Pregnancy week 19


How's the foetus during week 19?

Hair and vernix

Your baby weighs about 240g and is about 15.3cm long from crown to rump- the size of an heirloom tomato.

  • Vernix (a white, cheesy substance) forms on your baby's skin to protect it. 
  • A girl's ovaries already contain primitive egg cells. 
  • Permanent tooth buds form behind the milk tooth buds. 
  • Hair is sprouting on the scalp. 
  • Sensory development reaches its peak this week. 
  • The nerve cells for each of the senses - taste, smell, hearing, sight, and touch - are now developing in their 
    specialised areas of the brain. 
  • Your baby can now hear your voice. 

What's with my body: Maternity-wear shopping time 

  • Your waistline has probably disappeared and you'll start searching the mall for tasteful maternity wear. 
  • Sleeping may become more uncomfortable. Try not to sleep on your back as the weight of the baby and uterus can compress the inferior vena cava, which takes blood from your lower body to the heart. You may become dizzy, sweaty and have palpitations. 
  • Heartburn may increase because your uterus pushes up against your stomach. 
  • Your skin may become dry and itchy.

Go back to the complete list of Pregnancy week-by-week updates. 

This may be the week that you start to feel your baby's movements - the first ones are known as the quickening and may feel like butterflies in your stomach or a hungry, growling tummy.

How your baby's growing:

Right now, your little one's body is covered in a waxy substance known as vernix caseosa which protects her skin from becoming chapped or being scratched. Aside from weight gain, your baby's rapid growth is starting to slow down.

Her body begins to develop its own set of defences, including a primitive immune system. Make sure your diet contains plenty of B vitamins and good fats to support your baby's developing brain cells. If you're having a girl, the vagina, uterus and Fallopian tubes are starting to form. Your baby's kidneys are producing urine that is excreted in the amniotic sac.

Pictures of babies at this age show them touching the membrane of the amniotic sac, touching their own faces, reaching for the umbilical cord, pedaling their legs, and sucking their thumbs. If you're carrying twins, they may already be swatting at each other.

How you may be feeling:

Feeling your baby move is the most exciting part of pregnancy. As time goes by, you may start to feel kicks, punches and even hiccups. The next ten weeks are the most active, your baby may even keep you awake at night with her movement.

Some babies are more active than others, but if you're concerned about your baby's movement - or if it seems like activity has significantly subsided - don't hesitate to contact your gynae.

As your baby moves around inside you, you'll become more aware of her presence than ever. This is the time for you and your partner to start bonding with your baby. By talking or singing softly and gently, she will become familiar with your voices and the sound will soothe her. Play her some of your favourite music and she will recognise it once she's out the womb.

Tip of the week

Feeling stressed during pregnancy is normal because becoming a parent is a huge life transition. 'Normal' stress won't have any affect on your unborn baby. However, major stress, especially early in pregnancy, can increase the risk of premature birth (before 37 weeks) and low birth weight (less than 2,5kg). Major stress can be triggered by the death of a family member, physical or sexual abuse, or the diagnosis of a life-threatening disease.

Whether you experience through-the-roof stress levels or just an occasional bout of "normal" anxiety there are strategies that can help.

You're well within the normal parameters of pregnant behaviour if, during your pregnancy:

  • You're prone to occasional bouts of mild insanity.
  • You weep copiously over advertisements for luxury vehicles.
  • You have a strong desire to throttle your partner when he fails to put the toilet seat down or replace the roll of loo paper.

If, however, your stress reaches uncomfortable levels - if you're feeling continually anxious, depressed, out of control or weepy - then it's time for intervention.

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