Baby: fetus now weighs about 200 grams
The fetus is about 22 cm long and weighs just over 280 grams this week. It continues to be active and during an ultrasound scan you may be able to see not only movement but also a small yawn if you are lucky!
Fingerprints are now starting to appear as small lines on the fetal fingers. The toes have also become more developed this week and the fetal nervous system continues to develop at a rapid pace. The nerves in the brain focus on all the functions that will control the baby's senses: hearing, touch, smell, taste and sight.
Hearing is now well developed and it is mainly sounds from inside the pregnant woman's body that are heard, but also muffled voices from outside the belly.
Mom: 19 weeks pregnant
During pregnancy, you change both physically and mentally. Take each day as it comes and try to accept the changes that you are going through, or at least remind yourself that they are slowly but surely leading you to meet your baby.
The body, stretch marks and varicose veins
With a growing belly, it's common for the skin to develop stretch marks and varicose veins. Use support stockings to minimize the risk of this, but also to help your blood circulation.
If you have a sedentary job, it is good to vary your position from standing to sitting and vice versa. Also, resting your legs on a chair or similar for a while to help your blood vessels pump back fluid and blood from your feet and lower legs can cause swelling. You may also experience increased swelling in your lower abdomen, and varicose veins may appear there too. However, if this happens, the varicose veins usually disappear after birth.
Have you woken up in the night with cramps in your calves? It is not clear why pregnant women can get these cramps and what causes them. What is known is that dehydration in general can cause muscle cramps, so it is important to drink plenty of water during pregnancy. As a pregnant woman, you may lose more fluids due to the increased body temperature, higher heart rate, faster breathing rate and sweating more, so fluids are important to compensate! During warmer periods, it is good to drink water with salts (electrolytes) to help maintain the body's fluid balance.
However, muscle cramps are not dangerous. If you have problems or sore muscles, you can soften your calves by stretching and massaging them, preferably before going to bed.
Here you can read about week 18.
Here you can read about week 20.