Pregnancy

21 Weeks Pregnant: What to Expect During Pregnancy

Team Peanut8 months ago4 min read

21 weeks pregnant

21 weeks pregnant is full of heart: heartbeats, heartburn, and heart-bursting kicks. It also means you’ve reached the halfway mark—and things are seriously heating up in that belly of yours.

Let’s take a look at what’s going on inside that 21 weeks pregnant belly.

What should I expect at 21 weeks pregnant?

21 week fetus

Those 21 weeks pregnant ultrasounds can be gobsmackingly exhilarating. You’re at the midway mark. This is really happening—and your little squirt is starting to look like they may just be human after all. They have eyelids that are starting to separate and everything!

A 21 week old fetus is about 10.5 inches from top to toe—a size that is common to laptop screens and shoes alike. At 10.5 inches, your 21 week fetus is also just a little shorter than a bottle of wine. (Okay, fine. That’s the last time we bring up wine. Note taken.)

Here’s what your doc will be checking for:

  • Their heartbeat. If it feels like the heart of your 21 week fetus is making yours skip a beat, there’s a reason for that. Yup, your baby’s heart is beating at a whopping 120 to 160 beats a minute. That’s almost double the speed of yours. Look at it go!
  • The structure of the organs.
  • The size of your 21 week fetus.
  • Whether any anomalies are present.
  • How many fetuses are actually in there. (If twins or triplets had been suspected, you’ll know for sure at this point.)

Your 21 week old fetus is also developing their digestive system—something you’re sure to know an awful lot about in a few months’ time. They’re also learning to swallow, taking in amniotic fluid and absorbing it through the ever-expanding small intestine.

But what is my baby doing at 21 weeks in the womb? Let’s find out.

How many kicks should you feel at 21 weeks?

The short answer is 10 kicks in about a 2 hour span. Now, of course, this is by no means a hard and fast rule—and the number of kicks has no bearing on whether you’re giving birth to a future soccer star, or someone who will concoct creative excuses to skip gym class for the rest of their days.

But, counting those kicks is important—simply so that you can figure out your version of normal. The more in tune you are with what’s happening in that 21 weeks pregnant belly of yours, the easier it will be to notice if anything feels a little off. (Also important to note that kicks don’t have to be whoppers. They can be little squirms. The tricky part is distinguishing them from hiccups!)

How long do babies sleep in the womb at 21 weeks?

Your little one is having their first taste of the joys of sleep. With all that kicking action, a 21 week old fetus needs their rest—around 12 to 14 hours of sleep a day. Sounds like a pretty nice life in there.

21 weeks pregnant symptoms

So, at 21 weeks pregnant, you’re over the exhausting first trimester, and you’re not quite in the differently exhausting third trimester. That doesn’t mean you get away scot-free, however. This phase comes with all sorts of its own fun. You might be in line for:

  • Heartburn. Not great. If heartburn and indigestion are getting in your way, you may want to jot down what you eat every day so that you can eliminate any culprits.
  • Pretend contractions. What? Already? Maybe. You might feel what are known as Braxton Hicks contractions. It’s just your body getting into shape for labor. While this is a common experience at 21 weeks pregnant, always talk to your healthcare practitioner if you’re concerned in any way.
  • Your breasts are open for business. Your whole body seems to be in practice mode—and your breasts might just join the party about now by starting to leak.
  • Stretch marks. There is such pressure to have all sorts of negative feelings about this very normal bodily response to the rather magical thing that’s happening inside you. Think of them as a reminder of the awesome thing your body did - it’s impressive, mama!

Beyond this, you may be feeling all sorts of things, from insatiably hungry to constantly blissful to just. Plain. Weird. Do what you need to do to stay sane. This may be a good time to reach out to other mamas-to-be out there. Nothing like being in it together!

🤰Read next:
22 Weeks Pregnant: What to Expect
Your Pregnancy Week By Week Guide