Pregnancy Week 19

Fetal development in pregnancy week 19:

Your baby is now about 5 ½ inches long and weighs about 6 ounces.  During this week the baby will gain weight at an incredible pace!  Now that all of the organs have developed the baby’s body will focus on gaining weight and size.  You may begin to feel a bit off center as the baby and your uterus is getting larger.

Because the baby’s inner ear has formed its bones and nerve endings from the brain have formed, hearing has become very acute.  Your baby can hear your heartbeat and the blood moving through the umbilical cord as well as your voice.  They will even try to cover their ears if they hear a loud sound!

Baby becomes sensitive to light now, as the eyes are further developed and the brain is growing very fast.  A little girl will have all the eggs inside her ovaries that she will need for her entire life.  Little boys begin to develop the prostate gland.  Meconium, or the first bowel movement continues to accumulate inside the bowel.  Brown fat begins to cover the baby, so their skin appears less transparent.

This is the last week you would normally have an amniocentesis, if your health practitioner has suggested this test.  Often between 18-22 weeks your health practitioner will order an ultrasound.  You may begin to experience heartburn now, as the uterus begins to push upward on your stomach.  Try to eat several small meals and stay away from high fat items.  If you prop yourself up with pillows it can help with heartburn, too.

Maternal Changes

Some women find they are a bit unstable after pregnancy week 19. 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. This causes lightheadedness of 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.

Dad

Mom may start asking you if you feel the baby move. Invariably you either can’t feel the baby yet or the baby quits moving as soon as you put your hand over it. This is very normal. Most people can’t feel the baby move from the outside until around week 28.

Maternity Clothes

When the weather starts to cool down, you’ll probably find yourself reaching for a sweater. Maternity sweaters are a must have, i particularly if you plan on spending 5 to 9 months in a cold climate or season. Remember, the warmer you keep your belly, the less likely junior is to kick you for keeping things a bit chilly!

Fortunately, Maternity Sweaters come in many different styles and colors. You can usually find something that works in a casual setting or something a bit more sophisticated to wear in the office at Destination Maternity. When shopping for maternity sweaters, you might want to avoid certain fabrics such as wool that might irritate already itchy skin!

Pregnancy Health Tips

Many women wonder if it is safe to travel during pregnancy. By and large traveling during pregnancy is perfectly safe. Many women experience more of the common pregnancy discomforts when they are traveling. Largely, this is due to less then ideal eating and sleeping habits.

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When you are traveling, bloating, heartburn, and indigestion may be at an all time high. Part of the reason for this may be your reliance on fast food instead of healthy, home-prepared meals.

Fortunately, you can travel and remain healthy. First and foremost, remember to wear clothing that is comfortable for your trip. Pack your own snacks ahead of time. This will allow you to stick to your schedule of eating several mini meals per day, which will ultimately minimize heartburn.

Remember to keep a bottle of water handy at all times during your pregnancy. Try to stay away from high fat selections when eating out, and avoid carbonated beverages, particularly those that contain caffeine.

Sitting for long periods of time, whether in a car or on a plane, can result in achy legs and an achy back. Be sure you take several breaks to get up and stretch your legs. This will also minimize your chances of forming a blood clot in the leg. When you sit for long periods of time, blood pools in the legs. The viscosity of your blood is much thicker during pregnancy, which can result in a blood clot.

One easy stretch you can do to help prevent clots and eliminate cramps is simply flex your toes up and down ten times, and then squeeze your calf muscles ten times. Rotate sets of two every 1/2 hour to hour. This will help promote better circulation in your legs.

You are also at greater risk for contracting a urinary tract infection, or UTI when traveling. Be sure you make a point to take several bathroom breaks along the way. Never hold your bladder for too long because this will allow bacteria to collect, which could lead to a UTI.

Constipation is another problem for travelers. You may not be drinking enough fluids if you find that you are constipated during your travel. Be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Mild exercise can also help alleviate the problem. If you get the chance, take a walk around the block once or twice per day. High fiber foods can also help prevent constipation. Your best bets include bran cereals, fresh fruits, and vegetables.

Flying is usually perfectly safe during pregnancy, except during the latter half of the third trimester. Most airlines will not let you fly if you are more than about 34 weeks pregnant. Others will require you to carry a note from your physician indicating it is safe for you to fly. Be sure you check in with your airline prior to departure to avoid any unexpected delays. Toward the end of pregnancy, the air pressure changes that occur when flying may or may not induce some cramping. Most airlines would prefer if you not deliver your baby on board, hence the flying restrictions after about 34 weeks.

When you do travel, make every effort to get a good night’s sleep, or take naps if you need to catch up on some zzz’s. If you are traveling to a different time zone, try to go to bed as close to your normal bedtime as possible. This will help eliminate some of the jet lag you might experience. Remember when traveling to also keep your activities to a minimum to ward off exhaustion.

Should you travel to a developing country while pregnant? Probably not… Particularly if you are close to your due date or if your pregnancy is considered high risk. The reason being that some developing countries simply will not have the medical resources necessary to care for you should something unexpected happen. If you aren’t far along in your pregnancy and are relatively healthy, you should see which immunizations might be necessary before traveling. There are some vaccines that are safe during pregnancy and some that are not. There are also some medications that may be recommended for travel to certain exotic locations that you are not able to take during pregnancy (such as anti-malarial drugs). By and large, it is very important that you weight the risks versus benefits if you plan on traveling to a developing country during your pregnancy.

Remember that the biggest risk would be a lack of access to a medical care facility that could handle an early delivery. While a delivery at 32 weeks is manageable here in the states, it is not in many other parts of the world.

Twin Tips

Baby Nursery shopping is fun, and with twins it probably needs to be done a bit earlier. You will need about 1.5 times the clothing you’d need for one baby. Some mothers try to color code their children to help tell them apart.


Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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