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19 Weeks Pregnant


Image: Fetal Development At 19 Weeks

By the end of this week, your baby will have more than doubled in weight. His feet are now about an inch long! Your little one’s senses are developing rapidly, with taste, hearing, touch, sight, and smell sharpening all the time.

Baby even sleeps at regular times and has begun to use his lungs, practising breathing techniques in preparation for life in the world outside. Now, the nerves connecting the muscles to the brain are in place, so baby’s movements are directed consciously.

You will have probably gained around 14 pounds now and your body is really changing. As well as the weight of the baby, uterus, placenta, and growing breasts, you will be a bit bigger elsewhere. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to worry about shedding any extra pounds after the baby comes!

Keep in mind that this extra weight may affect your posture and sleep, so it’s probably a good idea to check out some yoga classes. Yoga will help correct bad posture and teach you good sitting habits, which can really help to minimise back pain.

Read our information about exercise in pregnancy and always speak to your class instructor. Meanwhile, keep your posture in check by sitting up straight with your back supported – particularly your lower back, and rest your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.

Almost all mums will feel their baby moving this week. Some mums have said it feels like fluttering, trapped wind or almost like having a butterfly inside. This is known as ‘quickening’. Later on in your pregnancy it will definitely feel like kicking!

You’re likely to have a routine antenatal appointment around this time so be sure to write down any questions you have – you might be a bit forgetful at the moment. Remember to put a MAT B1 form on your list – you might need it for any benefits and maternity pay. This is available from 20 weeks.

It could also be a good idea to take some time for romance with your partner. Some couples find that sex and intimacy decline during pregnancy since you’re tired and your partner might even worry about hurting the baby. Happily for you, sex in pregnancy won’t harm your little one if you’re experiencing a normal pregnancy. On the other hand if you just don’t feel like it, why not curl up and have a cuddle instead?
What sort of foods should I eat in pregnancy?
It’s very important to eat well in pregnancy. Sometimes this is easier said than done, and many pregnant women report not feeling very hungry. But the truth is even if you don’t feel in need of food, your baby is, so get munching! Keep in mind your body is under a lot of extra strain right now, growing a whole other human being inside you! This means you need to exercise good judgment in your food choices.

You might feel like eating junk at times, but try your best to avoid it. For example why not snack on some nuts or seeds instead of a packet of crisps, or fruit instead of a bowl of ice-cream? No one is saying you should deny yourself the occasional treat. Just ensure that on the whole your diet is balanced and nutritious, made up of:

  • Fruit and vegetables – and plenty of them. Read our tips on getting more fruit and veg into your diet below
  • Protein-rich foods – for example lean meat, eggs (but never raw or runny), and pulses (like beans and lentils). Try to get two portions of fish in a week. Oily fish like salmon can be particularly good because it contains a lot of omega 3, which is healthy for the joints and the brain
  • Dairy – for example milk and yoghurt. Products like that have plenty of calcium which is much needed for your baby’s developing bones!
  • Starchy foods like pasta, bread, rice and potatoes. Wholegrain options are always best. They provide a slower release of energy, making you less likely to experience a slump in energy
  • Sea fish and dairy products are particularly good sources of iodine, which is a must for your baby’s healthy development.

Should I be eating for two in pregnancy?
The old expression ‘eating for two’ is a bit misleading because in fact you only really need to take in about 300-500 extra calories during pregnancy.

Choose wisely in those calories – skip the junk food and eat things high in protein and vitamins instead. But don’t get hung up on counting calories. The main priority is to eat sensible amounts of nutrient-rich foods. If you’re unsure, check with your midwife about your weight gain.

How many meals should I eat?
A good balance is three meals a day with two or three healthy snacks at intervals. If you are prone to nausea in pregnancy then eat little and often. Five or six mini-meals might be easier on your tummy and you might want to put food in Tupperware boxes to save snacking on convenience foods that might be less healthy.

How much fruit and veg should I eat in pregnancy?
Plenty! You should eat at least five portions of fruit and veg per day. Good examples of portions include:

  • One dessert bowl full of salad
  • Three heaped tablespoons of pulses or cooked veg
  • One banana, apple or orange
  • Half a pepper, avocado or grapefruit.

Sadly, potatoes don’t count and eating multiple portions of the same fruit or veg doesn’t add to your score. For example four apples don’t make four of your five a day. Also fruit juice only ever counts as one portion no matter how much you drink. Smoothies made up of different crushed fruits might count as two though.

The trick is to mix up your fruit and veg. Then you should get plenty of the different nutrients you need. By all means find a good, safe pregnancy multivitamin as back-up but don’t rely completely on it because the healthiest way to get nutrients is through food.

If you are someone who doesn’t tend to like fruit and veg or if you just don’t feel like it due to morning sickness, see if you can sneak it into your food subtly. For example try mashed banana on toast instead of jam. Eat oats with fresh fruit and seeds instead of plain porridge with sugar. There are lots of good recipes online too.

It can be hard to get the motivation to try new recipes or worry about fruit and veg when you’re tired and possibly nauseous. But remember it will all be worth it in the end. And hopefully those extra greens will give you a bit more energy for fun and romance with your partner!
Are there any foods I shouldn’t eat in pregnancy?
Yes. Unfortunately you’ll have to cut out what might be some of your favourite bites because they could be hazardous for your little one. Cheer up, it’s not for long. Stay away from:

  • Cheeses with white mouldy rind like camembert and brie, as well as blue cheeses like stilton. These cheeses may contain listeria, a bacteria that may harm your baby
  • Pate and undercooked or raw meat and eggs (so no runny eggs for you!). They could all contain hazardous bacteria so you have to make sure all your meat and eggs are cooked thoroughly
    • Raw seafood like oysters, or sushi that hasn’t been frozen before it was made
    • Swordfish, shark or marlin, because they contain unsafe amounts of natural mercury. Tuna also contains some mercury so don’t eat more than two fresh tuna steaks or four medium-sized cans a week
    • Liver and liver products (like liver sausage and pate). They may contain large quantities of vitamin A in retinol form. Too much of this is hazardous for your growing baby
    • Alcohol. Ideally you should stop drinking altogether, but if you do want to drink whilst pregnant you should limit it to two units of alcohol once or twice a week, and you should not get drunk
    • Cut out or cut down caffeine. If you do want to drink caffeine, keep it to 200mg maximum a day. That’s 4 mugs of tea or 2 mugs of instant coffee, or 5 cola cans a day (but bear in mind that cola is also full of sugar, and too much of that is also harmful for your baby). Really, if you want a hot drink you’re better off with caffeine-free fruit tea.

    Can I go on a diet while I’m pregnant?
    Dieting is most definitely not recommended in pregnancy and it could be harmful for you and your little one.

    Some diets leave you depleted of folic acid, iron, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Remember you are supposed to gain quite a bit of weight in pregnancy – it is of the key signals that your baby is doing well.

    So instead of counting calories, concentrate on eating fresh, healthy foods. You will gain weight – you are meant to! You can worry about burning any excess weight off after the baby’s born. For now just focus on getting the right nourishment.

    If you started pregnancy overweight then you can improve your eating by cutting out high-fat and sugary foods and getting some exercise. But remember, seek professional medical advice before changing the amount you eat. Even exercise should be practiced with caution and guidance from your doctor or midwife in pregnancy. Read our article on exercise in pregnancy for more tips.

    Are there healthy ways to gain weight?
    Steady wins the race. Throughout your whole pregnancy you’ll probably put on about 10kg to 12.5kg. Although remember, weight gain varies in pregnancy and is dependent on a lot of different factors. Focus on eating a healthy range of food and get plenty of fruit and veg, starchy carbohydrates, milk and dairy foods and protein. Keep fats and sugars to a minimum.

    It’s not just about the amount of weight you gain but when you gain it. You’ll probably gain the least in the first trimester. Second trimester gain should be steady and third trimester gain will be most pronounced because your baby is growing so rapidly by then.

    Possible Scan at Week 19
    Also sometimes known as a 20 Week Scan, in an Anomaly Scan your baby’s anatomy is examined in detail. Measurements will be made of the head, brain, abdomen and legs. These will be plotted on a chart. Then your baby’s heart, brain, spine, bowel and limbs are checked to detect any abnormalities. This can never completely guarantee that the baby will be normal, but it gives very strong reassurance. The placenta, amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord are also all checked. If you wish, you can find out the sex of your baby from this scan.

    An Anomaly Scan can be performed from 18 weeks but some doctors advise scans between 202-243 weeks. This is because often at that time the images of the baby are clearer. However, it’s not advisable to schedule this scan beyond 24 weeks because after that time the baby is more likely to adopt a position that is unfavourable for clear views.

    You’ll be given a few pictures of your baby to keep. Some clinics also offer you a chance to get a glimpse of your baby in 4D (moving film), but this is in addition to the Anomaly Scan and charged accordingly.

    Possible Scan at Week 19
    A Sexing Scan (also sometimes called a Gender Identification Scan) can be performed to find out the sex of your baby at this stage.

    The baby will also be measured and your medical professional will assess his or her wellbeing. Sexing scans are highly reliable but can be more difficult if a woman is very overweight, or if the baby is in an unfavourable position.

    Gender Scan or Sexing Scan

    Gender Scan (Boy) Picture (Click image to enlarge)

    Generally, if a healthcare professional is unsure about the sex of your baby they won’t guess. But thankfully it’s very unusual to be unable to determine the sex of the baby.

    Possible Scan at Week 19
    A Reassurance Scan can be performed anywhere from 14-22 weeks. It’s not usually necessary but might be advisable if you have had bleeding or have been unwell.

    The baby’s head, abdomen, and leg length will be measured. The placenta can be located and the amniotic fluid and umbilical cord assessed. The measurements will be plotted on a graph which you will be given.

    Reassurance Scan

    Reassurance Scan Picture (Click image to enlarge)

    The scan is performed through the tummy (a trans-abdominal scan), and usually takes 15-20 minutes. You don’t need to have a full bladder and no special preparation is needed. You’ll have a few pictures of the baby to take away with you.