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21 WEEKS, 2 DAYS

131 days to go...

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ultrasound of human fetus at 21 weeks and 2 days

Your baby today

The next three months are a time of particularly rapid growth for your baby. Cells are dividing, expanding, and maturing in every part of her body. The placenta too is growing and maturing, but this is far less important than your baby's growth from now on.

What's in a name? Well, quite a lot actually, as you'll discover when you start trying to choose one for your baby.

Deciding on a name for your baby is fun but not necessarily an easy task. In addition to finding one that you and your partner agree on, it can feel as though everyone has an opinion. Friends may tell you that they have already chosen a name, that it is "theirs" so you can't use it! Your family may have traditions that they want upheld, such as passing on a name that has been in the family for generations.

It's a good idea for you and your partner individually to write down a list of names that you like. Then look at each other's list and talk about which ones you do and don't like. If you're lucky, there will be one or more names on both lists that match.

Factors to consider include: does the name sound right with your last name? Does the middle name go well with the first name? What will the initials be? For example, Robert Anthony Taylor will become RAT! Are the meanings of the names important to you? If so, find out what the meaning is of your favorite names — it can be fun to tell your child what her name means when she's older. Is there a short version of the name that you can use informally or, conversely, do you hate names being shortened? If so, avoid those. If you're feeling obligated to use a family name, perhaps make it a middle name.

It's advisable to come up with a few alternative choices, since you may find that the name you have decided upon just doesn't seem to suit your newborn baby when you finally see her.

parents looking for baby names

Researching in books or on the internet is a good way to find less popular names, and to discover interesting facts about the origin of names.

Popular names

Do you want your child to have an original name, or are you influenced by what's in fashion? Bear in mind that opting for a popular name may mean your child is in a class full of namesakes.

See lists of the top 100 most popular girls' names and boys' names.

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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