Week-by-week guide to pregnancy
Our week-by-week pregnancy guide is full of essential information. From staying fit in pregnancy to advice on your maternity rights, you'll find it all here. Happy reading!
Week 19 – your second trimester
You're nearly at the halfway point so why not crack open a bottle of sparkling water to celebrate this achievement?
You're probably starting to feel less agile now and may be getting tired from lack of sleep or lugging around the extra weight. Tempting though it is to stay on the sofa, get out there and do some exercise, but try not to overdo it, as you're carrying precious cargo…
What's happening in my body?
Week by week, as your bump gets bigger, some of the things that you used to take for granted will become more challenging. By week 40, you'll be cheering if you can put on your socks!
It's great for you and baby to stay active, but some exercises, such as running, could become uncomfortable. That's because the hormone, relaxin, loosens up your ligaments, leaving your back, knees and ankles without their usual support. You should be able to talk when you exercise (it's called the 'talk test'), so make sure that you can chat away when you do your Couch to 5k.
Meanwhile, your baby's practising kung fu… at least that's how it will feel in a few weeks' time! You might think that bubbling is wind, but it could be your baby moving. You'll soon be able to pinpoint every kick, punch and somersault.
The big sleep
If you admit to problems sleeping, then you'll probably get lots of jokey comments such as: 'Just wait 'til the baby's born'. However, lack of sleep is no laughing matter. It can be a sign of depression or anxiety. You may also find yourself up all night with aches and pains, toilet trips, leg cramps, indigestion, heartburn and nightmares. Not getting enough sleep in pregnancy can be very upsetting, and worrying about it only makes things worse.
Try these four tips:
- Practise 'beditation' – a mixture of meditation and gentle stretches designed to help you drift off.
- See if Sleepio could help you – it's an app that looks at your lifestyle and gives you weekly access to a sleep expert called 'the Prof'. It's available on the NHS in some areas.
- Take a free online sleep test for personalised advice.
- Sleep on your side, and use pillows to support your bump and any aching muscles. Also try sleeping with a pillow between your knees.
Second trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 19 weeks)
Are you worried about anything? Trust your instincts and share any concerns with your health professional. The baby charity Tommy's has created a video to help you speak up with confidence.
Your signs of pregnancy this week could include:
- tiredness and sleeping problems
- stretch marks
- swollen and bleeding gums
- pains on the side of your pregnant belly, caused by your expanding womb (known as 'round ligament pains')
- bloating and constipation
- indigestion and heartburn
- sore breasts
- leg cramps
- feeling hot
- swollen hands and feet
- urine infections
- vaginal infections
- darkened skin on your face or brown patches - this is known as chloasma or the 'mask of pregnancy'
- greasier, spotty skin
- thicker and shinier hair
- symptoms from earlier weeks, such as morning sickness, weird pregnancy cravings, a heightened sense of smell, mood swings, a white milky pregnancy discharge from your vagina and light spotting (seek medical advice for any bleeding)
Tommy's, the baby charity, has a further list of common symptoms.
What does my baby look like?
Your baby, or foetus, is around 15.3cm long from head to bottom, and weighs around 240g. That's approximately the size of a beef tomato and weight of two salmon fillets. Your baby's fattening up, ready for their big appearance in about 21 weeks' time.
The baby's adult teeth are starting to grow, and they're lining up behind the first set. You won't get to see any teeth at all until your baby's about six months old.
You might still be thinking about where to give birth. There's plenty of time to mull it over. Find out your local options and go and have a look at them.
You are bound to have lots of questions – here are some that you could ask. It's important to find somewhere that meets your needs and makes you feel supported.
This week you could also…
You don't have to tell your employer for several more weeks, but as soon as you do, you will have maternity rights and can attend antenatal appointments during paid work time. You can also ask for a risk assessment of your work place. If you want to wait, the latest you can leave it is 15 weeks before the baby is due, which is around week 25. It will probably be rather obvious by then anyway!
It's a good time to tone up those muscles 'down under'. Gentle exercises can help to prevent leakage when you laugh, sneeze, cough or jump around on your baby's future trampoline. Get the muscles going by pretending that you're having a wee and then stop the 'urine' in midflow. Visit Tommy's for more ideas.
Ask your midwife or doctor about online antenatal classes – they may be able to recommend one. The charity Tommy's has lots of useful information on antenatal classes and preparing you for birth.
Ask your partner if they would like to take part in the antenatal classes. Even if you've had children before, they're still worth going to as you can meet other parents-to-be. The NCT offers online antenatal classes with small groups of people that live locally to you.
We can usually get enough vitamin D from sunlight, but as we are at home a lot more at the moment, you may not be getting enough. If you're pregnant, or breastfeeding, you should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement. It's worth checking if you're entitled to free vitamins.
Get moving! It's recommended that pregnant women do 150 minutes of exercise throughout the week. You could start off with just 10 minutes of daily exercise - perhaps take a brisk walk outside. Check out Sport England's #StayInWorkOut online exercises (scroll to the pregnancy section). Listen to your body and do what feels right for you.
Don't eat for two! Eat for you. You don't need any extra calories until the third trimester, which starts in week 28. Try to eat healthily, with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and avoid processed, fatty and salty foods. You may be able to get free milk, fruit and veg through the Healthy Start scheme.