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21 weeks pregnant: Tips and nutrition

Things are getting more interesting as your baby’s senses start to develop. Baby’s taste buds and sense of smell are detecting the same things as you through your amniotic fluid. Maybe you love curry? Maybe they will too.

    3-minutes read


    Your little one’s senses have developed enough to pick up the aromatic molecules from the things you eat, drink and even smell as they pass to baby through your amniotic fluid. Indigestion in pregnancy is very common and for some mums it can cause daily discomfort - read our top tips to help heartburn and indigestion. Any excuse for a foot massage? It could help reduce cramps in your swollen calves and legs. We have more tips to help circulation in your legs and help prevent those dreaded cramps. Read more on what to expect at 21 weeks pregnant.

    What happens at 21 weeks pregnant?

    Your baby at 21 weeks pregnant is now the size of a scrumptious carrot. Baby’s senses have developed enough to pick up the aromatic molecules from the things you eat, drink and even smell as they pass to baby through your amniotic fluid. By the time your little one is born, their sense of smell will identify your skin, your milk, and their taste buds will develop flavour preferences through the amniotic fluid and the food you eat.

    The most amazing bit is that baby will be partial to your favourite foods in late pregnancy too. Soon baby’s brain will be mature enough to memorise sensory experiences, so your eating habits can train baby to like what you like. Baby can also hear now so it’s a great time to get them into your favourite bands.

    What happens to your body at 21 weeks pregnant?

    Everything grows at 21 weeks pregnant, belly, breasts and even your neck. If you’re feeling a bit tight around the collar, it’s because your thyroid glands have started to swell, which is totally normal. As with so many things in pregnancy, it varies from one woman to another. You might not notice any difference and in any case, your neck should return to normal after you give birth – so don’t give away those gorgeous blouses just yet.

    What to eat at 21 weeks pregnant?

    Feeling the burn? Indigestion in pregnancy is very common and for some mums it can cause daily discomfort. This is because those good old pregnancy hormones make the upper stomach opening looser, so it’s easier for stomach acid to get into the oesophagus which causes that burning feeling. The bigger your baby, the more it presses on the stomach, and the more likely you are to experience heartburn during pregnancy.

    Fear not, here are a few tips to fight heartburn when pregnant:

    • Eat five small meals a day, instead of three large ones

    • Eat slower and chew every mouthful properly

    • Feel the burn at night? Prop your head with extra pillows so the acid doesn’t rise

    See your midwife or GP if you need help managing your pregnancy heartburn symptoms or if changes to your diet and lifestyle do not work. They may recommend medicine to ease your symptoms.

    What are the symptoms of 21 weeks pregnant?

    Week 21 pregnancy symptoms can include patches of darker skin on your upper lip, cheeks and forehead. This is called melasma or chloasma and sometimes known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’. Melasma during pregnancy affects about half of all mums to be. It is caused by pregnancy hormones which act on the cells which contain melanin causing it to produce more melanin which is the tanning pigment in your skin. Being out in the sun will darken these patches even more so it is a good idea to try and stay in the shade and make sure you wear suntan lotion of SPF 30 or more. Usually, the patches will clear up within a year of giving birth, but you can always blend them with tinted moisturiser, concealer or foundation in the meantime if they are making you self-conscious. Read more on about pregnancy make-up tips.


    How to improve blood circulation during pregnancy

    Heavy legs? Poor circulation could be the culprit, that’s because blood flow during pregnancy increases by nearly 50% putting extra strain on your veins and vessels.

    Here are a few tips to help those poor pins:

    • Drink at least two litres of water a day

    • Try and fit in a half hour walk each day

    • Wear a slight heel to maintain muscle tone in your legs

    • Sleep on your left side with your legs elevated to relieve the pressure of baby lying on your larger blood vessels

    • Spray cold water on the backs of your legs when you’re in the shower: refreshing and effective


    20 weeks pregnant: Tips and nutrition

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