Pregnancy Tracker: Week 19

Pregnancy Tracker: Week 19




You are fast approaching the mid-way mark of your pregnancy, with some exciting milestones to look forward to!

Your baby is about the size of a mango, weighs approximately 230g, and measures about 15cm. Growth continues at a rapid rate and your uterus has now reached your abdominal wall.

Baby’s movements could be felt anytime now

If you have not yet felt your baby move, you can expect this to happen soon, and it is undoubtedly one of the most thrilling experiences for a mum-to-be! Even though your pregnancy test showed positive, and your scan also confirmed this, that little kick or flutter in your tummy is absolute proof of the life developing inside you.

The movements can vary from person to person, and throughout pregnancy. If this is a subsequent pregnancy and you are on the slim side, you will likely feel movement before your pregnant sisters who are larger or are having their first baby.

In the beginning, the movements can be confused with muscle spasms or wind. If you haven’t felt movement by the middle of month 5, your healthcare provider will probably want to do a scan to check up on progress. Lack of movement can be due to incorrect dates or the position of the placenta which, if front facing, can cushion the baby’s movements. An ultrasound scan will put your mind at rest that all is well.

It is important not to make comparisons with other pregnant mums-to-be because each person is unique and will feel movement differently. Although it is the norm to feel the first kick between weeks 18 and 22, it could just as well happen a week or two later.

Baby’s development continues in week 19

A big happening this week is that your baby will develop a coating of vernix over the entire body. This is a waxy, white substance compiled of the downy hair lanugo (which your baby already has), mixed with oil and dead skin cells. Does this sound gross? It is actually good, as it forms a protective layer between baby’s soft, sensitive skin and the amniotic fluid. Vernix disappears as the time of birth approaches, although sometimes babies are born with it, especially if premature.

You would be amazed to see that your baby is growing tiny little hairs on the head, as well as developing eyelashes and eyebrows. Fingerprints and footprints are also forming at about this time.

It is not only they physical development that is taking place at this stage. Your baby’s five senses are also developing and refining. Vision, smell, touch, taste, and hearing are all making great strides in development, with special places in the brain designated for each sense. Remember that your baby is most certainly able to hear your heartbeat, breathing and tummy sounds, and can also probably hear your voice – so keep talking and singing to baby!

You and your body at 19 weeks pregnant

Your second trimester pregnancy symptoms continue and are here to stay for the duration of the gestational period. So it is best to understand these symptoms and work around strategies of coping with them.


The ligaments in your body and joints in your pelvis become softer during pregnancy due to the hormone relaxin, which is activated to prepare you for the rigours of labour. This, together with your growing abdomen, can put a strain on the pelvis and lower back, which results in the typical backache pregnant mums-to-be experience.

To ease the pain:

  • Take care how you lift items from the floor; bend knees and keep back straight
  • Don’t lift anything heavy
  • Ditch the heels – wear flat shoes
  • When carrying shopping bags, try to balance the weight in two hands
  • Keep your back well supported when sitting
  • Ensure your mattress is suitable – not too hard and not too soft
  • Incorporate a routine of gentle exercises into your day

Nasal congestion

Do you sound like you have a head cold? Does your nose start bleeding at odd moments? Do you have an inexplicable post-nasal drip?

These may be extremely annoying symptoms, but luckily they are, for the most part, harmless. Stuffy noses affect about 65% of pregnant women, so you are not alone! Nosebleeds and nasal congestion (also known as pregnancy rhinitis) occur due to increased blood flow and swelling of the mucus membranes as well as increased levels of progesterone and oestrogen.


Sluggish bowels causing constipation is a common complaint during pregnancy. Unfortunately, it is probably here to stay for a good while as constipation can worsen as pregnancy progresses. Progesterone can be blamed for this condition as it causes the bowel muscles to relax and prevents food from being digested quickly. The advantage of this is that your body is able to digest more nutrients, but the disadvantage can result in constipation. You will also want to avoid developing uncomfortable haemorrhoids, which is a common side effect.

To do this you need to:

  • Eat plenty of fibre – at least 25-35 grams a day
  • Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily to keep solids on the move in your digestive tract
  • Eat small meals so as not to overtax your system
  • Cut out refined foods like white bread and rice
  • Exercise regularly

Sleep deprivation

You know that sleep is a necessity, especially during pregnancy, and most healthcare providers recommend 8-10 hours of sleep per night.

You have had a busy and tiring day and can’t wait to rest you head on your pillow and sink into sweet oblivion. But for some reason, as soon as you start relaxing, sleepiness disappears.

It can be very frustrating lying in bed waiting for sleep to overcome you. If you are not getting the right amount of uninterrupted sleep each night, there are some tricks and strategies you can try:

  • First check that your mattress is comfortable. A soft but supportive mattress is ideal.
  • Avoid spicy or rich foods at your last meal of the day as this can cause heartburn which could disturb your sleep.
  • If you suffer from restless leg syndrome (RLS), which is common during pregnancy, try to exercise during the day and ensure your vitamin supplements include folate and iron.
  • Don’t sleep too long during the day; short restful periods with legs elevated should suffice.
  • If you still suffer bouts of nausea, snack on dry biscuits or crackers at bedtime.
  • Reduce your fluid intake before bed to prevent the need for too many bathroom trips.
  • Use a pillow for extra body support; whether a normal pillow, a tube-shaped pregnancy pillow, or a wedge pillow, the benefits are amazing and can help to ensure a better night’s sleep.

Take advantage of this stage of your pregnancy as there will be no better time for a bit of fun! You are feeling healthier and more energised, you are not yet weighed down by a large bump and you don’t have the responsibilities of a newborn baby.

Enjoy an evening out with your partner and/or friends, take in a movie or a show, go on a day trip or better yet, book a pre-baby vacation!

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