Your baby is about the size of a mango at 19 weeks pregnant as opposed to a bell pepper in week 18 and weighs up to approximately 8 ounces. Milk teeth buds have developed already and buds for permanent teeth are forming behind them. Your baby’s eyelashes and eye brows are present and have grown longer.
The hair on your baby’s head is growing thicker with every week that goes by, although not all babies have much hair at birth. Some are bald, while others have a longer, thicker mane. If your baby is born with hair, expect some of it to fall out within a few days or weeks.
Most newborn hair falls out; this is completely normal. The replacement hair that grows in may be very different in texture as well as color, because hair may get darker or even lighter with time. It won’t be long now until you find out if your baby will be perfectly bald or have a full head of hair! Your baby is almost halfway to his or her due date!
Your little one’s skin is still transparent and very thin at this point. This makes your baby look quite red. If you could see into your womb, you would be able to see your baby’s tiny veins, because the network of blood vessels that run underneath the skin can be seen easily, in addition to bones. What we think of as “normal” skin is formed during the last trimester of pregnancy.
Your baby’s skin is becoming coated with vernix (also known as vernix caseosa) now. Vernix is a white, waxy or cheesy-textured substance which is secreted by your baby’s sebaceous glands (which produce skin oils after birth) while in the womb. Basically, vernix is made up of sebum (oil of the skin), dead skin cells and lanugo. It’s role is to protect your baby’s very delicate skin from the constant exposure to the watery amniotic fluid. This greasy goo also assists with passage through the birth canal during delivery, because it makes your baby much more slippery.
Some of the vernix gradually dissolves toward the end of the third trimester. Full-term babies tend to have it only in skin folds. Vernix is normally wiped off in the delivery room following birth, but if this remaining vernix is wiped away, it may cause your baby’s skin to peel during the first week. Some parents choose to leave it on the skin until it flakes off on its own, because if it is left intact, the skin may stay more hydrated and healthy.
Your Body in Pregnancy
Your uterus, along with your baby, has grown considerably over the last several weeks and is likely reaching your belly button now. As growth starts becoming more regular from now on, you should notice regular changes in your belly bulge. Onlookers are definitely starting to notice the bump you’re sporting at this point. The size of your abdomen is still quite manageable this week, allowing freedom of movement, but as your belly grows larger, you may be much more comfortable in less restrictive clothing made from lighter-weight fabrics, particularly in warmer climates.
Pregnancy causes your basal metabolic rate to increase, which may lead to an increase in your body temperature and the possibility of overheating. Make sure you’re getting at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water throughout the day and not over-doing it when it comes to exercise. With this temperature rise, you may even have to crack a window at night in the middle of Winter!
If this is your first baby and you haven’t already looked into childbirth preparation classes, now may be a good time. It’s best to sign up early, because classes fill up very quickly; well before the starting date.
These classes cover a wide range of topics, are helpful in easing anxiety and are wonderful for calming worries about giving birth. They may help you prepare for labor and delivery by answering many of the questions you have about the overall birthing experience including breathing techniques, hospital policies and pain management. Childbirth classes also help prepare you for possible labor and delivery situations including possible cesarean delivery.
Usually, parents start taking childbirth classes towards the third trimester. There are a variety of classes geared towards what to expect after your little ones arrives; such as breastfeeding and caring for your new baby.
If you’re a first-time mom, you may think about taking a breastfeeding class and a newborn class in addition to childbirth preparation. There are even classes available for teen moms, new fathers, new grandparents and also refresher courses for experienced parents, in many areas. Talk to your doctor or midwife at your next visit or call your local hospital about what types of classes are offered in your community.
Around this time, your breasts begin to produce a thin, clear or yellowish fluid called “colostrum” in preparation for your baby’s arrival, although it will likely go unnoticed by you until later in pregnancy or after your baby’s birth.
Colostrum is the first stage of breast milk that your breasts make, which will feed your baby for the first few days, if you choose to breastfeed. Two or three days after your baby makes his or her way into the world, your mature milk will come in full-force.
Some women experience colostrum leaking slightly from their breasts late in the third trimester, but it may occur at any point during pregnancy. Sometimes, women are only able to express a couple drops out. Not leaking colostrum is completely normal, as well.
Many women don’t experience any leaking until they begin breastfeeding after delivery. All variations are completely normal and if you don’t produce any colostrum during your pregnancy, that doesn’t mean you’ll have trouble producing enough milk for your baby after he or she is born. If you start leaking colostrum and it’s soaking your clothes, try wearing nursing pads inside your bra. You can find disposable ones and even washable cotton ones in most department stores.