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Mom and Baby at 19 Weeks Pregnant

BABY DEVELOPMENT

The growth that’s occurring in your womb is quite remarkable. At 19 weeks, your baby may be 6 inches long (half a foot long!) and he/she may weigh up to 8.5 ounces. He/she has grown 0.4 inches since last week. Did you know that by the time your baby is born, he/she will increase in size by more than 15 times?

  • At pregnancy week 19, your baby is starting to produce a white sticking protective covering on his/her skin called “vernix.” Vernix protects the skin from the amniotic fluid surround the baby. (That’s why when babies are born, they don’t look as wrinkly as a hairless cat!)
  • Your baby is on his/her way to having his/her own identity, special to him/her alone. The pads on your little one’s fingers are forming ridged patterns, which will become your baby’s unique fingerprint.
  • By 19 weeks pregnant, your baby’s brain is forming pockets, which specialize in different functions – such as smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch.
  • If you’re pregnant with a girl baby, she has already produced six million eggs in her ovaries. Not bad for someone who has only been alive for four and a half months! By the time your baby is born, her egg count will decrease to four million.
  • Fat is starting to cover your baby’s body at 19 weeks of pregnancy, though he/she remains rather skinny. Not to worry – your baby will pack on the pounds steadily in the next three months.
  • By pregnancy week 19, your little one is starting to produce meconium (a substance that will become the baby’s first bowel movement after birth). Meconium is a combination of amniotic fluid, mucus, cells that have been shed by the intestines and skin, and lanugo (fine hair that covers the developing baby’s body to keep him/her warm during pregnancy).

Fun Fact:

Did you know that your baby can now hiccup? At 19 weeks pregnant, your baby’s hiccups are often short, last less than a second, and occur in rapid succession.

MOM’S CHANGES

At pregnancy week 19, your uterus is now just below your belly button. As your uterus continues to rise above your belly button, you may notice that your center of gravity shifts. As a result, you may find that you’re uneasy on your feet and that it’s more of a struggle to walk uphill, or even downhill. Not to worry – this is absolutely normal and a common change in pregnancy.

Another change you may experience at 19 weeks pregnant is achiness and discomfort in your lower abdomen. It may feel like a short jabbing sensation when you suddenly change position, when you cough, or even when you’re getting out of bed. Some women describe this pain as a dull sensation. Though uncomfortable, this is a common second trimester complaint called “round ligament pain.”

Round ligament pain should only last a few seconds. However, it can sometimes be confused with other health problems, so you will want to call your doctor if your lower abdominal pain is accompanied with:

  • Severe pain or cramping
  • Low back pain, or an increased in pressure in your pelvic region
  • Fever, chills, or nausea and vomiting
  • Pain or burning when you urinate
  • Bleeding, or a change in your vaginal discharge.

At 19 weeks pregnant, you may also notice that you get dizzy when you lie on your back or when you get up too quickly. Though dizziness or light-headedness is concerning, it is a common pregnancy symptom in the second trimester. It’s due to your expanding uterus compressing the “inferior vena cava,” a large vein that carries blood from your legs, pelvis, and abdomen to your heart. When this vein is compressed, it slows down circulation back to the legs and hence, you feel dizzy.

In some cases, you may feel dizzy or light-headedness due to low blood pressure (or hypotension). Be sure to discuss any pregnancy symptom that you experience with your doctor or healthcare provider.

Helpful Tip:

To avoid any stumbles or falls this week, be sure to take your time when you’re sitting or standing up, and whenever you change positions. Take it slow and you’ll be able to ease some of the discomfort you’re feeling.

PREGNANCY 411

Traveling During Pregnancy

Unless your doctor has said otherwise, traveling during pregnancy is perfectly safe. The best time to travel is in the second trimester, when you aren’t too big and your morning sickness and fatigue has abated. (Remember to always talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before going on any trips. You will want his/her OK first.)

As a pregnant woman, you may notice that traveling may not be as much fun as it was pre-pregnancy. For one, your indigestion, heartburn, and bloating may be at all-time high on your trip. Although we’d all like to eat healthy, home-prepared meals on our travels, this is not always a possibility. To minimize these gastrointestinal discomforts, be sure to drink lots of water on your trip and to avoid foods that may trigger heartburn or indigestion.

You may also notice that when you sit for a long period of time, whether in a car or plane, you tend to feel lots of aches and pains. Your legs or back may ache. So it’s important that you take breaks to walk around and stretch your legs. This will also minimize your risk of getting a blood clot in your leg.

When you are traveling, you are at higher risk of getting a urinary tract infection, or UTI. These are common during pregnancy, but they will need to be treated. To avoid getting a UTI on your trip, be sure to take many bathroom breaks along the way. Never hold your bladder to long.

To ensure that you have a satisfying vacation or trip, remember to plan your trip carefully. If traveling by car, pinpoint destinations or rest stops where you can get out of the car and walk around. If flying, try to pack light so that you don’t have to take heavy bags with you.

It’s very important that you keep hydrated on your trip. Bring lots of bottled water. If you’re traveling overseas, stay away from local water and even local ice (which typically is made from their local tap water). You don’t want to get sick when you’re traveling.

And don’t forget to bring the sunscreen! Your skin is more sensitive to UV-rays during pregnancy, so don’t skimp on how much sunscreen you lather on your body.

Happy travels!

Dr. James W. Brann, M.D., is a retired obstetrician and gynecologist and editor of Women’s Healthcare Topics. When you read “Mom and Baby at 19 Weeks Pregnant “, you know it is accurate and has been approved by an experienced obstetrician/gynecologist. Dr. Brann has written many articles about 19 weeks pregnant that are great references.

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