Can you believe you’re almost at the midway point of your pregnancy?! How exciting! Let’s check in with some information for our twin mamas, look at baby’s development, and discuss another round of symptoms you may experience by week 19 pregnancy.
Week 19 Pregnancy: How Big is Baby?
It’s been 17 weeks since your baby’s conception, and she has grown to the size of a mango. Her crown-to-rump length is 5 1/4 to 6 inches, and she weighs about 7 ounces.
Baby’s Developmental Milestones
At week 19 pregnancy, your baby:
- can hear sounds; research shows that lower-pitched sounds are heard more clearly than high-pitched ones in utero (1)
- has a developed sucking reflex, and if you have an ultrasound, you may see baby sucking her hand or thumb
- is kicking and turning harder and stronger; if you have felt her move, the movements may be getting more noticeable now
Week 19 Pregnancy: Pregnant Belly
You can now feel the fundus, the top of your uterus, about 1/2 inch below your belly button. Your uterus is really crowding everything else in your abdomen, and pretty soon the only place to grow will be outward!
You may find yourself feeling clumsier as your shape shifts, perhaps feeling like your body is changing so fast that you don’t have a good feel for the space you occupy or where the boundaries of your body are. Just move with care. You may need to slow down a little from your normal. (I suspect, though, that some of you are giggling at the suggestion to slow down…as if your growing body would allow you to do anything but slow down!)
Week 19 Pregnancy: Twins
If you’re expecting twins, you may want to read our article on natural childbirth of twins. There are some additional challenges involved in delivering twins naturally, but many women are able to do so successfully.
Twin Pregnancy Symptoms
Right now, in the middle of the second trimester, a twin pregnancy isn’t all that different from a singleton pregnancy. Your symptoms are likely the same, but you may experience more intense versions of these symptoms. If pregnancy causes a person to feel fatigued, a twin pregnancy causes even more extreme fatigue. If a growing baby causes discomfort, shortness of breath, and back pain, then sharing your body with two growing babies increases all of those things. Or, twins may bring those symptoms on sooner than you’d experience them with just one baby.
Twin Pregnancy Tips
With twins, you should follow all the standard guidelines for a healthy pregnancy. It will, however be necessary to consume more calories than a woman who is carrying just one baby. About 300 extra calories a day are needed during a singleton pregnancy and about 600 extra calories a day are necessary for a twin pregnancy. You may need more rest. Your healthcare provider may want to see you more often. Otherwise, just stick with the normal tips that keep any pregnant woman and baby healthy.
Week 19 Pregnancy: Symptoms
Legs and Feet
During pregnancy, there’s a lot of talk about your reproductive organs, what’s going on in your abdomen, your changing breasts, etc. But your poor legs and feet are holding up your ever-growing body, and they feel the effects as well.
What Causes Leg Muscle Cramps in Pregnancy?
We’ve probably all experienced cramps in our legs, and know how intensely unpleasant they can be. Unfortunately, leg cramps increase during pregnancy for some women. They occur most frequently at night, but may occur anytime (3). It’s unknown why leg cramps increase when you’re pregnant. But, one factor may be the pressure of the growing uterus on pelvic nerves or blood vessels leading to the legs.
How to Treat Leg Muscle Cramps
Getting relief from a muscle spasm requires stretching the muscle. Someone else can help by pressing the bottom of your foot towards your shin. However, often the quickest way to relieve the pain is to simply stand up. Standing on the leg that’s cramping is a sure way to bring quick relief, although it might not entirely end the spasm. Warm packs and massage may help with the pain. And getting enough potassium and calcium can help prevent them from happening (1).
Why Do Varicose Veins Happen In Pregnancy?
Varicose veins are swollen, bulging, and sometimes twisting veins. It’s caused by a weakening of the walls of your veins, and in pregnancy, progesterone encourages the walls of the veins relax (3). You also have an increased volume of blood, which means your veins are handling a heavier workload. On top of that, your growing uterus puts pressure on the veins in your legs, making it more difficult for the blood to flow back upward. The result of all of this can be varicose veins.
For some women, varicose veins are merely a cosmetic issue, and the only noticeable symptom is a blemish or purple-blue spot. Other women experience bulging veins that are painful or itchy (1).
The Best Tips to Avoid and Alleviate the Discomfort of Varicose Veins?
- Avoid standing for long periods
- Elevate your feet as much as you can
- Wear support hose (Your doctor can recommend the right type for you)
Swollen Ankles and Feet
Like varicose veins, feet and ankles also fall prey to circulation challenges. Because it’s harder for blood and fluid to flow back upward, you experience swelling in your feet and ankles. The swelling tends to be worse in warm weather. It’s also made worse by being on your feet for prolonged periods of time.
As with varicose veins, it can help to stay off your feet, to elevate them, and to wear support stockings. (I’ve worn high-pressure support stockings with all 6 of my pregnancies and highly recommend them. While they can be hot and difficult to put on, they make a world of difference. I’ve found that they almost eliminate the throbbing of varicose veins and swollen ankles. ) Another thing that brings relief for some women is spending time in a pool. The pressure of the water presses on your swollen tissues and reduces swelling (4).
What if I Haven’t Felt Movement?
By the middle of your second trimester, all the books and articles are talking about baby movement. If you know other women who are due around the same time as you, their conversations may be dominated by talk about baby movement. But what if you haven’t felt any movement yet? Should you be worried?
Feeling Movement Begins Between Weeks 13 to 25
I hope it eases your mind to know that it is absolutely normal to have not felt any movement so far! There is a wide range of normal for feeling first movements, from 13 to 25 weeks, and you’re just in the middle of that window. Experienced moms typically feel movement earlier than first-time moms. Thinner women may feel movement earlier than women who are heavier. Baby’s position affects where the movement is concentrated, and that may have an effect on how easily it’s felt. There are so many factors!
And remember, while you may feel like your bump is getting big, your baby is still rather small. He may be active, but he still weighs only 7 ounces (0.21 l). So, his movements don’t pack a lot of punch yet 🙂 Talk to your doctor or midwife if you’re worried; your mind can likely be eased by simply listening to baby’s heartbeat.
Kopa Birth’s online birthing classes allow you to prepare for a natural hospital birth from the comfort of your own home, 24/7. Enroll today in our free online childbirth class and start preparing for your natural birth!
(1) Glade, B.C., Schuler, J. (2011). Your Pregnancy Week by Week, 7th edition. First Da Capo Press
(2) The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2010). Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month, 5th edition
(3) Ladewig, Patricia W, Marcia L. London, and Michele R. Davidson. Contemporary Maternal-Newborn Nursing Care. New York: Pearson, 2010. Print.
(4) Simkin, P., Whalley, J., Keppler, A., Durham, J., & Bolding, A. (2016). Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide. Minnetonka: Meadowbrook Press.