21 Weeks

21 weeks (2nd trimester)

How your baby’s growing:

Your baby now weighs about three-quarters of a pound and is approximately 10 1/2 inches long —the length of a carrot. You may soon feel like she’s practicing martial arts as her initial fluttering movements turn into full-fledged kicks and nudges. You may also discover a pattern to her activity as you get to know her better. In other developments, your baby’s eyebrows and lids are present now, and if you’re having a girl, her vagina has begun to form as well.

How your life’s changing:

You’re probably feeling pretty comfortable these days. You’re not too big yet, and the usual discomforts associated with early pregnancy are, for the most part, gone. If you’re feeling good, relax and enjoy it while you can — the third trimester may bring with it a new crop of complaints.

That’s not to say you won’t have some minor glitches to deal with now. For example, increased oil production may contribute to the development (or worsening) of acne. If that’s the case, be diligent about washing well with a gentle soap or cleanser twice a day, and make sure that any moisturizer or make-up you use is oil-free. Don’t take any oral acne medications — some are very hazardous during pregnancy — or use any topical acne products without first checking with your practitioner.

You’re also more prone to varicose veins now. As your pregnancy progresses, there’s increasing pressure on the veins in your legs; higher progesterone levels, which may cause the walls of your veins to relax, can make the problem worse. You’re more likely to get varicose veins if other family members have them. Also, they tend to get worse with each successive pregnancy and as you age. To help prevent or minimize varicose veins, exercise daily, prop up your feet and legs whenever possible, sleep on your left side, and wear maternity support hose.

You may also notice so-called spider veins (a group of tiny blood vessels near the surface of your skin), particularly on your ankles, legs, or face. They may have a spider- or sunburst-like pattern with little branches radiating out from the center, they may look like the branches of a tree, or they may be a group of separate thin lines with no particular pattern. Though they may be a bit unsightly, spider veins don’t cause discomfort and usually disappear after delivery.

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