Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 21-25
Baby: Your baby is steadily gaining fat to keep warm. Growth rate is slowing down, but its organs are still maturing. Your baby's oil glands are making a waxy film, called the vernix caseosa, that covers the skin to keep it supple in the amniotic fluid. Buds for permanent teeth are beginning to form.
Mom-to-be: You're starting to show! Your uterus is starting to extend above your navel. You've probably gained 10-14 pounds by now.
Tip of the Week: If you're interested in childbirth classes, now's a good time to start looking for one.
Baby: Your baby's muscles are getting stronger every week now, and the eyelids and eyebrows are developed. Your baby moves a lot and responds to sound, rhythm, and melody. If you sing and talk to your baby now, those sounds may later soothe your newborn.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus is still growing, and you're probably feeling pretty good -- no more morning sickness. You may still be getting leg and foot cramps, though, and mild swelling of your ankles and feet.
Tip of the Week: To curb cramping, eat more calcium and potassium. Have a glass of milk before bedtime or snack on potassium-rich foods, such as grapefruits, oranges, and bananas. If you do get a leg cramp, try flexing your toes back toward your face and keeping your leg straight.
Baby: Your baby's skin is still wrinkled because your baby still has more weight to gain. Fine hair, called lanugo, on the body sometimes turns darker.
Mom-to-be: You've probably gained about 12-15 pounds. While pregnant, you may notice an increase in vaginal secretions that are typically clear-to-yellowish with a faint smell. If the color or odor changes significantly, check in with your health care provider to see if you have an infection. Does the small of your back ache? Lying down, getting massages, and applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to the area can help.
Tip of the Week: As your skin stretches, it may become dry and itchy. Keeping it moist with lotions or creams can help.
Baby: Your baby is starting to make white blood cells, which will help it fight off disease and infection, and may respond to your touch or sounds. If you haven't felt the baby hiccup yet, you might now.
Mom-to-be: Expect to gain about a pound per week this month. Your health care provider may test you for gestational diabetes between this week and 28 weeks.
Tip of the Week: Your partner might be able to hear the baby's heartbeat by putting an ear to your abdomen.
Baby: Your baby's skin now becomes opaque instead of transparent. The baby's body is still covered with folds, as it needs to grow into its skin. Heartbeat can be heard through a stethoscope or, depending on the position of the baby, by others putting an ear against your belly.
Mom-to-be: Besides your uterus growing upward, it may be getting bigger on your abdomen's sides. You may have hemorrhoids, caused by increased blood flow, constipation, indigestion, and heartburn.
Tip of the Week: To soothe hemorrhoids, apply an ice pack or witch hazel, or try a sitz bath (soaking your bottom in shallow warm water). Over-the-counter suppositories and/or medicated wipes may also help. Don't take laxatives or mineral oil.
What's Happening Inside You?
By the end of the sixth month, your baby's finger and toe prints are visible. The eyelids begin to part and the eyes open.
Your baby may respond to sounds by moving or increasing the pulse, and you may feel the baby hiccupping.
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