Taste Buds are Forming on Your Baby’s Tongue!

During Week 21 of pregnancy, your baby continues to grow and develop rapidly. Here are some key developments and milestones happening during this stage:

  1. Size and appearance: By Week 21, your baby measures around 10.5 to 11.8 inches (26.7 to 30 centimeters) in length and weighs approximately 12.7 to 15.2 ounces (360 to 430 grams). The body is becoming more proportionate, with the head and body in better alignment.
  2. Movement and coordination: Your baby’s movements are becoming more coordinated and purposeful. They can kick, stretch, and even twist and turn in the amniotic fluid. You may start to feel these movements more distinctly as they become stronger.
  3. Developing senses: Your baby’s senses continue to develop. Their hearing is improving, and they can hear a wider range of sounds, including your voice, music, and external noises. They may even respond to familiar voices or sounds by moving or kicking.
  4. Swallowing and digestion: Your baby continues to swallow amniotic fluid and practice swallowing and digesting. The digestive system is maturing, and the intestines are absorbing nutrients from the fluid.
  5. Bone development: Your baby’s bones are becoming harder and more developed. The skeletal system continues to grow and ossify, or turn from cartilage into bone, providing support and protection.
  6. Hair growth: Hair continues to grow on your baby’s head. The hair follicles are developing, and the hair may have color and texture. However, the final appearance of your baby’s hair may change after birth.
  7. Developing taste buds: Taste buds are forming on your baby’s tongue. They can taste the flavors of the amniotic fluid, which can be influenced by the foods you eat.
  8. Eyebrow and eyelash growth: Your baby’s eyebrows and eyelashes are becoming more prominent. The eyelashes are developing, and the eyebrows may have more defined shape and color.
  9. Developing immune system: Your baby’s immune system is developing, producing white blood cells to help fight infections. This process is important for building their immunity before birth.
  10. Developing lungs: While the lungs are still maturing, your baby’s respiratory system is developing further. The lung tissue is becoming more complex, preparing for breathing air after birth.
  11. Brain development: The brain continues to develop rapidly, with billions of neurons forming connections. This development is crucial for various cognitive and sensory functions.
  12. Sleep and wake cycles: Your baby may have established regular sleep and wake cycles. They may have periods of activity and rest throughout the day, which you may notice through their movements.

Remember that these milestones and changes are general guidelines, and the exact timing and progression of development can vary slightly from one pregnancy to another. Your healthcare provider can provide more personalized information about your baby’s growth and development during your prenatal appointments and ultrasounds.

Preparing for the Third Trimester!

As you enter the third trimester of pregnancy, which typically starts around Week 28, you can expect several changes and preparations. Here’s what you can expect during this stage:

  1. Growing belly: Your belly will continue to grow as your baby gains weight and prepares for birth. You may notice increased discomfort, stretching sensations, and changes in your posture.
  2. Increased fetal movements: As your baby grows, you’ll likely feel more pronounced movements and kicks. Pay attention to your baby’s patterns of movement and contact your healthcare provider if you notice any significant changes.
  3. Braxton Hicks contractions: You may start experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions, which are mild, irregular contractions that help prepare your body for labor. These contractions are usually painless but may be uncomfortable.
  4. Shortness of breath: As your baby grows and takes up more space in your abdomen, you may feel more shortness of breath. This is because your expanding uterus puts pressure on your diaphragm.
  5. Fatigue and sleep disturbances: You may experience increased fatigue as your body works hard to support the growth of your baby. Discomfort, frequent trips to the bathroom, and difficulty finding a comfortable sleep position can disrupt your sleep.
  6. Preparation for childbirth: During the third trimester, you’ll likely start preparing for labor and childbirth. This may include attending childbirth education classes, discussing your birth plan with your healthcare provider, and making arrangements for your labor and delivery preferences.
  7. Prenatal check-ups: You’ll have more frequent prenatal check-ups during the third trimester. Your healthcare provider will monitor your baby’s growth, check your vital signs, and conduct various tests to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
  8. Gestational diabetes screening: Around Week 24 to 28, you’ll undergo a gestational diabetes screening test to assess your blood sugar levels. This helps identify gestational diabetes, a condition that can develop during pregnancy.
  9. Pelvic discomfort: As your body prepares for labor, you may experience increased pelvic discomfort, pressure, or pain. This is due to the baby’s head descending into the pelvis and the relaxation of the pelvic ligaments.
  10. Preparation for breastfeeding: If you plan to breastfeed, you can start attending breastfeeding classes or workshops to learn about breastfeeding techniques, proper latch, and milk supply.
  11. Nesting and home preparations: Many expectant parents experience the nesting instinct during the third trimester. This is a strong urge to prepare the home for the baby’s arrival, such as setting up the nursery, organizing baby essentials, and washing baby clothes.
  12. Finalizing maternity leave plans: If you’re employed, it’s important to finalize your maternity leave plans and discuss them with your employer. Familiarize yourself with your workplace’s policies regarding maternity leave, benefits, and the process for notifying them of your leave.

Remember to communicate any concerns or changes in your health to your healthcare provider. They can provide guidance, address your questions, and ensure a healthy and smooth transition into the third trimester and the final weeks of your pregnancy.

Everything You Need to Know About Braxton Hicks Contractions!

Braxton Hicks contractions are sporadic, irregular contractions of the uterus that occur during pregnancy. They are commonly referred to as “practice contractions” and are usually painless. Here’s what you need to know about Braxton Hicks contractions, including their signs and how to manage them:

  1. Signs of Braxton Hicks contractions:
    • Timing: Braxton Hicks contractions are typically irregular and don’t follow a consistent pattern or frequency.
    • Intensity: They are usually mild and don’t increase in intensity over time.
    • Duration: They can last for 30 seconds to 2 minutes but generally don’t last longer.
    • Location: Braxton Hicks contractions are usually felt in the front of the abdomen but can also be felt in the back.
    • Absence of other labor signs: They don’t cause the cervix to dilate or efface (thin out) like true labor contractions.
  2. Causes of Braxton Hicks contractions:
    • Uterine muscle practice: Braxton Hicks contractions help prepare the uterine muscles for labor by toning and strengthening them.
    • Increased activity: Activities like dehydration, physical exertion, or sexual activity can trigger Braxton Hicks contractions.
    • Full bladder: A full bladder can irritate the uterus and lead to contractions.
  3. Tips for managing Braxton Hicks contractions:
    • Hydrate: Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration can trigger or worsen Braxton Hicks contractions.
    • Change positions: Change your position or activity to see if it reduces the frequency or intensity of the contractions. Resting on your left side may be particularly helpful.
    • Empty your bladder: If you’re experiencing frequent contractions, emptying your bladder can relieve any pressure on the uterus.
    • Practice relaxation techniques: Engage in relaxation techniques like deep breathing, taking warm baths, or practicing prenatal yoga to help ease any discomfort caused by the contractions.
    • Monitor patterns: Pay attention to the patterns of your contractions. If they become regular, increase in intensity, or are accompanied by other signs of labor (such as the breaking of your water or bloody discharge), contact your healthcare provider.
  4. When to seek medical attention:
    • If you’re unsure whether your contractions are Braxton Hicks or true labor contractions, it’s best to contact your healthcare provider for guidance.
    • If you experience contractions that become regular, increase in intensity, or are accompanied by other signs of labor (such as the breaking of your water or bloody discharge), contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Remember, while Braxton Hicks contractions are a normal part of pregnancy, it’s essential to differentiate them from true labor contractions. If you have any concerns or questions about the contractions you’re experiencing, reach out to your healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance.

Categorized in: