You are 21 weeks pregnant or in your 22nd week of pregnancy (counting from the first day of your Last Menstrual Period).
Keep in mind that this information is approximate. Each pregnancy is different and growth rates vary. For variations and details, please talk to your doctor.
What’s happening to the baby?
- The part of the baby's brain and the nerve endings that control the sensory functions are continuing to develop - but are developed enough that the baby can feel touch. Your baby will be moving her hands around to feel different parts of the body including sucking her thumb.
- The baby’s taste buds are starting to form.
- Other details are also being ‘fleshed out’. The baby’s skin is still wrinkled and will fill up once the baby starts putting on more weight in the next few weeks.
- The lips are now distinct.
- The eyes have formed but the iris (the small dot in the centre of the eye) still lacks pigment and does not show what colour eyes the baby will have eventually.
- Your baby is about 17.5 centimetres long (Crown to rump length) and weighs about 370 grams.
What’s happening to mom?
- During your doctor visits, your doctor might be measuring the height of your uterus (fundal height) and comparing it to what it should be for your due date. For example, if the fundal height is lesser than what it should be for your due date, it might be that your baby is smaller than expected. In general, the doctors do not get too concerned with one measurement, instead they observe the trend. They might call you for more appointments if the fundal height is smaller or larger than expected and check before taking steps like additional ultrasounds.
- Most women start to feel the baby’s movements (kicks, wiggles or other movements) or “quickening” at this time (around 18-22 weeks). Many describe it as a fluttering sensation or a gas bubble in the abdomen. This is when it “hits” most women that there is a live baby in their body. As the pregnancy progresses, you might start feeling stronger movements like kicks. Many women might even confuse gas and other digestive movements with the baby movements. But do not panic if you do not feel the baby’s movements at this time. Discuss this with your doctor. First time mothers usually feel the baby’s movements a little later than mother’s who have had babies earlier because they do not know what to expect.
- Once you start feeling the baby’s movements, you will become more aware of when the baby is awake and active and when the baby is inactive. Generally, when you are active, your baby gets lulled to sleep and when you are resting, the baby gets active, many times disturbing your sleep with a jolt or later a kick. This is the pattern the baby adopts when he is born as well.
Checklist for mom
- Your baby might be able to hear what you say and other sounds. This is a good time to “tune in” and bond with the baby. Often, babies are able to recognise what they hear when they are in the womb. Talk to the baby. Listen to some soothing music.
- Learn about the benefits of breastfeeding for you and the baby. Get tips for breastfeeding from your doctor at the next visit. If you have inverted nipples, you might have challenges when breastfeeding. Discuss these breastfeeding challenges and their resolutions with your doctor beforehand.
- Get an early start and educate yourself about labour and delivery (in Parentree's collection of pregnancy articles). If you are interested in exploring childbirth classes, learn about childbirth classes from your doctor or hospital and schedule these in advance.
- Find out about hospitals and select a hospital. Make sure that the hospital is nearby and your doctor visits the hospital and it has all the latest medical facilities.
- If you have not already, learn about the glucose screening test. This is a preliminary test that is given to all pregnant women sometime during the 24th to 28th weeks of pregnancy to check for gestational diabetes. It measures how well your body can process sugar. Indian women, in particular, are highly susceptible to gestational diabetes. Discuss this with your doctor and schedule this test.
- You could even start finding a good paediatrician for your baby. Get a shortlist by talking to your to your friends, even your gynaecologist and Parentree parents in your area. Then start interviewing paediatricians.
Ideas for dad
- Along with your wife, learn about breastfeeding, labour and delivery, and childbirth classes. This way you can be a team in tackling the challenges of childbirth and breastfeeding.
- Make sure that you go for childbirth classes with your wife.
- These days, dads too play a big role in childbirth by being a labour coach. Read Parentree article on tips for the labour coach.
- Share your tips, tricks and knowledge with other Parentree members.
- Have the baby listen to music. The music could be Indian classical (there are even special ones for babies in the womb these days), western classical (Mozart’s music or Vivaldi’s Four Seasons are hot favourites with moms around the world) or any other music you fancy. Very loud music might startle the baby though.
Useful Parentree articles for this stage of pregnancy