Tuesday, December 14, 2010

::21 weeks::

The foetus now weighs about three-quarters of a pound / 360 grams. Up until now she has been measured from crown to rump but from this point on the measurement will be from crown to heel. And from crown to heel she is approximately 10.5 inches / 27 centimetres long. The eyebrows and eyelids are fully developed and the fingernails cover the fingertips.

Your baby can now hear your conversations. If you talk, read or sing to your baby, expect her to hear you. Some studies have found that newborns will suck more vigorously when read to from a book they heard frequently in utero. If you want to try, pick a book now and read it out loud. Make sure you won't mind reading it over and over once the baby is here. It may be your baby's favourite bedtime story for a long time after birth.

You're probably feeling quite comfortable these days. This, in fact, may be the most enjoyable time in your pregnancy. You're not too big yet, and the usual aches and pains associated with pregnancy like nausea, frequent urination and fatigue are for the most part gone. Relax and enjoy while you can. The third trimester is just around the corner and with it comes some mild discomfort from carrying a baby that is nearly full-term.

• Note: Experts say every baby develops differently - even in utero. These foetal development pages are designed to give a general idea of how a foetus grows in the womb.

It's hard to be graceful when you're pregnant so don't be surprised if you find yourself getting clumsier these days. You're carrying more weight, your centre of gravity has changed with your growing uterus, and your fingers, toes, and other joints are all loosening, thanks to the effect of pregnancy hormones. Try to watch where you're going, and if you haven't already done so, say goodbye to high heels. They make keeping your balance more difficult, and can cause backaches.

Just how much weight you will gain by the end of pregnancy may be preying on your mind. Doctors are much more relaxed about weight gain in pregnancy now. Take the same approach and give yourself a break. It's also best not to worry immediately about losing weight after you've had your baby as your body can take anything from a few months to a year to recover nutrients used up during pregnancy.

Do see your doctor, however, if your weight is soaring or plummeting. Your doctor will usually check to see if your bump is measuring about right for your dates. If you are large-for-dates further investigations can be arranged to find out why.

A quick remedy I've found for swollen feet is to wrap them in a cold wet cloth before I put them up.

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