Bump Update: Week 21
You're past the halfway mark, mama! This week your babe's taste buds are starting to develop, and they're able to taste what you're eating by swallowing the amniotic fluid. By now, you're probably starting to feel your little babe, and with some newly proportional arms and legs, their space is definitely feeling tight...for everyone! The weight you've been gaining is starting to become apparent around your tummy and hips, and most pregnant women are starting to see signs of stretch marks.
This week you're probably noticing one of those unfortunate, but pretty much unavoidable, aspects of pregnancy: stretch marks. While most women are familiar with stretch marks in one form or another, whether it was on your breasts when they truly started growing, or when you went through your growth spurt during adolescence and got a few stripes down your thighs or hips, the silvery scars aren't necessarily strangers to your bod. Now that you've got a babe growing, and you are putting on weight in specific areas very quickly, don't be surprised to see more stretch marks than you ever thought could be on one person! Best case scenario, they'll be the white, silvery stretch marks that are quicker to fade, but most pregnant women experience some form of dark red or purplish stretch marks, particularly on their stomach, hips, and sometimes inner thighs. There are a lot of products and methods out there to try and help to prevent them from showing up, but the truth is genetics and skin elasticity are going to play the largest role in whether or not you end this year with a few marks. Do your best not to stress too much about it, but also make sure that you're using a heavy-duty moisturizer that will help keep your skin from drying out and causing irritation, as well as stretching. Drinking enough water plays a huge part as well!
Your baby is measuring around 10.5 inches from head to heel, and weighs around 12.7 ounces--the size of a carrot! This week, baby's taste buds are developing so they're actually able to taste what you're eating by swallowing a good amount of amniotic fluid. Depending on what you're eating, the amniotic fluid will have a different taste for your babe, and studies show that they will actually prefer those same tastes once they're eating real food too! This is good practice for swallowing and digestion later on. By ingesting the fluid daily, they're producing meconium which you'll see in their first few diapers once they're born. Babe is also getting good at working those arms and legs, which is probably why you're feeling a lot more kicking lately, and you can see them sucking their adorable thumbs on an ultrasound. But, now that baby's arms and legs are getting longer, they're definitely feeling the lack of space, and they'll choose to try out their acrobatics at what feel like the worst times. While babies in the womb actually sleep 16-20hr/day, you'll most likely feel kicks and rolls when you're trying to fall asleep, and unfortunately, that discomfort will only increase over the next couple of weeks.
If you're having trouble getting sleep, try a cup of calming tea before bed, and try listening to some soothing music or even an audio book.