Week 19

Your Your baby is around 15 centimetres in size, about as big as a banana. They weigh about the same as a banana too, around 200 grams. Amazingly, in that tiny body, your baby’s first teeth have already formed in the gums - and the beginnings of the second teeth are in position behind them! Nerves and muscles are developing rapidly, so your baby's movements are becoming less jerky and more controlled. At an antenatal appointment, your doctor or midwife will probably let you hear your baby’s heartbeat - it’s very fast and sounds a bit like horses galloping!

Your body

You may be feeling great right now, but try not to take on too much (we know, it's hard to keep that nesting instinct under control!). If you're on your feet a lot, try to take little breaks, chill out and relax - put your feet up for a few minutes and take the strain off your legs. Support tights will help if you notice a few varicose veins. You might also spy a dark line (called the linea nigra) developing between your navel and your pubic hair; this is totally normal, though you might think it looks a bit unusual!

Have you bought any maternity clothes?

It’s fine at first to get creative with elastic or braces, but at some stage you’re probably going to have to succumb to buying some trousers with elasticated bits in, a newly-fitted bra, maternity tights, and flat shoes (maybe even in a wider size than before!) The good news is, once you've got some maternity clothes that fit properly you'll feel much more comfortable.

It's a good idea to keep drinking lots of fluids (regardless of the number of loo visits you need to make!) but remember to check that your caffeine intake stays within recommended limits - and of course, that goes for alcohol too.

What it’s like for the mum-to-be in week 19

Your bump is getting bigger, and you’re getting heavier. At the moment, however, your baby’s increasing weight is only a small part of that – your growing uterus, the placenta, your fat reserves and the amniotic fluid are the main causes for the extra weight.

You're probably wondering how you’ll cope with the weight you’ll put on over the next few months until you give birth. Don’t worry: the pregnancy hormones are making your joints softer and your tendons more flexible, so your body will be able to handle the weight you gain.

Ravenous appetite 

You may suddenly feel ravenously hungry due to the hormones affecting your body, including at night. This is your body’s way of getting the nutrients it urgently needs to support your baby as they grow. Eat when you want to, but remember that smaller quantities are better and try to avoid unhealthy food. 

Needing to pee 

You'll definitely have noticed that you need to go to the toilet more often. Always go when you need to, as it helps rid your bladder of pathogens which could otherwise cause problems there.

Heavy, painful legs and swollen feet 

Even if you haven’t been walking very far or haven’t been standing for a long time, your legs can feel heavy and slightly painful. This is because of insufficient return flow in your blood and lymphatic system, which is sometimes inevitable given the huge amount of work your heart and blood vessels have to do during pregnancy. Return flow can be particularly bad in summer – many pregnant women suffer heavy legs in hot temperatures.

So take every opportunity you get to sit or lie down with your legs in a raised position. This will ensure enough blood circulates through your veins and your lymphatic system works as it should, which will help your swollen feet get back to normal more quickly. A foot massage with massage oil is another good way to speed up this process (plus it will help reduce your stress levels and you’ll sleep better). A cold foot bath will also do you good in the summer.