19th – 19th week of pregnancy

19 week of pregnancy

You are now in your 17th week of pregnancy and your baby, full of joy, is constantly growing inside you. Maybe you’ve already heard him move! Don’t worry too much if you still don’t feel it: the wait is almost over and soon, any day now, you’ll feel the palpitations. On this page we will find out what changes are taking place in your child and in your body during this week.

At week 19, the fifth month of your pregnancy is almost over, which means you’re halfway there on your journey to giving birth to a new human being. Compliments! While you may have yet to realize it, your little miracle has already started moving around in its amniotic sac , kicking and shaking its fists. Between the 17th and 24th week the baby’s growth slows down, but in any case the cranio-caudal length will increase by about 50 mm

The development of the fetus in the nineteenth week

The development of the nervous system

It is a week of vital importance for the development of the fetal nervous system, as the nerve cells responsible for the senses of taste, touch, sight and hearing are developing in the respective areas of the brain.

The production of new nerve cells slows down at this stage, as the existing ones start to get bigger, making complex connections between them.

The development of the limbs

The arms and legs of the fetus have nearly reached their final proportions, while the bones of the extremities continue to ossify and harden.

Your baby can now better control their limbs, as the neurons between the muscles and the brain are now connected.

Even though the skin is still semi-transparent with blood vessels still visible, a layer of fat has just begun to form underneath the skin.

Another big change this week is the formation of a coating, called vernix, around your baby’s entire body.

This substance, called caseous because it is similar to cheese, contains epithelial cells mixed with a fatty substance secreted by the baby’s sebaceous glands.

The vernix is ​​retained on the surface also thanks to the lanugo, with the aim of protecting the skin.

The development of internal organs

All of her internal organs are already functioning, with her kidneys producing urine, which makes up the bulk of her amniotic fluid.

His heart is still beating twice as fast as yours, with the beat getting faster every week.

In this week, a special substance – called brown fat – begins to form around her internal organs, which is capable of producing heat, and has the purpose of protecting her vital organs from the damage that can be caused by the sudden changes in temperature of childbirth and postpartum .

The size of the child

The fetus is approximately 15.24 centimeters long, and weighs approximately 240 grams. Hence, it is almost as big as a mango.

The changes in the woman’s body

Your belly is getting bigger and rounder, as the top of your uterus has now reached your belly button.

This means that it has completed half of its journey to the upper abdomen.

The increased blood volume raises your temperature, making you feel hotter and make you sweat more often than usual.

As your body prepares to breastfeed, it continues to produce colostrum (the first fluid your breasts secrete), and you may now notice a thick, yellowish fluid oozing from your nipples.

Although many expectant mothers already begin to feel their baby move (a phenomenon called “quickening” in English), there’s nothing to worry about if you still don’t feel movement at this stage.

The fact of feeling fetal movements is in fact connected to the position of the fetus in the uterus: those who have the uterus in the front of the abdomen will probably feel their baby move earlier than those who have the uterus positioned in the back of the abdomen .

The ultrasound at the 19th week

Transabdominal ultrasound (also called fetal morphology ultrasound) a routine ultrasound of the second trimester of pregnancy , is usually performed between the  18th  and  20th  weeks.

At this stage of pregnancy, an ultrasound image allows the doctor to see both the outside and – because of your skin which is still transparent – ​​the inside of your baby’s body as well.

If not already done during the  previous week , the gender of the baby is also identified this week.

However, the main purpose of this ultrasound is to evaluate the growth and heartbeat of the fetus, as well as to check for any congenital anomalies.

This test is also known as fetal abnormality screening, as it can detect many neural tube defects and malformations of internal organs, such as spina bifida, anencephaly (failure to develop the brain and cranial bones), hydrocephalus ( accumulation of fluid within the brain), kidney and limb defects, cerebral palsy, and heart defects, which could be due to a variety of reasons including Down  syndrome .

Further tests will be performed in case the ultrasound detects any of the problems just mentioned.

In some cases, a transvaginal ultrasound may be done in addition to detecting pregnancy complications, such as placenta previa .

ultrasound in twin pregnancies

In  twin pregnancy  , to ascertain the health and growth of both babies and, at the same time, and to detect any complications, such as conjoined twins or feto-fetal transfusion syndrome, a fetal morphological ultrasound is useful.

Since it is often very difficult to assess their growth with just one view, the babies are photographed in an ultrasound image, separately.

The symptoms of the nineteenth week

The common symptoms of this period consist,

  • from leg cramps, especially at night;
  • from the linea nigra;
  • the appearance of dark spots, mainly on the face (the “mask of pregnancy” or chloasma);
  • from shortness of breath;
  • from a daze;
  • from swollen or bleeding gums;
  • an occasional stabbing pain in one or both hips (due to the growing uterus putting pressure on surrounding organs);
  • from a pain in the round ligament of the uterus;
  • from pain in the hips and joints;
  • from pain in the pelvis and coccyx;
  • from constipation and from flatulence;
  • from heartburn and indigestion;
  • from weight gain (the increase, in this phase, is generally between 3 and 6 kg);
  • from mood swings;
  • from a more frequent feeling of hunger;
  • from itchy skin, especially around the expanding abdomen, chest, and nipples.

Signs and symptoms to watch out for

Pay special attention should you notice the following symptoms.

  • An increase in pelvic pressure, mild stomach cramps, lower back pain, light bleeding, or any change in vaginal discharge – these are symptoms that could indicate an opening of the cervix, and an increased risk of miscarriage .
  • A burning pain when urinating, together with back pain, greenish-yellow or whitish gelatinous vaginal discharge, stomach pain: these are symptoms that could indicate a vaginal infection, kidney infection or candidiasis.
  • Vaginal secretions weak and watery, clear or straw-colored: they could indicate leakage of amniotic fluid.
  • Extreme tiredness accompanied by nausea, dry mouth, excessive thirst and vision problems: symptoms that could indicate the existence of gestational diabetes.
  • Persistent headaches , together with intense tachycardia, dizziness, vision changes, pain in the upper right part of the abdomen, swelling especially of the hands and feet: these are symptoms that could indicate a hypertension or pre-eclampsia.
  • Severe morning sickness and diarrhea lasting more than a day.
  • Chronic depression or anxiety: “classic” anxiolytics such as Xanax are not recommended during pregnancy. The treatment of the problems mentioned must necessarily be evaluated and followed up by a specialist to ensure the safety of the fetus.

Some tips for a healthy pregnancy and baby

  • It is essential that you maintain good posture throughout your pregnancy . This helps prevent pain related to a growing uterus which puts pressure on your muscles and ligaments, so try to keep your body straight, so that your shoulders and hips are in line, when you stand or when paths;
  • Straightening your legs and flexing your ankles and toes toward your shins can help ease the pain of nighttime cramps.
  • Try to stay in quiet and peaceful places as much as possible, because now your baby is now developed enough to react to noises. Sudden loud sounds and noises may disturb him: you can also listen to some relaxing music to keep him calm;
  • Attend prenatal yoga classes , or follow a “routine” of light physical exercises under medical supervision.
  • Get dental checkups in case you have swollen and bleeding gums.
  • In your daily diet, try to get enough calcium, vitamin D (dairy products such as yogurt and cheese) and consistently follow all the supplements indicated by your doctor, such as folic acid, also contained in vegetables and fruit such as spinach, asparagus, beans, avocado , and oranges.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform, Maternicity.com.

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