Pregnancy Calendar Week 19
YOUR PREGNANCY WEEK BY WEEK: WHAT’S HAPPENING IN WEEK 19 Your baby is becoming longer at a full 6 inches and she’s getting bigger too, as she weighs in around ½ of a pound. All kinds of amazing and important growth spurts are taking place: she’s developing her five senses, building her immune system and gobbling up nutrient-rich amniotic fluid faster than ever before! So, on the plus side, you’ve got a beautiful, growing baby inside you. On the not-so-fun side, more pregnancy symptoms are probably taking a toll on your body with back pain and darkened skin that will be showing up.Your BodyAt 19 weeks pregnant, an aching, sore, and stiff back is a painful symptom which moms-to-be must cope with, along with skin color changes that may crop up.BackachesWith your baby and your belly getting bigger, you’re probably among the majority of pregnant women who experience back pain around this time in their pregnancy.Weight gain, hormonal changes, stress and the way your posture is adjusting to your growing uterus all contribute to the backaches you may be battling now.With your back feeling the pressure and giving you pain, try these tips for some relief:
- Exercise regularly with safe options like walking, swimming and stationary cycling.
- Ask your doctor for recommended exercises designed to specifically strengthen your back.
- Use proper posture. When sitting, avoid slouching that can strain your spine. Use chairs that give you good support at home and at work; those with a straight back, arm rests and a quality seat cushion are best. When you’re ready to hit the sack, try sleeping on your side and put a pillow between your legs to ease stress on your back.
- If you’re sitting a lot, make it a point to get a little stretching or walking in every 1-2 hours. Sitting for long periods of time can worsen back pain.
- Avoid lifting anything heavy. When you’re picking something up, be sure to begin with a wide stance, bend down at your knees (not your waist), and let your arms and legs do the lifting (not your back).
- Incorporate pregnancy yoga and meditation into your daily routine. These activities are excellent stress relievers and they can do wonders for bringing about a greater sense of calm. This mind-body connection can help heal your back pain.
- Keep your weight gain on track. Being at a healthy weight will help you maintain a healthy, pain-free back.
- Soothe your sore, achy back muscles with a heat-cold regimen. Put cold compresses on painful areas for about 20 minutes a few times a day. After 2-3 days, use heat—a heating paid works well, but remember not to apply heat to your abdomen while you’re pregnant.
If your back pain is downright debilitating, let your doctor know. You may be advised to seek help from specialists like a physical therapist, chiropractor or an acupuncturist.Pregnancy MaskAnother common pregnancy symptom, pregnancy mask may be plaguing you now. Called chloasma by the medical folks, pregnancy mask brings about blotchy areas of darkened skin, which usually appear on your cheeks, upper lip, nose and forehead. Chloasma may also show up on your arms and other sun-exposed areas.So, what causes chloasma? As you may have guessed, hormones are the culprit once again. This time they’re triggering a temporary increase in melanin production, which gives color to your skin. More melanin results in more color, causing those darker spots on your skin.Sun exposure is another factor as this also hikes up melanin production.The good news is that pregnancy mask usually fades away a few months after delivery. But, in some cases, the darkened skin areas stay put. This can be distressing, but there are ways you can help minimize effects and cope better with chloasma:
- Stay out of the sun. The sun’s rays give rise to pigment changes, so be sure to avoid sun exposure whenever you can. Use sunblock daily with SPF30 or higher for protection against even small doses of the sun that you get while driving or doing errands. Cover exposed areas by wearing a hat and long-sleeve shirts if you’re noticing changes on your arms.
- Use a concealer to help even out the blotchy discoloration on your face.
- After you deliver, if your skin is still darker than you’d like, check into cosmetic procedures that may help such as peels and lasers that help lighten skin.
Your BabyIn the 19th week of pregnancy, the pint-sized dweller in your womb is working hard on plenty of important new developments.Your baby’s senses are developing.Your baby is busy getting ready to experience the brand new world she’ll be born into soon as her brain now assigns different areas for smell, vision, hearing, taste and touch. These five senses will become your baby’s most important learning tools during early childhood, and research shows that smell is a dominant sense that develops the earliest. Why? Because smells are crossing through your amniotic fluid, giving your baby her first smells of foods you’re eating, for instance. Keep this in mind and use your newborn’s finely-tuned nose to soothe her. Many times crying babies can be calmed by simply giving the baby a piece of clothing with Mom’s scent on it.Your baby is producing red and white blood cells.With every bone in her body now producing red and white blood cells, your baby is spending lots of her energy on developing this vital part of her immune system. In fact, she’s producing them at nearly double the rate that you do. The function of her red blood cells is to carry oxygen in the blood to her cells. The function of her white blood cells is to help her fight infection. All of these cells are made from your baby’s bone marrow, specifically, and it’s also producing platelets—the cells that will clot her blood when she gets that occasional cut or scrape.Your baby is taking in more amniotic fluid.In her amniotic-filled world, your baby is gulping up more and more of the amniotic fluid she’s swimming in. And, since your foods flavor her amniotic fluid, she’s getting a taste of everything you’re eating these days. Research tells us that babies in the womb are not only nourished with their mother’s meals, they taste them and may come to prefer them. So, the best way to get your baby eating her veggies is to load them into your diet right now!Diet and Exercise Tips You Should FollowTo keep you and your baby healthy, follow these tips in week 19:Cut back on caffeine. Although moderate amounts of caffeine are OK, caffeinated beverages aren’t the best choices to aid in the healthy development of your baby. Instead of reaching for that second cup of coffee, try limiting yourself to one. Replacing caffeinated beverages with healthier options like water and milk will do your body and your baby good.Exercise daily to aid baby’s skin and lung development. This is the midpoint of your pregnancy, a time when your baby\’s skin and lungs continue to form. Exercise daily to increase delivery of healthy nutrients to these organs. Walking, swimming and biking are great routines.Things You Should Do
- It’s time for some pregnancy pampering. Enjoy a relaxing prenatal massage or indulge in a special weekend vacation with your partner.
- Avoid plastics, which pass to your baby and disrupt the hormonal and lung systems now developing. Buy frozen food or food stored in glass. Avoid products that come in plastic, Styrofoam and canned foods lined in plastic.
Words You Should KnowAPGAR Score: A method used to assess the health of a newborn baby immediately after birth.Engorgement: A condition in which breasts become overly full of milk, which may lead to blocked milk ducts. Engorged breasts may feel swollen, hard and painful.Fontanelles: Soft spots on a baby’s head that make it possible for the soft bony plates of the skull to bend, allowing the head to pass through the birth canal. By the time a child turns two, fontanelles are typically completely hardened.Triple Screen: A blood test usually done in the second trimester to check for birth defects or a condition like Down syndrome. This test can also tell if the expecting mother will give birth to multiples.