Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 21-25

Medically Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on August 17, 2022
4 min read

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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 hiccuping.