Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 21-25

Week 21

Video Transcript

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Your baby grows and changes fast during your second trimester. Here's an inside peek at her amazing progress! By week 13, she's as large as a lemon -- about 3 inches long. And she's learning how to swallow by taking an occasional gulp of the amniotic fluid around her. Next week, she's a little bigger -- the length of a bell pepper. But by week 15, your baby could be the size of a large russet potato -- around 6 inches long. Her bones get harder and stronger during week 16. Now she can flex her arms and legs. Plus, her eyes can slowly move around behind closed lids. Next week she's the size of an asparagus spear -- almost 8 inches long. And she's on the move, doing flips and rolls. She can also make a fist and hold it to her mouth. Her face gets more defined during week 18. Those little eyelids, ears, and upper lip all come into sharper focus. Plus, she can hear sounds now. Your little one maybe over nine inches long -- about the size of an eggplant -- by week 19. Her lungs' main airways start to form. Something super adorable happens in week 20 -- your baby puts her feet and toes in her mouth. She also gets lots of sleep. Noise and movement can wake her up -- so keep it down, would ya? (Just kidding.) Next week your 10 and 1/2-inch tot is making strong kicks and turns. She's also forming brown fat for warmth. Your baby's genitals are completely formed around week 22. It's possible to see her eyebrows now, too. And soft, warm hair called lanugo covers her. By week 23, her fingers and toes look like tiny versions of yours -- and they've got fingerprints. Plus, your little one now has a secret talent: she can hiccup. At week 24 your baby is pineapple-sized -- about 12 1/2 inches long-- and 1 1/2 pounds. She could survive outside your womb if she was born now. Your little one knows the sound of your voice at week 25. She can recognize other familiar sounds too ... when she's not sleeping. She snoozes 80% of the time now. By next week, she knows how to suck -- and she'll probably try that skill out on her thumb. At the end of your second trimester on week 27, your little one is the length of an English cucumber -- over 14 inches long. And all that moving around is paying off, giving her more and more muscle tone.

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. If your baby is a boy, their testes have formed but remain in their abdomen. Baby makes strong kicks and turns. From head to heel, your baby is about as long as a large butternut squash -- 10.5 inches.

Mom-to-be: Congratulations! This week begins the second half of your pregnancy. You're starting to show! You may notice stretch marks on your breasts or belly. 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.

Week 22

Baby: Your baby's muscles are getting stronger every week now, and the eyelids and eyebrows are developed. Hair is also visible. 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. If your baby is a girl, their ovaries have already formed. From head to heel, your baby is as long as an ear of corn -- 11 inches.

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. You may have heartburn more often as your uterus presses on your stomach. Finding it hard to stay cool? Blame it on pregnancy hormones! Your back, legs, and feet may ache from carrying pregnancy weight. Skin feel dry and itchy? Moisturizing your breasts and belly may help.

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.


Week 23

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. Fingers and toes have fully formed -- they even have fingerprints! Baby may start hiccuping, causing jerking movements. At this stage, baby's skin is still wrinkled and translucent. Tip to toe, your baby is about as long as a head of romaine lettuce -- 12 inches.

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? Pain in your back and hips may increase as your ligaments loosen for birth. Lying down, getting massages, and applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to the area can help. You may need to pee less often now than in the first trimester.

Tip of the Week: As your skin stretches, it may become dry and itchy. Keeping it moist with lotions or creams can help.

Week 24

Baby: This is the approximate age your baby can first survive outside the womb. 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. Your baby may startle when they hear loud sounds. If you haven't felt the baby hiccup yet, you might now. Your little one is as long and heavy as a pineapple -- 12.5 inches, 1.5 pounds.

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. You may notice some mild cramping after sex or orgasm -- this is normal. As your belly continues to grow, you may feel a bit unbalanced when moving. Your heart rate may be higher now as your body works to pump more blood.

Tip of the Week: Your partner might be able to hear the baby's heartbeat by putting an ear to your abdomen.


Week 25

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. As your baby continues to grow, you'll start to feel more kicks and rolls. Your uterus is now about the size of a soccer ball. Your breasts are growing faster now than any other time in pregnancy.

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.

24 Weeks

Your baby may respond to sounds by moving or increasing the pulse, and you may feel the baby hiccuping.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on August 30, 2020


SOURCES: Mayo "Fetal development: What happens during the second trimester?" American Pregnancy Association web site: "Pregnancy and Hemorrhoids."

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