Your Baby can now suck the thumbs, and you might experience more swelling and possible problems with your gums.
Your Baby ’s development
Your Baby is about the size of a carrot, weighing about 360g and measuring around 27 cm in length.
The placenta: From about this week onwards, Your Baby will weigh more than the placenta, which, until now, was heavier than your baby.
Sucking reflex: The sucking reflex is also developing, enabling your baby to suck the thumbs. On ultrasound images, you might be lucky to see that from this week onwards.
The lanugo: Your Baby is completely covered with a fine, downy hair called lanugo. The lanugo helps hold the vernix caseosa on the skin and usually disappears before birth.
The protecting coat: The skin is still being coated with vernix caseosa — the protective substance that covers the skin up until birth.
You may continue to experience backaches, swelling, and, possibly, bleeding gums.
Gum and gingivitis: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make your gums more vulnerable to plaque. The result can be inflammation and bleeding, also known as gingivitis. This means, you are at a higher risk of infection, which can ultimately affect the health of your developing baby. Regular brushing of teeth and good oral hygiene is, therefore, important.
Swelling: You may notice that your legs and feet are swollen, especially in the evenings. Also known as edema, this swelling tends to intensify around this time. It happens when your small blood vessels leak fluid into nearby tissues.
What you can do
It’s important to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy while you’re pregnant. The best way to prevent or deal with gum problems is to practice good oral hygiene, such as regular brushing.
Go to the dentist: Try to go to the dentist at least once during your pregnancy and, ideally, not too late. Some dental clinics don’t treat women in the later stages of their pregnancy, fearing a procedure could induce labor. When you go to the dentist, make sure they know you’re pregnant — some also may require a medical certificate from your obstetrician. Certain treatments — the removal from amalgam fillings, for example — are not recommended to be performed during pregnancy.
- Fetal Development During Second Trimester, Mayo Clinlic, (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/fetal-development/art-20046151)
- 21 Weeks Pregnant, Whattoexpect, (https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/week-21.aspx)
- You and your baby at 21 weeks pregnant,National Health Service (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/21-weeks-pregnant/)
- Teeth and Gums in Pregnancy, NHS, (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/184604 )
- Week 21 of Your Pregnancy, Verywell Family, (https://www.verywellfamily.com/21-weeks-pregnant-4159022 )