We hope you are enjoying your blog series on what to expect from your pregnancy week by week. This post covers weeks 21-24.
Welcome to second half of your second trimester! For a lot of women, this is the best time during their pregnancy because the morning sickness abates and the cute baby bump shows. While there is still a risk of complications, most babies are past the critical stage at this point, so many women use week 21 to inform friends and family about the pregnancy. Your baby is about the size of a carrot at 21 weeks, and your placenta grows in size and function.
The much-anticipated baby bump comes with some cautions. Your center of gravity has changed; flats are a safer option. You can also use lotions to help ease your stretching skin, but you may wind up with stretch marks. These are just a natural part of pregnancy.
Feel the urge to serenade your baby bump? Go ahead! At this stage you may be rewarded with some fluttery kicks as your baby responds to your voice. Your baby’s lungs are developing and will baby start taking some breaths.
On the other end, literally, you may notice some hard bumps around your anus. These are called piles and are the result of the growing pressure and weight. Passing stool with piles (aka hemorrhoids) can be painful so eat plenty of fiber-rich foods and drink water to keep your stool soft. Over the counter topicals can help with the discomfort.
Dripping breasts. I bet you didn’t see that coming! No, nothing is wrong (unless the liquid is dark or bloody). This is colostrum and marks the start of your breasts getting ready to provide milk. You can purchase breast pads (also useful during nursing) to keep your bra dry and ease the irritation. Your belly continues to expand, but so do your ribs! Baby needs some space and your body is accommodating him or her. You may be out of breath a little more, so take it easy. An ultrasound at this point shows a baby with proportional limbs, and the little one may be sucking their thumb.
If there were concerns about pre-term delivery, week 24 is when the baby has a very high chance of survival (with assistance) outside the womb. As your belly continues to grow, you may feel some pain. Your skin is stretching, your breasts are heavy, your back is sore from the additional weight and its distribution. While this is normal, you should continue to do gentle exercise if it is safe to do. Just be sure to not push yourself too hard. Nourish with healthy food and let your body rest.
Consider Cord Blood Banking
Every week of your pregnancy you are thinking about the arrival of the little one. You keep them safe in the womb by taking care of yourself, but what about after the birth? Continue to keep them safe by investing in affordable, accessible, cord blood banking. It is the most effective way to address 80+ possible diseases, including some cancers, later in your child’s life. Visit our website to know more.
Reviewed by Paul V. Holland, MD