At 19 weeks, you’re in the middle of the second trimester and almost halfway through the 40-week pregnancy. At this point, you’re probably starting to become aware of some new physical discomforts. Distract yourself by preparing for the baby’s arrival—and if you think it’s too soon, be assured that, when the baby comes, you’ll wish you had started preparing sooner.
If you didn’t have an ultrasound scan already last week, expect to get one this time or in the next couple of weeks to check on the status of the baby. Ask the technician to print out a photo image of the scan. Be sure to ask which end is up, as it’s not always obvious.
Size and Growth
At 19 weeks gestation, your baby’s fetal age is 17 weeks. His length ranges from 5.25 to 6 inches long. He probably weighs from 7 to 8.5 ounces. If your baby is a girl, she has more than 6 million eggs in her ovaries at this point.
Your baby’s brain is developing to partition off the parts responsible for his five senses. At 19 weeks, his hearing has developed to the point that he can hear sounds in the outside world, and maybe even your voice. So talk, sing and laugh as much as you want—it can’t do any harm, and it may begin the process of your baby learning who you are.
Your baby’s neurological system now allows her muscles to move reflexively. You may even be able to feel some of these movements. Twenty hours out of the day, though, your baby is asleep.
Hair may be growing on your baby’s head. Over your baby’s skin, on top of the downy layer of hair known as the lanugo, is a coating called vernix, a waxy layer that protects the fetus’s tender skin from the amniotic fluid, which is made up partially of the urine your baby’s kidneys are producing.
Hydrocephalus is a rare condition leading to enlargement of the head that occurs in 0.05 percent of babies. By 19 weeks into your pregnancy, your doctor should be able to see if hydrocephalus is present by ultrasound. If found, the condition may be able to be treated by intrauterine therapy.
Your Body’s Changes
Even though your baby weighs less than half a pound, you’ll probably have gained between eight and 14 pounds, most of it accountable to the placenta, the amniotic fluid, the uterus’ expansion, your bigger breasts and the extra blood you’re pumping through your body to carry oxygen and nutrients to your baby. With your hand, you can feel your enlarged uterus just under your belly button. Around this time, you may also notice that your skin is turning blotchy (the “mask of pregnancy”) and redder or darker in areas such as the palms and nipples. This is normal. You may be experiencing dizziness from low blood pressure (hypotension), especially when rising suddenly or even when lying on your back. It’s common for the skin to become dry, so be sure to drink plenty of water.