21 weeks pregnant: Pregnancy tips and nutrition
At a glance
Your baby’s sense of taste and smell is further developing
Massage your feet to reduce cramps in your legs and calves
Drink water and wear a slight heel to improve circulation and leg muscle tone
Try eating five smaller meals each day to reduce indigestion
Baby's development at 21 weeks
Their sense of taste and smell continues to develop this week. They are stimulated ever so slightly by your amniotic fluid, which carries the aromatic molecules from the food you eat and your surroundings to baby. So by the time your little one is born, it will be attracted to the smell of your skin, your milk, and sweet taste (because amniotic fluid is slightly sweet).
Amazingly, baby will be familiar with foods you eat regularly in late pregnancy too. Soon the brain will be mature enough to memorize sensory experiences, so your eating habits can introduce your baby to your culture in utero.
If your baby is a boy, his penis will be visible on ultrasound. If you want to wait until birth to find out whether you’re having a son or a daughter, make sure you let the person doing the scan know so they don’t spoil the surprise.
Is your collar feeling a bit tight? It’s normal to experience a growing neck during pregnancy. That’s because the thyroid gland swells (along with your belly and breasts). But, as with so many things in pregnancy, this varies from one woman to another. This should stop in the not too distant future, when you give birth.
Heavy legs? Poor circulation could be a possible cause, with heat being a contributing factor. Here are a few tips to help. Start by drinking plenty of water (2 litres per day). Try and fit in a half hour walk each day. It’s a good idea to wear a slight heel to maintain muscle tone in your legs too. Sleep on your left side with your legs elevated to relieve the pressure of baby lying on your larger blood vessels. Plus, you can try spraying cold water on the backs of your legs from the ankle to the knee when you’re in the shower. Not particularly pleasant, but quite effective!
Indigestion been getting you down lately? It’s one of the unpleasant (and quite common) side effects of pregnancy. This is because hormonal changes make the upper stomach opening slacker, which makes it easier for stomach acid to get into the oesophagus, causing that uncomfortable feeling. The bigger the baby, the more it presses on the stomach, and the more likely you are to experience heartburn.
Here are a few tips to help. Try eating five small meals a day, instead of three large ones. Make sure you chew every mouthful properly. And if you suffer from indigestion at night, try propping up your head. That way, the acid can’t rise up so easily. If symptoms persist, contact your GP.