Your Pregnancy Week 19
Reviewed by James Brann, MD
Your BabyDuring pregnancy week 19 your baby has grown significantly and is now roughly 6 inches long and weighs almost 7 ounces! Between now and delivery your baby will increase in size by more than 15 times! That's an amazing growth rate.
Changes in Your Growing BabyThe changes that occur in your baby from week to week from here on out are truly remarkable. Now your baby is starting to produce his first bowel movement already, called meconium. Most babies will pass meconium in the first few days after delivery. While meconium is normal, it can prove dangerous if babies pass their first bowel movement while still in utero. Typically doctors can diagnose this during delivery, if the amniotic fluid comes through tinged with a greenish or blackish color. This typically lets your doctor know your baby may be in some sort of fetal distress. Fortunately a doctor can take steps to prevent your baby from aspirating or breathing in any meconium prior to his first breath. Most doctors will use an instrument referred to as a DeLee suction device to prevent your baby from swallowing meconium on his first breath.
Your baby also starts producing a white and sticky substance called vernix. Vernix covers your baby's entire skin surface to protect your baby from its environment. This helps your baby's skin appear smooth and supple while in utero.
At this time your baby's brain is also developing rapidly, growing tiny pockets that will enable your baby to hear, see, touch, taste and smell things after delivery. Your baby will also have produced millions of eggs in her ovaries if a girl.
Your Body's DevelopmentYour uterus has reach or is just below your navel. Some women experience some mild crampiness or achiness now due to the support ligaments, this is called round ligament pain. Remember to take things easy and rest as much as possible in the upcoming weeks of your pregnancy.
Changes in Your BodySome women find they are a bit unstable. Keep in mind that as your tummy continues to expand your center of gravity will shift. Be sure to take it easy when climbing stairs or walking long distances. Some women experience mild dizziness or lightheadedness by this stage in pregnancy. You may notice this when you shift posture or get out of bed, a condition often called postural hypotension. This is nothing more than low blood pressure that occurs when you change positions quickly, and can be easily alleviated by taking your time rising or shifting positions.
Other women will occasionally experience a condition called supine hypotension. At 19 weeks pregnant this causes lightheadedness or dizziness when a woman lies down. Fortunately switching to your side can also easily alleviate this.
Occasionally women experience light headedness during pregnancy resulting from rapid blood sugar rises and falls. To prevent this from happening you should also eat several mini meals every day. This will help prevent drastic blood sugar fluctuations during pregnancy. Be sure you eat healthily and avoid skipping any meals during the day, which can worsen the problem. If these simple steps don't seem to alleviate the problem be sure to consult with your healthcare provider to rule out any pregnancy complications.
How Smoking Negatively Affects Your PregnancySmoking cigarettes is one of the top reasons for a negative outcome in pregnancy. If you want to have the healthiest baby possible at the end of 40 weeks, it's very important that you kick the habit. Pregnant women who can't stop smoking are at higher risk for giving birth prematurely, having smaller babies, and having their babies die in the womb (miscarriage or stillbirths).
Cigarette smoke has over 4,000 harmful chemicals and at least 60 carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals). When you smoke cigarettes during pregnancy, the nicotine and all those nasty chemicals enter your bloodstream - which is your baby's only source of getting oxygen and nutrients. Of the 4,000 plus chemicals, the two compounds in cigarettes that are most dangerous to the developing baby are nicotine and carbon monoxide.
Nicotine and carbon monoxide can reduce your baby's supply of oxygen, making it harder for your baby to breathe. As a result, babies typically don't grow as well in the womb. Smoking when pregnant doubles the risk that a baby will be premature (born before 37 weeks pregnant) or weighs under 5.5 pounds at birth. Even light smoking has negative consequences on your baby's health.
Video: What to Expect from the 19th Week of Pregnancy
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