You’re about four months and three weeks pregnant! Your belly is growing, your breasts have enlarged and you’re just growing; but don’t worry about it, as it’s all a part of the wonderful process of giving birth to a baby. Things continue to be a smooth ride of regular growth and development, only marked by occasional discomfort, pain and physical changes. Want to know in this week? Let’s take a look!
As the uterus continues to expand, you will experience round ligament pain i.e. sharp aches in the lower part of your belly or in the sides. You will feel this particularly when you’re trying to stand up from a seated position, shifting sides when you’re sleeping, or at the end of an active day. This pain is caused due to the muscles expanding to accommodate the growing baby. It subsides soon enough, so you shouldn’t worry too much about it. Having said that, if you experience this pain when you’re resting or if the pain continues to grow severe, make sure you call your gynaecologist immediately.
Another prominent and somewhat awkward symptom coming out this week is the formation of dark patches on your forehead, cheeks and upper lip. These dark patches are called Chloasma or “the pregnancy mask” and are formed as a result of an increase in oestrogen levels. Higher levels of oestrogen also result in the darkening of freckles, scars, nipples, underarms and inner thighs. Your hands will also appear redder than usual. All of these symptoms will fade away after the delivery (except the stretch marks). To avoid these patches from darkening even more, avoid stepping out in the sun without applying sunscreen or covering yourself up with a scarf and a wide-brimmed hat.
In addition to these, the symptoms from the previous weeks such as leg cramps, light dizziness, hip and back pain will continue too. Report to your doctor if the pain gets too sharp and persistent.
On an average, babies grow up to 18 cm in length and weigh anywhere between 180 – 225 grams during this time.
In week 19, your baby’s sensory development is kicking into full gear! Its brain is marking areas for smell, taste, sound, sight and touch. Some studies even suggest that the baby can actually hear your voice now. So, it’s the perfect time to read out loud or sing songs to the little one. You can even have your own little conversations with the baby!
If it’s a boy, its testicles have fully formed and are already secreting testosterone. If it’s a girl, her reproductive system is already set – the vagina, fallopian tubes and uterus are all in place. The ovaries have formed, which in turn are forming eggs. (Please note – sex determination via ultrasound or any other method is illegal in India.)
Tiny, tiny hair are starting to sprout on your baby’s head. Vernix Caseosa – a greasy, white protective coating starts forming all over your baby’s skin, which will disappear shortly before the baby is born.
Get some rest and sleep, it’s the best way to deal with the various aching body parts and the irregular sleep pattern.
Continue with mild to moderate exercises, such as yoga or swimming – under the guidance of a trained professional.
Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day. It’ll provide some much-needed relief from the itchy skin and muscle aches.
Keep an eye on your weight – you should be steadily gaining or losing weight week by week, as recommended by your gynaecologist. If you’ve lost weight all of a sudden, it could mean that the baby is not getting enough nourishment. Sudden weight gain could be a sign of preeclampsia (high blood pressure developed during pregnancy). Both these changes need to be treated immediately as it could affect you as well as your baby.
Now is the perfect time to get together with your partner and start brainstorming over baby names! You should also start looking up for a trusted paediatrician for your baby once it’s born.
If you have any questions or , feel free to drop them in the comments!