommyq | February 24, 2005

21 Weeks

I almost forgot that today was update day!! Time I really moving quickly!

Today has been a weird day as I think I am experiencing some Braxton Hicks contractions (which as you will see from the update below, is pretty normal). I have put a call into my midwife just to be sure! Also, heartburn has been REALLY bad this week! I have a nice big bottle of Tums that has become my new best friend!

On to the update:
Your baby is around 25 cm long from head to toe (or 10 inches) and weighs just under ½ a kilogram (or about 1pound). Most women have definitely felt their baby move inside them now, although the sensations may still be sporadic and infrequent. By 22 weeks, your baby’s nervous system completely ‘connects’. The vital link between their brain and spinal cord (the brain stem) now matures and many nerve cells make vigorous connections. When this happens your baby becomes capable of recognising warmth, light, sound and pain. While primitive brain waves have been detected in unborn babies as early as 7 weeks, it is not until 22 weeks that sustained patterns can definitely be recorded. Some women will now notice that their baby ‘jumps’ with a loud sound.

Mommy Note: I have heard that if you put a flashlight to your belly, your baby can actually see the light and may respond to it! I think that is so wild!

Your baby’s skin is increasingly being covered by vernix. A thick, white, greasy cream that protects their skin in their watery environment. This disappears by 40 weeks (or if your baby is born more than a week early, you will notice it is still on their skin). Your baby’s eyelids are still fused shut but the retinas of their eyes are fully developed and they now have distinct eyelashes and eyebrows. Your baby’s hair follicles are now pigmenting to give your baby’s hair colour, looking either dark, fair or red.

Babies at this stage typically like to lie in a transverse position (or crossways), with their feet and bottom on one side of your belly and their head on the other side (rather than head down). Your baby’s placenta is now processing about 1 litre of blood per hour (or 50 pints every 24 hours) and by 40 weeks this will increase to about 12 litres per hour (or 600 pints in 24 hours)!

A few women experience Braxton Hicks contractions from around this time. These can feel like a ‘hardness’ or a tight band being pulled across your belly. Many women find them painless and may be unaware of them (unless their caregiver points one out while feeling their belly). A few women feel Braxton Hicks as mild cramping, especially if it is not their first baby. Braxton-Hicks contractions are also known as ‘tightenings’. They are ‘practise’ contractions that tone the uterus and stimulate your baby. Every time your baby feels the uterus tightening around them it stimulates their circulation, similar to a brisk rub on their skin, or a massage!

Are you 21 weeks pregnant? Check out PregnancyCorner.com’s week by week calendar to learn more about you and your baby.

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Responses

  1. Suzie, I can’t believe you are 21w already!!!

    Have you heard from your MW yet??

    • Not yet, but I didn’t think it was necessary to page so I just left a message for the MW in clinic today. If I don’t hear back in 1/2 an hour I will page the MW on call.

  2. Wow – time flies so quickly – 21 weeks. So much has happened and yet the baby is still about a pound. Amazing…

    • Yeah, but when you think about it…it started as something microscopic in size! LOL And, 1 pound is REALLY HEAVY when it is sitting on your pelvic bone!! LMAO

      • That was kind of what I was trying to get at – there’s so much happening and yet the baby’s only 1 pound – so much in such a small space – it’s definitely awe inspiring.


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