Weeks 21 and 22:
Hello little baby,
So most of you has developed now, and it’s just a case of growing and practicing skills, maturing your little systems etc. There is not a big difference week by week as there was in the first 20 weeks, so I am enjoying imagining you getting bigger and more and more ready for life outside the womb with us!
We have received all the tests results that the gynae sent off at the last visit. All is well and a healthy pregnancy so far… so grateful.
Physically, I am feeling very pregnant. My skin on my tummy is really stretching and itchy some days, so I am being very careful with moisturising my skin. Each mommy has different skin types that are more elastic than others, so some get stretch marks, and some don’t. The biggest issue is to not gain too much weight too quickly, as that can contribute to stretch marks. I am very hungry some days, but I am eating sensibly and not like some old school people say: you are eating for two now! This is not true, and as long as you eat enough calories ( 300 extra/day) that are from a healthy source, we should be fine! I am finding that dividing my meals into smaller, more frequent portions helps with the hunger, energy levels and heartburn.
Braxton Hicks contractions (practice contractions to keep the uterine muscle strong and fit for labour) are becoming more noticeable and regular; especially after sex/orgasm, a big kick from you or a full bladder. My tummy goes rock hard for a few seconds, and I feel a little breathless even. No pain with it, so I know it’s normal. If it was painful (especially coming from my back and then round to the front) increasing in time and frequency, I know to contact our gynae, as that is not likely to be Braxton Hicks contractions.
Heartburn some days can get a little irritating so I am staying away from large heavy, spicy meals.
My tummy is so cute when I look at you in the mirror. I really can see I am pregnant now, and my belly button is now pushed out (I have an outie now). This is because the big muscles down the centre of my tummy are separating to accommodate my growing uterus; I need to be more careful with certain tummy exercises so the separation is not exacerbated. My back is also starting to ache some days (the tummy muscles used to support my back, but now that is not the case as they are stretching and separating). I sleep with a pillow between my knees and that has helped a lot.
My lovely Mommy:
Yes! I look more and more like a full term baby every day. I just have to fill out a bit, and of course grow and get chubbier. I have eyebrows, fine little eyelashes, lips and fingernails. I practice my sense of touch ( which is the first of all my senses to form) so I touch my face and body and grab at my umbilical cord as it floats by..I am sleeping in 12 – 14 hour cycles now. So some days if you think I have been a bit quiet, it may be during those cycles.
I am responsive to light and dark, so I know when it is day and night. I love it when you stroke your tummy and I am aware when you do it. I may even push back when you do.
I swallow my amniotic fluid to practice my skill of swallowing and to start stimulating my sense of taste.
I am roughly the size of a coconut now. I am still measured from my crown (top of my head) to my heel. I am 27 cm long and weigh around 310-350 g.
- Sign up/research antenatal classes.
- Look for a good Pregnancy photographer and look at prices, dates etc.
- Drink lots of water. Helps with constipation, settles Braxton Hicks and helps prevent UTI’s. It also helps with excess water retention.
- Calcium and Magnesium is important now as my bones and teeth are growing. Carry on with your prenatal supplements, dairy and dark leafy greens. A bonus tip is that dark chocolate is a good source of Magnesium. Yayyy.
- Take advantage of the energy boost that comes in the second trimester. Plan some special time away with Daddy if possible. Easy and comfortable to travel or do odd jobs around the house during this time.
Our Diary of a Pregnancy series is written by Sr Des Meyer, a Perinatal Educator, in private practice, who is based in Durban North. Sr Des has been a Childbirth Educator and Well Baby Clinic sister since 1991. Her passion lies in educating new parents to enable them to achieve their goals as confident parents. “Knowledge is power and a good foundation for the exciting years ahead.”