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2nd trimester: Week 21

Your Baby

Your baby now measures about seven inches from head to rump and weighs about 10 1/2 ounces. Now that his digestive system is fairly sophisticated, your little one can swallow amniotic fluid, which makes for a surprisingly nutritious drink that helps fatten him up. The act of swallowing also preps his digestive system for the hard work it will do once he's born. He can taste what he ingests, thanks to taste buds that have developed on his tongue. Nerve cells are working overtime to make connections, and development continues its brisk pace for the five senses.

Your Body

Your uterus continues to rise, taking its place about a half inch above the belly button this week. You're probably feeling pretty good, at least compared to the turbulent first trimester. The nausea has gone away, the bathroom breaks are less frequent and you're probably feeling more energetic than you have in a long while.

Do's and Don'ts

Do bring a CD or MP3 player the next time you have to give blood (the glucose screening test is coming up). When it's your turn, put on the headphones and enjoy the music as you imagine yourself lazing on a beach under a warm sun. Calming tunes work best, or relaxing sounds such as ocean waves lapping or birds chirping.

Health

Still feeling queasy well into the second trimester? Talk to your health practitioner about increasing your intake of vitamin B6, to help ease nausea, or ask about a new prenatal vitamin called PremesisRx that has a greater amount of vitamin B6 combined with folic acid and calcium carbonate. (It doesn't include iron, which can upset the stomach, but your doctor can advise you on food sources that will supply iron.)

Mom to Mom

Your vivid dreams may astonish you. "In my dream, it was right after my baby shower. I walked to the crib to look again at all the gifts I'd stashed there. To my surprise, I saw that I'd already given birth--to kittens." —Terry Bain, Rockville Centre, NY

Shopping

Attending a wedding or some other formal event and don't want to spend a lot on a one-time outfit? Head to independent maternity shops; many of them rent evening wear for such occasions.

Exercise

Sip water or sports drinks (like Gatorade) every 15 to 20 minutes during your workouts to replace liquids you lose through sweating. The color of your urine is a fairly accurate indicator of how hydrated you are: If it's clear or pale yellow, you're fine; if it's darker, drink up.

Relationships

You're halfway through the pregnancy and your libido is in overdrive, but sex isn't comfortable because of your growing belly. Try staying on top, which prevents your tummy from getting jostled and takes the pressure off your abdomen. Another position to try is spooning: both of you on your side with him cradling you from behind.

Siblings

Sign up your child now for a sibling prep course, where she'll be able to talk about her feelings and learn how to be a great big sister. Sessions usually last for a few hours and may even include a tour of a maternity-ward nursery.

Twins

Instead of buying two of everything, save the doubles for crucial equipment like strollers and car seats. You won't have to make room for needless extra stuff.