You may start to notice the appearance of stretch marks on your belly around the twenty-first week of pregnancy. Your baby’s taste buds are developing and he practices swallowing amniotic fluid during pregnancy week twenty-one. Also during this week think about starting Kegel exercises to improve more than just the muscles of your pelvis.
Pregnancy Week 21: Baby’s Development and Amniotic Fluid
Your baby weighs 10 ½ ounces and is now seven inches long. His taste buds are forming.
Your baby is practicing swallowing. The only thing that he has to swallow is amniotic fluid. So now he breathes and swallows the amniotic fluid. He also urinates and excretes meconium into the amniotic fluid. This means that his kidneys and digestive system are working just fine.
There is no need to worry about your baby excreting in the amniotic fluid and dirtying the water. Your amniotic fluid is sterile so everything going through your baby is sterile also. Your amniotic fluid is also constantly regenerating. Your body is absorbing and replacing the fluid at a rate of about once every three hours.
Pregnancy Week 21: Stretch Marks
Your belly is expanding rapidly which is stretching your skin rapidly also. Stretch marks can be a concern for some moms-to-be. The stretch marks result from the tearing of the supporting tissue under your skin.
Healthcare providers agree that there is nothing you can do to prevent these red and purple streaks. Many pregnant women use creams on their belly in order to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. These creams normally contain cocoa butter or vitamins A, C, or E.
I used Avon’s Moisture Therapy Lotion during my first pregnancy and I did not get any stretch marks on my belly. I did not use it as faithfully with my second pregnancy and I do have a few stretch marks now. Did the lotion help to prevent the stretch marks? I don’t know if it was the lotion, my younger skin, or the amount that my belly stretched. Even if the creams do not prevent stretch marks, at least your belly will feel soft and smooth.
Pregnancy Week 21: Kegel Exercises
You have been concerned with keeping your entire body in shape. You will also want to keep your pelvic floor in shape. Pregnancy and childbirth will stretch out the muscles in this area. Kegel exercises help to keep these muscles from permanently stretching out.
Doing Kegel exercises is easy. You can do them anywhere, anytime. All you need to do is tighten and relax the muscles in your vaginal and pelvic floor area twenty times.
These exercises will help with bladder control and help to prevent hemorrhoids. Kegel exercises also have one more added benefit: many women report better sex and orgasms.
For more pregnancy weeks and fetal development you can read:
Pregnancy Week 17
Pregnancy Week 18
Pregnancy Week 19
Pregnancy Week 20
Click here to find more information on your pregnancy and baby’s development.
Fit Pregnancy (2009). Pregnancy Calendar. Retrieved: April 8, 9, 2009. Web Site: fitpregnancy.com/calendar/40251887.html
Myers-Gorrie, Trula, Slone-McKinney, Emily, & Smith-Murray, Sharon (1998). Foundations of Maternal-Newborn Nursing (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: W. B. Saunders Company.
What to Expect (2009). Weekly Pregnancy Calendar. Retrieved:April 8, 9, 2009. Web Site: whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/landing.aspx