Antibodies in the body
During week 21 of your pregnancy, the baby’s bone marrow starts producing blood cells. The mother’s blood transfers antibodies to the baby that will protect it during the first few months in the world. Antibodies are special proteins that our immune system produces to protect us against bacteria and viruses. Later, your baby’s immune system will start producing its own antibodies as it is subjected to vaccines and outside bacteria, but in early days of their lives the amount and type of antibodies depends on their mother’s immunity.
By the end of week 21 of your pregnancy your baby measures around 27 centimeters from head to toe and is the size of an eggplant. 🍆
Ligament pains and Braxton Hicks contractions
Around this time, you might start to feel your uterus contracting and relaxing again. This is called Braxton Hicks contractions, and it’s completely normal. They usually happen more towards the end of the pregnancy, but you can start to feel it now already, especially if this is not your first baby. It’s normal to feel Braxton Hicks contractions more if you’ve been active. Frequent Braxton Hick’s can also be the body’s way to tell you to relax, so make sure to listen to your body and remember to kick back a little bit.
Get started on the nursery
Maybe you feel like it’s too early, or maybe your fingers have been itching since that pregnancy test first turned positive. Either way, now is a good time to think about the nursery.
If you look around the internet you will find many must-have ideas and inspirational images. But you should take your own needs into consideration when you are planning the nursery. What kind of changing station would be practical in your space? Do you need an armchair for late-night nursing, or will your baby sleep next to you in your bedroom?
Also, if you’re planning on painting the room, now’s a great time to do it. The nursery should be painted at least two months before the baby comes, so the fumes from the paint can subside.
For now, there’s no definitive data on whether normal indoor paint is harmful during pregnancy; however, it’s believed that water-based paints have no harmful effect. If you’re concerned about paint fumes affecting your baby, avoid painting and decorating during your pregnancy and get help from your partner or professionals. But you can minimize any potential risks:
- Make sure the room is well ventilated – open windows and doors to get the air flowing.
- Use water-based paints. Avoid solvent-based paints, oil paints, spray paints etc.
- Don’t strip old paint or wallpaper when pregnant; it can contain traces of lead.
- Wear protective gear like masks and gloves.
- Don’t eat or drink in the room and wash your hands after painting to avoid ingesting fumes or paint.
Read more about the next week of your pregnancy in week 22 of our week-by-week pregnancy calendar.