Find out what's going on inside your body now that you're 19 weeks pregnant and firmly into your second trimester. Read why it's a good idea to book a holiday sooner rather than later, and what else to expect now that you're virtually halfway through your pregnancy.
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What's happening at 19 weeks?
Here are the key things you can expect from your pregnancy at this stage:
- Your baby's head and body are getting more in proportion.
- Your bump's really growing, which can cause discomfort and aches and pains.
- You should start feeling movement about now, if you haven't already.
- You may feel out of breath and need the loo a lot – again.
How big is your baby?
This week, your baby is roughly as long as a Cadbury's Curly Wurly chocolate bar. They're piling on the weight and will measure about 15cm in length and weigh around 240g.
Your baby is also starting to look a little less alien and a little more human now that the head and body are more in proportion.
Around now, the neck muscles will have gained enough tone and strength to enable your baby to move their head back and forth. Your little one is even starting to form tiny little eyelashes and eyebrows!
Your baby's skin is developing a coating of something called vernix – a white, waxy substance that protects skin in the amniotic fluid. Most babies are born with a bit of vernix on them, and it's thought to help protect your baby from infection for the first few days of their life.
What's going on with your body?
Give your belly a little prod around your tummy button and you’ll probably find that the top of your uterus has reached that point. From now on, it will grow around a centimetre a week.
That fluttering feeling in there is very likely to be your baby doing little flips. Most first-time mums notice the first baby movements somewhere around this part of the second trimester.
What starts as a fluttering or popping sensation, will soon turn into be able to feel whether your baby is rolling over or jabbing you in the ribs!
If you've had a baby before, you're probably already familiar with your baby's movements by now. But don't worry if not. Some women don't feel much yet, especially if they have an anterior placenta (where the placenta forms on the front wall of the belly – this can cushion your baby's kicks).
If you have been feeling the movements for a while though, it's good to start paying attention to your baby's unique pattern of movements. Do they move most often after you've just had something to eat? When you're lying down? At certain times of day?
It's really important to get to know your baby's movements because, in later pregnancy, a change to your baby's movements can be a sign that they're struggling and need extra help. There's no need to 'count the kicks', and no set number of movements you should feel every day; just get used to what's normal for your baby, so you can alert your midwife if there's any change.
And never mind your body; you may notice that it's your skin bothering you the most. According to US research, 90% of pregnant women notice changes to their skin (dryness, eczema, pigmentation, sensitivity) during pregnancy.
Don't worry, it should return to 'normal' once the baby arrives and your hormones settle back down. In the meantime, check out the best moisturisers for pregnancy to get some immediate relief.
What to expect this week: feeling the squeeze
As your bump expands, you may notice some pain and discomfort associated with the added weight. This can put pressure on your pelvis, hips and back, so make sure you're aware of your changing posture and use pillows and cushions to support you sitting down or in bed.
As your uterus grows upwards and outwards, it can start to compress your organs a bit.
One effect is that the squeeze on your lungs can leave you rather breathless . If you find yourself puffing and panting after relatively little physical effort, don’t worry. Eventually you’ll get your breath back properly, even if it’s not until around week 32 when your baby’s head ‘engages’ (drops down into your pelvis in preparation for labour).
And, talking of feeling squeezed, another common complaint at this stage is that the need to run to the loo is back with a vengeance. This time it’s caused by your uterus weighing down onto your bladder, meaning it feels full sooner than usual.
And the list goes on ...
Some mums-to-be experience heartburn again around now, too. At this stage it could still be due to pregnancy hormones, which cause the valves at the entrance to the stomach to relax allowing stomach acids to leak into the oesophagus.
As your bump continues to grow, you may also find that despite being hungry, you can't eat as much as you'd like. This is because your uterus begins putting pressure on your stomach, leaving less space for food and making you feel full before you've even got half-way through your plate.
Just as well you're not really meant to eat for two then!
Eating smaller meals, less often will help to reduce heartburn. Not only that, but you're likely to get a wider variety of foods that way, which means a wider variety of nutrients to support your growing baby's development.
What to do this week: plan a holiday
If you haven’t had a holiday recently, now could be the time to book a last-minute getaway.
If you don’t have any children yet, it can be a chance for you and your partner to enjoy some special time together. If you do already have kids you can make the most of a holiday tailored to their needs before a baby comes along.
While anything too action-packed might be off the agenda, there’s nothing to say you can’t enjoy some lovely walks in the countryside, swimming in a pool, or just chilling out on a lounger!
Just make sure that you head off sooner rather than later. Most airlines won’t want you to fly with them after about week 37, or earlier if you're carrying twins or multiples.
Always check with your airline though as some have different cut-off dates and may require a fit-to-fly certificate from your GP, too.
If you're planning to fly fairly late on in pregnancy (or your bump is particularly huge) it's not a bad idea to take a doctor's letter with you anyway, stating that you’re fit to fly. Ask your GP for it as close to your departure date as you can.
Check your travel insurance covers pregnancy-related treatment and don’t forget to take your pregnancy notes with you when you go away.
On the flight, make sure that you:
- Wear flight socks or support tights to reduce your risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), especially on any flight longer than three or four hours. Put them on when you get out of bed and keep them on until you reach your accommodation at the other end.
- Drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated during the flight (probably best to book an aisle seat so you don’t keep having to make people move when you need to pee).
- Get up and walk up and down the aisles from time to time.
- Circle your ankles regularly, in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions, to keep the circulation going.
Your 19 week to-do list
1 Book a holiday – already got little ones? Here's how to do a family holiday without spending a fortune.
2 Not sleeping well? Having the right support pillows or cushion can be a huge help.
3 Treat yourself to some new makeup – the majority of mums-to-be notice their skin tone and skin type changes in pregnancy so you may find you need new products that suit it better.
4 Wear an SPF – pregnancy can make your skin particularly sensitive to the sun so wearing sun protection is a must in pregnancy. Using it on your face will also help avoid pigmentation occurring.
5 Have a giggle with our 10 things not to say to pregnant women - how many have you heard?
What to watch this week...
Get expert tips on what to expect at 19 weeks pregnant from our midwife.
Go to Your Week of Pregnancy
What happens next week...
Want to know what happens when you're 20 weeks pregnant ? Or do you need to remind yourself what you read last week ? Click on the numbers above to find out more about what to expect when you're that number of weeks pregnant.