Pregnancy Week 19

July 8, 2009

Grow, grow, and grow. That's what your baby is doing as he approaches six inches in length and is weighing in at seven ounces or more. The amazing thing is that between pregnancy week 19 and birth he will increase in size by more than 15 times!

Amniotic Fluid and Meconium

At this time in his growth, your baby begins to produce meconium, his first bowel movement. In the first days of life outside the womb, he will pass meconium, which is typically greenish-black in color. When babies are developing in the uterus, they ingest and then excrete amniotic fluid every day and meconium is a build-up of material, including amniotic fluid that happens during pregnancy. Occasionally, meconium is passed in utero, which indicates the baby is in distress. Meconium, when passed in utero, can mix with the amniotic fluid and can get into the baby's lungs. This situation can cause complications after delivery, such as pneumonia. The only way to tell for sure if meconium has been passed prior to delivery is at birth, when the sac breaks. If the waters are clear, then all is well. If there is meconium in the amniotic fluid, then the waters will be greenish or yellowish. The doctor is well equipped to handle the situation should it arise. Suction will be used to remove the meconium from the baby's airway before he takes his first breath, in order to prevent it being aspirated into the lungs.

Creating Skin And Preparing For The Future

Your baby is also producing a sticky white substance called vernix that covers his skin and acts as a protection against his environment. He is spending nine months in water, and the vernix will ensure his skin remains soft and supple. If your baby is a girl, she has already produced more than six million eggs in her ovaries. This huge number will deplete by four million by the time she is born.

Feeling Tipsy: Pregnancy Dizziness

As for you, Mommy, your center of gravity has shifted and you are probably noticing you lack the grace of movement you once had. Your uterus has grown to the point where your waist is gone (but not forever). A few common discomforts will begin to surface as you progress in your pregnancy. You may begin to feel dizzy or lightheaded, especially when you change posture. This is due to low blood pressure that occurs when you go from sitting to standing too quickly. Sometimes the compression of the two major blood vessels in the body-the aorta, which moves blood from the heart to the body, and the vena cava, which moves blood to the heart from the body-become compressed and the flow of blood slows down. This typically makes you feel dizzy or faint and you may need to lie down on your side to relieve the pressure.

To help divert a crash and fall, take your time sitting up or rising from a sitting position. If you find you continue to get dizzy, or the dizziness increases, tell your doctor. He may want to test your blood sugar to be sure you are not developing gestational diabetes.

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