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Welcome to Week 21

This phase of your pregnancy should be quite pleasant, as all the uncomfortable early pregnancy symptoms will likely disappear and your belly will not yet have grown big enough to cause you discomfort.

Update on Your Body

Your uterus has now moved about half an inch above your navel. You have possibly gained around 5-7 kilos by now, and people around you may have started noticing your baby bump. You will begin to experience some itching due to dry skin this week and in the weeks that follow. Your feet may swell a little in the weeks to come. The veins in your legs may become prominent, indicating the onset of varicose veins. However, in most cases, it is possible to avoid swollen feet and varicose veins by taking the right precautions (read on to know what these are).

Update on Your Baby

Your baby continues to swallow amniotic fluid, and derives nutrition from it. The digestive tract continues to mature too. If you are having a little girl, her vagina has fully developed by now, though it will continue to develop further up until her birth.

Your Baby’s Size

10.5 inches, or the size of a carrot.

Tips for an Expectant Mom

DOS

If you notice the onset of varicose veins, take early measures to stop them from worsening. Avoid standing for long periods, schedule breaks through the day, keep your feet elevated and wear special socks to improve blood circulation.Minimal swelling around the ankles is normal and is caused by the same factors responsible for varicose veins. Manage it by keeping your feet elevated, sleeping with a pillow beneath your feet, minimising your salt intake and asking your partner to give you a gentle foot rub with coconut oil.Severe leg swelling during pregnancy may be caused by high blood pressure or water retention. Consult your doctor if the swelling appears more than usual, or is accompanied by pain.Your skin needs to stretch to accommodate all the extra weight. This, and dry skin caused by pregnancy hormones, is likely to make your skin itchy, especially around your belly and breasts. Apply a moisturiser, petroleum jelly or plain coconut oil generously on your arms, legs, thighs, belly and breasts to treat the itching. Make sure to massage it in at least twice a day, especially after your bath and at bedtime.

Tips for an Expectant Dad

Dos

You may notice a renewed spirit in your partner, as her body adjusts to pregnancy and the early pregnancy symptoms disappear. Spend some quality time with her and savour this new phase. Take her out for lunch or buy her a bunch of flowers or a box of chocolates, just so she knows how much you appreciate her.The more your baby hears your voice, the better. So, talk, read and sing to your baby. You may even feel movement by placing your hand flat against your partner’s belly.If your partner has swollen feet, offer her a foot massage to help relieve her pain.

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