Week Nineteen of Your Pregnancy

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Week 19 Info

WEEK 19

This is an impressive week for growth! Your baby weighs approximately 8-9 ounces and is about 6 inches long.  If you are having a girl, her ovaries now contain primitive egg cells.  Soon, half of the genetic material for your potential future grandchildren will be formed Lanugo "a covering of fine soft hair" appears all over the baby's body.  This fine hair will remain until birth draws nearer.  Sometimes you can still see some on the baby's face and ears after birth.  Also apparent is vernix, a milky white covering that protects your baby's skin from its watery environment.  Can you imagine how wrinkled you'd get if you were in water for nine months?  The placenta continues to grow and offer nourishment for your baby while the permanent teeth buds are forming behind the already formed milk teeth buds.  Growth becomes rapid now and your baby begins to store iron for the production of red blood cells. Your baby can even dream "REM sleep"!

Your baby may already have a preference for the left or right hand.  In the brain, areas of the nerve cells that serve the senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing are becoming specialized and are forming more complex connections.  Loud sounds as well as any feelings you may have of stress or alarm may be communicated to the baby. The baby responds to these stresses by becoming more active.  Practicing yoga and meditation can be good for your sense of calm and balance.
Pregnancy mask, dry, itchy, flaky, skin are common in pregnancy and are due to hormonal changes. Don't worry, because after pregnancy your skin will return to whatever is normal for you.  To help, try using lotions and oils to help.  Also, a healthy diet and drinking lots of water will help to ease any skin irregularities.  You can't prevent stretch marks but lotions or oil can ease the dryness and itching.
Some women will have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome for the first time during their pregnancy.  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition characterized by swelling, inflammation, pain and numbness in the fingers or wrist.  Pain and numbness in the fingers associated with this syndrome are actually common during pregnancy, in part due to the swelling and fluid tension that occurs during pregnancy.  Most women will start to realize symptoms during the second trimester, when fluid retention often becomes more severe.
The good news is that symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome usually abate a few short weeks after delivery. Many women experience pain and discomfort during the evening hours. Others notice it when working at a computer.  Some things you can do to relieve the symptoms include using an ergonomic keyboard, using a wrist guard to stabilize your wrists, taking frequent breaks in order to stretch your hands, consider some Tylenol if your physician recommends it.

If the pain and numbness associated with carpal tunnel syndrome become severe to the point where they disrupt your sleep or work, your healthcare provider may take an extra step and require you to wear a splint or hand brace when working. This often alleviates many of these symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  Physical therapy might also help during pregnancy.

As you are getting close to the half-way mark in your pregnancy, you may want to start looking into childbirth education and classes such as Lamaze.  These classes can help ease any anxiety you have, help you understand what is happening to your body, and also help you prepare for labor and delivery.  There are numerous medical research reports that indicate women who have taken childbirth classes have an easier, less stressful birth experience. To find out about classes in your area contact your local hospital or ask your doctor at your next visit.  Find a class that best fits your schedule. Some classes meet for a few hours every week for several weeks, while other meet for an intense period of time over one or two days.

Hey, Dads - mom may start asking you if you feel the baby move. Invariably you either can't feel the baby yet or the baby quits moving as soon as you put your hand over it. This is very normal. Most people can't feel the baby move from the outside until around week 28.

Once you have felt your baby move within Mom's womb, BLAM! It hits you like a ton of bricks - YOU'RE GOING TO BE A FATHER! You're excited and then terrified. You may be questioning yourself as to whether you're ready to be a father or whether you'll be a good dad. If you didn't have a good role model as a child, you may be even more concerned. You may be wondering if you can take care of a family or if you can provide for one. This one little kick can open a Pandora's Box that you weren't prepared to handle. If you find yourself preoccupied with such thoughts, don't worry. You're experiencing a normal reaction to impending fatherhood.

Mom is probably having similar thoughts about herself in her role as mother. Go ahead and discuss these feelings with Mom. Read up on pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. And - give yourself a break when you need one. The fact that you're here reading this already says a lot about the kind of parent you'll be! If you have not looked into childbirth classes, now is the time to do so. Childbirth education is a great way of informing yourself about pregnancy, labor and birth. There are many different types of classes available and many different types of teachers. Enroll now before the spaces are all gone! Today's classes generally offer topics to fit everyone's birth wishes.

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