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.
Photo Credit: yourbabylibrary.com
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.
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.
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