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21 Weeks Pregnant

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Your Baby

Check out what happened last week in your baby's development.

Heart throb. "What's that noise—the one that sounds like galloping horses?" Your baby's heartbeat gets stronger and louder every day. Up until a few weeks ago, your doctor needed a special device called a Doppler to hear it. Now all that's needed is a stethoscope. If you want to hear your baby's heartbeat at home, buy a simple stethoscope at the drugstore. (Dad, siblings, and grandparents may enjoy the chance to listen, too.) Your little one's beat can be difficult to distinguish from your own. Listen for the faster rhythm—a baby's heartbeat is 120 to 160 beats per minute, about twice as fast as your own. Many women think it sounds like galloping horses.

Snooze news. Your baby is already starting to sleep and wake in subtle cycles. Ultrasounds show that unborn babies may even settle into a favorite sleeping position. Yours might tuck her chin into her chest, clasp her hands under her chin, or tilt her head back.

Measuring up.Your baby weighs between 10 and 13 ounces and is around 9 inches long, the length and weight of a banana.


Your Pregnancy

Sore spot. Backaches, especially in the lower back, are quite common during pregnancy. And it's no wonder—your growing uterus is shifting your center of gravity and pulling your lower back forward. Meanwhile, the hormone relaxin is loosening every joint and ligament in your body, including the ligaments that attach your pelvic bones to your spine. This loosening of the joints is a good thing for childbirth: It allows your pelvis to expand to accommodate your baby's head. But it may mean an achy back for the next few months.

Back savers.To help alleviate back pain, make these adjustments in your daily routine. Whenever you sit, whether you're watching television or working, use a footrest to elevate your feet slightly. If you need to stand to do a task, like cooking or washing dishes, put one foot on a small step stool to take some pressure off your lower back. If possible, soak in a warm (but not hot) bath. If you have a backache that just won't go away, be sure to call your health care provider.

From the experts. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, but what if you can't stomach them? "Get creative," suggests Margaret Comerford Freda, Ed.D., R.N. "Drink vegetable juices, like V8, or try different toppings—cheese, for instance—that will dilute the taste of the veggies." Learn more tasty tricks from Dr. Freda.

 
 
 
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