Your Pregnancy: Week 21
• From the crown of his head to the bottom of his buttocks, your baby is about 18 cm (7 in) long and he weighs in at about 300 g (10.5 oz).
• If you were able to see a picture of your baby around week 9, you might have thought he was "top-heavy" because his head was so big compared to the rest of his body. But you wouldn't think that any more. Now his head and body are much more in proportion.
Feel like Bigfoot?
Are your feet and your lower legs swelling up these days? Many pregnant women are in the same boat, so don't sweat it. During pregnancy, your body tissues retain more water. In fact, about one quarter of the weight you gain is excess water, and this extra fluid usually collects in the feet and ankles.
You'll probably notice swelling most at the end of the day. Use it as an (excellent) excuse to put your feet up whenever you have a chance and avoid standing for long periods.
Signs of pre-eclampsia
While swelling of the feet and ankles is nothing to worry about at this stage of your pregnancy, if you find yourself wracked by a headache and your hands and face swell up rapidly or your weight suddenly surges, tell your caregiver immediately. Symptoms like these may be signs of pre-eclampsia, a serious complication of pregnancy which can be dangerous if left untreated. Pre-eclampsia manifests itself as a combination of the following symptoms:
• sudden weight gain due to water retention
• protein in the urine
• high blood pressure
• seeing spots or other vision changes
Really? I have to wear the bows?
It’s wonderful that people are excited about your pregnancy, from relatives who generously host a baby shower to strangers who chat you up on the street. But it can all get a bit… too much. We get it!
A year off with baby
Most Canadians are entitled to a year of leave, but did you know that your leave is divided into two parts: maternity leave and parental leave? Only mom can take the first weeks off (11 to 17 weeks, depending on your province) but either mom or dad can take the remaining 35 to 37 weeks off. Will you divide up the time with your partner?
Maternity Leave 101 gives you a good starting point in understanding details of your leave before you discuss it with your employer. Also note that Canada has new rules (the good kind!) about benefits for those who are self-employed.