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21 WEEKS, 5 DAYS

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Your baby today

There is still plenty of room for your baby to move around. Your baby is able to perform complete somersaults and change position several times a day or even several times in a few minutes.

Bellies come in all shapes and sizes and your doctor will keep track of how your baby is growing.

If, like some pregnant women, you are feeling big for this halfway stage, it doesn't necessarily mean that you'll have a big baby. Being large doesn't mean that all your weight is in your belly and from your baby; you may have put on weight on the rest of your body that doesn't affect your baby's size. Women who are carrying twins or triplets do, of course, show earlier and have much larger bellies than those expecting one baby.

The size of your belly is, however, a good indicator of your baby's growth, so it will be measured by your doctor (see Measuring your baby). She will measure from a point on your pubic bone in your pelvis to the top, or fundus, of the uterus. This measurement should correlate with the number of weeks you're pregnant, with an accuracy of within 3/4 in (2 cm). So, if you're 28 weeks pregnant your belly should measure 10 1/4-11 3/4 in (26-30 cm). This symphysis fundal height (SFH) will be written in your notes.

If your belly is found to be significantly larger or smaller than it should be for your dates, you're likely to be referred for an ultrasound scan since this can give a much more accurate measurement of your baby's size.

Remember, though, what you think of as huge and what your doctor feels is too large can be two very different things! You are used to your body being a certain size and shape and you are much bigger than you used to be, even though to doctors you are a normal and healthy size. This can feel particularly the case if you're someone who has always been slim.

pregnant women walking outside

While it's good to spend time with women who are at the same stage of pregnancy as you, try not to make comparisons. Your belly may be bigger than your friend's, but you may end up having a smaller baby.

Ask A... Nutritionist

I've been told to rest but will I gain too much weight?

It's important that you follow this advice, even though it can be frustrating. Ask your doctor if you're allowed to do gentle walking or swimming because this will help keep you fit and burn some calories.

If you're eating a healthy, nutritious diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and lean protein, you shouldn't gain too much weight.

Never be tempted to diet, or go hungry just because you're less active at the moment. Regular meals and snacks are important. Listen to your body; if you're hungry, it needs fuel.

If full bed rest has been prescribed, light exercise will be out of the question, but make sure you establish at the outset what is and isn't allowed. If you aren't active you are likely to gain some weight, but the goal of bed rest is to ensure that you deliver a healthy baby at full-term, and that's worth a few extra pounds.

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
Buy this book now!

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