Week 21: Your pregnancy
Your baby's growth: Sleep patterns emerge
Beginning this week, your little one's sleep begins to settle into identifiable patterns. You might be able to tell when she is sleeping if you notice that her movements slow down dramatically.
Some experts believe that your eating and sleeping habits, along with how much light and noise there is in your environment, all combine to help your baby synchronize her internal clock.
Here are some other developmental highlights that occur this week:
- Brain growth. Her brain will be growing very quickly, especially the structure deep in the center of the brain responsible for producing brain cells. This structure will disappear shortly before birth.
- Organ maturity. Your baby's general growth pattern will slow down, but different organs will continue to mature, her heart will beat stronger (audible through fetal monitoring ), and her legs will reach the correct proportions.
What's happening with you
- Weight gain. The average mom has now gained 10 to 15 pounds. You may put on as much as half a pound to a pound a week from now on.
- Breathlessness. If you're feeling out of breath around week 21, don't worry that you're out of shape. As your body continues to change to accommodate your baby and your expanding uterus further compresses your lungs, breathlessness usually becomes more pronounced.
- Backaches. You may also notice your back aching a bit now, so it's a good idea to be conscious of your posture and take care to lift and carry properly.