21-24 weeks pregnant

By 21 weeks you’re officially over halfway to the birth of your baby (well that’s if the baby isn’t late) and the end of your pregnancy is closer than the beginning – woohoo!



Your baby

Things to do

You’re now over halfway to the birth of your baby, and the end of your pregnancy is closer than the beginning!

If you haven’t felt the baby move already, you’ll definitely do so now. If you’ve felt movements, you’ll notice them becoming stronger. You may also begin to feel the practice contractions (called Braxton Hicks contractions) that have been going on in your womb at regular intervals throughout your pregnancy. If you don’t, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean that they’re not happening – just that you’re not aware of them.

You’re probably still feeling quite well, though you may be starting to suffer from some new discomforts, such as varicose veins and piles.

Some women find that they sweat more at this stage too.


Your baby’s head and body are more in proportion with each other now.

His body is becoming more rounded, as fat is being deposited under the skin, though he is still quite thin and his skin is still wrinkled.

Your baby can now hear, and as well as being aware of the sounds inside your body, he will also begin to recognise your voice.

The cells in the brain that will make it possible for him to think are starting to mature.

Your baby is now likely to have settled down into a pattern of waking and sleeping. The chances are, though, that this pattern is the opposite to yours and that your baby will be waking up and kicking just as you’re settling down to go to sleep!

You may want to think about getting a room or special space ready for your baby while you are still feeling well and energetic. Don’t worry, though, if this isn’t possible: it may be useful to have somewhere special to keep all your baby’s bits and pieces together, but all he or she will really want and need is you! Besides, most midwives and health visitors recommend that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for the first few months of life.

In the UK, you’ll probably have another antenatal appointment around week 24.

You may be given a MAT B1 certificate which you need to claim maternity pay or benefit. If you’re employed, you should write to your employers to let them know formally that you’re pregnant, when the baby is due, and when you plan to start your maternity leave (you have to give at least three weeks’ notice of this). Give your employer your MAT B1 certificate with this letter.

All pregnancies are different, so don’t worry if you’re not experiencing everything exactly as it says here.