Your growing baby now measures 27cm from crown to heel and weighs approximately 300g. Around this week you will have your Anomaly Scan
At week 21 of pregnancy, the fetus measures approximately 27cm from crown to heel. From this point, the fetus is measured from crown to heel, rather than from crown to rump. Fetal weight is around 300g at this stage. The digestive system is now fully formed and the fetus is able to swallow amniotic fluid.
The amniotic fluid provides some nutrition, hydration and also helps to practice digestion. This also means that the fetus is able to taste some of the foods that you eat.
If the fetus is female, the uterus is fully formed now and the vaginal canal is also starting to develop and form. If the fetus is male, the testicles are now formed and are beginning to descend from the abdomen. They will descend fully when the scrotal sac has completed its development in the coming weeks. Although the reproductive systems are not fully formed, the external genitals may be visible on an ultrasound scan, making it possible to determine the sex of the fetus. Both the eyebrows are eyelids are now fully developed.
You may be feeling fetal movement by now and it is likely that the movements are becoming stronger and more purposeful, feeling more like kicks and nudges than fluttering. You may also be starting to notice a pattern of resting and activity in the movements.
Around this time, some women start to experience colostrum leaking from their breasts. This substance looks like milk, and is indeed the first form of milk that your body produces. You may also be starting to notice the appearance of stretch marks on your belly and/or breasts. Stretch marks occur when the tissue under the skin is torn when the skin is stretched. Stretch mark creams are available to buy, although there is no evidence of their benefit in reducing stretch marks.
Many women suffer from hot flushes during mid-pregnancy. This is caused by increased blood flow and is perfectly normal. If you are struggling with hot flushes, it may help to wear loose fitting clothing and avoid synthetic fabrics. Some women also notice changes in skin, hair and fingernails and toenails. Hair and nails may grow more quickly during pregnancy due to increased blood circulation bringing extra nutrients to hair follicles. Inflamed and/or bleeding gums are another common symptom during pregnancy and are, once again, the results of pregnancy hormones leading to an enriched blood supply. Avoiding sticky, sweet foods can help to reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth and help to reduce inflammation.
If you haven’t already had your second scheduled scan, you may have it this week. The scan will check fetal growth and also look at the development of the spine and internal organs.
At this time in the pregnancy there is often a sense of wellbeing and an absence of symptoms. However there may be troublesome aches and pains in the bones and muscles. These come and go. There should be no bleeding or significant abdominal pain. The fetal movement may be felt later with a first baby than if you have had one before. The sensation starts as initial flutterings and develop gradually into discrete movements.
The NHS offers an anomaly scan between 18 and 22 weeks. A better and more detailed view of the baby will be seen at 20 to 22 weeks. This provides better detail about organs such as the heart. If the baby is not in an ideal position the sonographer may find it difficult to assess the full detail and you may be asked to move around or come back later. If the sonographer has any difficulty or there are abnormal findings then you will be asked to return to see a specialist doctor. After this scan you will have an appointment with the midwife or, if there are any problems, the consultant.
If you want additional advice you can refer yourself to a private clinic. There you can have an appointment with a midwife, specialist and you can have a high quality ultrasound scan. If you do not have confidence in the NHS scan for whatever reason it can be repeated. In a private clinic there should be more time, often better equipment and access to highly skilled expertise. If you have had a previous late miscarriage or carry twins then a cervical scan is readily available.
' Professional and reassuring 'Helen Campbell
The sonographer was ready as soon as I arrived, and she was extremely calming, personable and professional. The scan and blood test where efficient without feeling rushed and all very easy. These appointments can feel uneasy and make you feel anxious but I felt reassured and in professional hands the whole time
I saw Kate throughout my first pregnancy and am now doing so again with my second. She is absolutely amazing, she explains everything really clearly, and has answered all sorts of bizarre questions and worries I have had. On top of being clinically excellent she is also just the loveliest person and always a pleasure to see.Sarah Elliott
We had the harmony test with the Birth Company and had a reassurance scan with sonographer Kirsty McGarry who was absolutely lovely and really put our minds at rest. We had been scared by our NHS dating scan and left feeling like there was something wrong. We explained the situation and was treated very professionally and with good care. Also speedy appointments also as I had phone in the morning and got an appointment by afternoon. So thankful.Ashley and Tom
Really friendly, efficient service. Great experience overall. Had the Panorama. My appointment was with Kate who was absolutely fantastic. The results came really quickly. Have a comparison with private healthcare elsewhere and must say that The Birth Company was just how I would like to be treated when I pay for medical services - attentively, calmly, friendly, in a pleasant environment that doesn't look like hospital. Top marks!Anna
' Efficient, friendly and always on hand to provide last minute appointments 'Hannah Murphy
The Birth Company has been excellent, providing timely scans and blood tests during my IVF treatment abroad. Staff are always friendly and extremely efficient. I would highly recommend coming here.
' Professional and friendly 'Lyndsey Dilla
When I first contacted the Birth Company I spoke to Danielle. She was fantastic. She went above & beyond to put me at easy & make the journey from Kent as stress free as possible. Every staff member that myself and my husband have come into contact with have been approachable, professional and friendly. Kate scanned me the first time and put me completely at easy. Lisa on reception is professional and very approachable. Highly recommended
' Highly recommended 'Emelie
Donald was so lovely! I was so nervous as I have a bad history and he was super quick and confirmed my baby's heartbeat as quickly as he could. He spent time showing me the baby and the anatomy and it was the best money I have ever spent! The reception girls were lovely too - considering they deal with babies day in day out they were super excited for me! Thank you so much one and all! If only I lived in London and could have all my scans with you!
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