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Being pregnant

Your pregnancy: 21 weeks

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.

By Today's Parent
Your pregnancy: 21 weeks

Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com

What's going on in there: Fetal development at 21 weeks

Your baby is now the size of a popsicle, measuring about 27 centimetres (10.5 inches) long from head to toe. At 21 weeks pregnant, your womb will start to feel cramped soon, but your baby still has lots of room to twist, turn and do the occasional flip for now.

Belly size pregnancy woman measure. Happy young pregnant woman with tape measuring belly. Therapy, healthcare, motherhood concept. Nature / Getty Images

On the move

Your baby’s arms and legs are now in proportion. Cartilage throughout your baby’s body is turning to bone, and neurons between her brain and muscles are connected. All of these developments have given her more control over her limb movements, which explains all the late-night dance parties that seem to be going on when you’re trying to sleep.

Pregnant woman in bed yawning with a nursing pillow Jose Martinez / Getty Images

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Budding taste buds

By 21 weeks, your baby is practising swallowing and digesting. She is taking tiny sips of amniotic fluid each day and tasting the flavours of the foods you’re eating. Keep this in mind as you plan those ultra-healthy pregnancy meals and snacks (and those, er, not-so-healthy cravings and indulgences). Some research suggests that babies who are exposed to a wider variety of flavours in utero turn out to be better eaters once they start solids. If you want your little one to turn into a toddler who gobbles up his kale and carrots, you better eat your fair share now.

Pregnant woman making healthy smoothie Vasil Dimitrov / Getty Images

Twenty one weeks pregnant symptoms

At 21 weeks, your bump is growing—and so is the rest of you—which may be leaving some surprising marks. Those pink, red or purple streaks can appear as your body moves into major expansion mode, striping your breasts, stomach, bum, thighs and hips. Stretch marks occur when the supporting tissue under your skin gets torn. About half of moms-to-be will get them, and they’re more likely—and more visible—if you’re fair-skinned. Your chances of stretch marks also increase if your mom had them during her pregnancy. For the most part, they’re beyond your control, but stretch marks can be worse if you pack on a lot of weight quickly, which is another reason to gain slowly and steadily over the coming months (aim for about one pound a week up to 30 pounds by D-day for those of average pre-pregnancy weight. (If you have a higher or lower body mass index prior to pregnancy, your weight gain will be different.)

Although there’s no surefire way to prevent stretch marks, many moms swear by belly butters and oils. If nothing else, using a heavy moisturizer on your growing body can relieve the dryness and itching associated with stretching skin. The good news? Stretch marks usually don’t stick around forever. After baby arrives, they’ll fade to a less noticeable silvery shade or disappear altogether.

Pregnant woman with stretch marks standing by a crib Pekic / Getty Images

What's on your mind this week

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Signing up for prenatal class

Prenatal classes can be super-helpful for new parents-to-be. Not only do they cover breathing and pain-management techniques to use during labour but they also teach newborn baby care and the basics on swaddling, bottles and breastfeeding. Participating with your spouse or delivery-room partner can help make sure that you’re both feeling more confident and on the same page about delivery day. There are lots of different approaches, from hypnobirthing (kind of like our generation’s Lamaze technique) to standard hospital classes. 

doula with natural grey hair examines a pregnant woman MarsBars / Getty Images

Just for kicks

Start pinning

By week 21, you’re officially halfway through your pregnancy, and it’s probably all starting to feel really, well, real. This may be causing some prenatal anxiety. You’re having a baby, after all! Now is a good time to put your ideas down on paper—or screen. If you’ve been dreaming about a pink flamingo-themed nursery for that girl you now know you’re having, start planning it. Create a Pinterest board of ideas and get going on a to-do list. Outlining what you’d like to accomplish in the coming weeks will help you build a baby registry and channel all that anxiety while keeping it fun. 

Pregnant Woman Holding A Cot Mobile Toy, Preparing Nursery Bedroom

Pregnant Woman Holding A Cot Mobile Toy, Preparing Nursery Bedroom Oscar Wong / Getty Images

Baby names

Creating a brand new life is a beautiful process. Honour that beauty with a name that means “beautiful.”

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Pregnancy to-do list: 21 weeks

Start organizing your baby shower

Have you set a date for a baby shower? Who’s organizing it? If friends are making the plans, they’ll want to check with both sides of the family to pick a convenient time and location that works for everyone. Check out our tips, including cute baby shower themes, appetizer recipes and more. Be sure to click through these risqué shower games (if you think Grandma and Auntie Barb would be cool with that!).

Shot of a pregnant mother to be receiving gifts from her friends at her baby shower PeopleImages / Getty Images

Baby shower games NSFW

Never have I ever (new mom edition)

What you’ll need: Shot glasses and alcohol—and a virgin drink for the mom-to-be How to play: Play this classic drinking game in homage to the bar-hopping days of yore. Read aloud from pre-collected new-mom “never have I evers” (“Never have I ever been thrown up on twice in one night,” etc.) and whoever has experienced what was read, takes a shot. You may want to save this one until after the luncheon has been served.

a group of friends gather to play a game of never have i ever with shot glasses Photo: iStockphoto

Make-a-baby

What you’ll need: Toilet paper rolls, rulers How to play: Have your guests partner up and face each other, standing about two metres apart. One partner will place a toilet paper roll between her legs while the other partner places a ruler between hers. When the mama-to-be calls, “Make a baby,” the first pair to successfully stick the ruler in the roll without dropping either object wins. Remember: no hands allowed. If you don’t have rulers, Little Things Favors suggests plungers or sticks.

a group of women are playing a game outdoors together Photo: iStockphoto

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Bobbing for nipples

What you’ll need: A tub filled with water, a timer, an assortment of baby bottle nipples How to play: Just like the county fair classic — only instead of apples, you’re bobbing for nipples! Plop a handful of nipples into the tub of water. Blindfolded, hands tied and on their knees, each participant has 60 seconds to bob for as many nipples as they can.

the top nipple of a baby bottle Photo: iStockphoto

Not-so-hot potato

What you’ll need: A baby rattle, a timer How to play: Help the future mom catch some future ZZZs. Gather all your guests into a tight circle with one person holding the rattle. Start the timer for one or two minutes, depending on the size of your group. As each person is handed the rattle, they must come up with a “not tonight” excuse before passing it on to the person beside them. Ex: Not tonight, honey, the baby just barfed in my mouth. If you’re holding the rattle when the buzzer goes, you’re out.

a colourful wooden baby rattle Photo: iStockphoto

Paci-pass

What you’ll need: Two pacifiers, straws How to play: As noted by Beau Coup, this one is great for a co-ed shower. Divide your party into two teams and stand in parallel rows. Everyone puts a straw in their mouth. Each team must pass a pacifier to the end of their row and back using only the straws (no hands!). First team to get their paci back to the start wins.

a group of male and females friends laughing together Photo: iStockphoto

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Know your nursing bra

What you’ll need: A nursing bra from each guest How to play: In this take on the bridal shower lingerie guessing game, have all of your guests bring in a nursing bra that they feel represents their personality. The guest-of-honour will then guess which bra belongs to each person.

a nursing bra from walmart Photo: Walmart

Labour or lewd?

What you’ll need: Images of women’s faces (some during labour, some during orgasm), paper and pens How to play: Display one image at a time and have your friends guess whether the woman in the picture is in labour or mid- big O. You’ll be surprised how similar the expressions are! Players write down their guesses before the answer is revealed. Whoever correctly guesses the most expressions wins and is crowned the Orgasm Expert.

a woman's face in labour

Photo: iStockphoto

Mad Libs: Conception story

What you’ll need: A Mad Libs template, pen How to play: You get to write the story of how baby was made! In true Mad Libs style, have your guests help fill in the list of missing words (making it as inappropriate as possible). Then, have one person read aloud exactly what went down the night baby was conceived. Project Nursery has some fun templates if you’re in need of some examples.

a man and woman in bed together Photo: iStockphoto

Read more: Retro and graphic nursery style What to wear to your baby shower Next up: 22 weeks pregnant

Your pregnancy: 21 weeks

This article was originally published on Aug 17, 2017

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