Drag to read about a different week.


    Your baby’s digestive system kicks in.

    Fetus face in the twenty-first week

    Your baby’s development

    She’s tasting and digesting.
    By your 21st week, not only have your baby’s important systems developed, but many of them are now operating in preparation for functioning on their own.

    Your baby’s digestive system is put to work. She has probably started swallowing amniotic fluid and absorbing small amounts of sugar from it. Sugars pass through her developed digestive system, giving these organs important practice.

    Your baby’s immune system is beginning to take shape as well. In fact, about 70% of the immune system is in her gut, so developing a strong immune system from birth begins with creating a healthy digestive tract.

    Other developmental highlights for the week include:

    • Your baby gets a “taste” of what you’re eating, since what you’ve eaten changes your amniotic fluid
    • Your baby’s bone marrow takes over its permanent job of making red blood cells
    • Arms and legs are now in proportion
    • Movements become more coordinated as muscles strengthen and neurons connected to her brain continue to develop
    A group of women exercising together

    Your nutrition and health

    Childbirth is in a class by itself.
    With an active baby growing inside, you might want to consider taking a childbirth preparation class. It’s one of the best ways for you and your partner to prepare for delivery. Your doctor can probably suggest classes that are a good match for the type of birth you want to prepare for. Here are some things to consider:

    • It’s an ideal way to learn more and alleviate any fears or apprehension you might feel
    • Trained childbirth educators provide comprehensive, helpful information about labor and delivery that extends well beyond breathing techniques
    • Expectant parents usually take classes between months 6 and 7 of pregnancy
    • Classes often include 6 to 8 weekly sessions or offer more condensed weekend options
    A bowl of Brussels sprouts

    Things to think about now

    Don’t forget the iron!
    With your body hard at work producing red blood cells, your 21st week of pregnancy is an ideal time to be sure you’re getting 27 mg of iron each day to avoid the risk of anemia.

    What happens next week

    Your baby is in discovery mode.
    Your 22nd week of pregnancy is all about discovery for your baby as his senses continue to develop.