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Pregnancy at Week 19

Pregnancy at Week 19

You may feel that your pregnancy is flying by. In fact, you are nearly at the halfway mark this week! Find out what’s going on in your body and how your baby is growing and changing during pregnancy at week 19.

How Your Baby Is Growing During Pregnancy at Week 19

This week, your baby has reached the size of a large mango, or around 8.5 ounces and 6 inches long. The cartilage in your baby’s body is hardening and turning to bone. Baby is becoming more coordinated and practices moving its legs and arms. Neurons are connecting in the brain, preparing for life outside the womb. All of these things are making it possible for baby to really move. You likely feel baby’s movements throughout the day and nighttime now. You may even start to notice a discernible pattern in baby’s wake and sleep times. Tip: if you’re having trouble noticing baby’s movements, lie down for a while. Sometimes when you are still you can feel the movements better. Moms describe kicks and punches as feeling like the flutter of a butterfly in your lower abdomen.

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    Photo Credit: yourbabylibrary.com

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    Your baby’s brain has developed the ability to use her five senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound. She may even be able to hear you speaking on a regular basis, so reading aloud to her or talking to her throughout the day can be entertaining. She has developed a protective, waxy coating called vernix that will shield her skin from the amniotic fluid she’s bathing in. Some people believe the vernix offers many benefits to baby after she is birthed. Some parents write into their birth plan that the vernix is not to be washed off by the delivering physician or midwife so that it can be used shortly after birth. Some suggested benefits of the vernix include a special moisturizer that includes the same proteins that provide the healing qualities of breast milk. A mother who wishes to take advantage of vernix should ask that it not be wiped off upon delivery, but instead will be rubbed in all over the newborn’s body.

    How Your Body Is Changing

    Your body is getting ready for some big changes in the next half of your pregnancy. Your uterus will grow exponentially faster in the last half of pregnancy than it has the first half. You may start to notice round ligament pain, or a sharp, stabbing pain in your lower back, through your hips, and/or the backs of your legs. This is due to the large amounts of stretching your ligaments are doing to accommodate your growing uterus. Your may notice the palms of your hands turning a reddish color or find darkened patches elsewhere on your skin. This is due to the increase of estrogen circulating around your body. These are normal symptoms of pregnancy at week 19 and are not cause for alarm. Limiting your exposure to sun and using sunscreen when outdoors will help the color not to deepen any further.

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    Many women experience painful leg cramps during pregnancy, especially at night. No one knows for sure what causes them, whether it’s related to diet, increasing weight gain, or pressure on blood vessels, but a quick fix to get rid of the pain is to try stretching your calves by pulling your toes towards your shin. Other common side effects of pregnancy at week 19 include stuffy nose, back aches and headaches, constipation, increased appetite, dizziness, and stretch marks.

    Things to Do During Pregnancy at Week 19

    If you haven’t already chosen one, now is a good time to settle on a short list of names for your baby. Many parents opt to wait until they’ve met their little one before deciding which name fits their baby. It is still a good idea to have a few names you’re considering so that you and your partner are on the same page. Check out Baby Center’s Name Finder here.

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    It’s not too early to think about prepping yourself for labor and delivery. Research your options for birth and start to put together a birth plan. Birth plans typically include whether you want the option for pain medication during labor, how important breastfeeding is to you, where you would like post-birth activities (nursery check-ups, etc.) to happen, and other aspects that are important to your unique birth experience. You can find a birth plan template by The Bump here.

    Now is also a good time to start planning how you’ll design baby’s nursery after his arrival! While most parents opt to have their newborn sleep in their bedroom, you’ll likely use the baby’s room to store their clothes, use the changing table, store books and toys, etc. Parents usually enjoy this time, envisioning their newest family member joining their home. Often expectant parents have their baby shower in their second trimester, so you can start thinking about registering for baby items you’ll need. The website called Babylist offers an online option for parents to compile a central registry with items from any website on the internet. This is especially convenient to out-of-town friends and family who might be shipping you a gift.

    Featured photo credit: Pregnant – 33 Weeks/Kelly Hunter via flickr.com

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    Published on January 30, 2019

    How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

    How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

    In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

    The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

    According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

    This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

    Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

    This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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    The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

    Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

    What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

    Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

    1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

    Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

    Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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    As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

    2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

    I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

    However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

    Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

    When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

    3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

    This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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    I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

    Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

    4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

    No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

    Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

    5. Don’t keep score or track time.

    At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

    In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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    The Bottom Line

    To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

    The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

    But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

    On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

    Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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