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Your Weekly Pregnancy Development: Week 21

Your baby could begin to taste for the first time

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Week 21

The digestive system goes to work

Week 21: Your baby starts to taste things for the first time

By your 21st week of pregnancy, not only have your baby's important systems developed, but many of them now are operating, in preparation for functioning on their own after birth:

  • Your baby might be about 7 inches in length, roughly the length of a carrot, by Week 21 of your pregnancy. She weighs almost 11 ounces.
  • Taste buds could begin to form.
  • Your baby's digestive system is put to work. By your 21st week of pregnancy, your baby has probably begun swallowing amniotic fluid and absorbing small amounts of sugar from it.
    •  Sugars pass through her developed digestive system, giving these organs important practice.
    • These sugars only make up a tiny part of your baby's nourishment.
    • Most of her nutrition still is delivered through your placenta and the umbilical cord.
  • Your amniotic fluid changes day to day, based on what you've eaten. Because your baby is swallowing the fluid, she gets a "taste" of what you're eating.
  • Your baby's bone marrow, rather than your baby's liver and spleen, takes over its permanent job of making blood cells.
  • By your 21st week of pregnancy, your baby's arms and legs are in proportion.
  • As muscles strengthen and neurons connected to her brain continue to develop, her movements become more coordinated.









Week 21

Your Week 21 nutrition and health

Consider taking a childbirth preparation class

With an active baby growing inside, you might start to focus on the excitement of her birth to come. Continuing to eat right and exercise regularly now can make that big day easier. Just make sure to consult your doctor before staring an exercise routine. A childbirth preparation class can make the big day easier, too. Here’s why:

  • Childbirth preparation class is one of the best ways for you and your partner to prepare for labor and delivery.
  • Your doctor probably can suggest classes that are a good match for the kind of birth you want.
  • Expectant parents usually take classes between months 6 and 7 of pregnancy.
  • Classes often include six to eight weekly sessions or offer more condensed weekend options.
  • Trained childbirth educators provide comprehensive, helpful information about labor and delivery that extends well beyond breathing techniques.
  • It's an ideal way to learn more and alleviate any fears or apprehension you might feel.

Don't forget the iron

With your body hard at work producing red blood cells, your 21st week of pregnancy is a key time to be sure you are getting 27 mg of iron each day to avoid the risk of anemia.

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