Your baby is now developing one of their most unique human features: their fingerprints. They are also developing the means to become more physically coordinated. It’s still important that you get enough zinc in your diet to promote your baby’s healthy development.
Your baby's development at week 19
On the move in week 19
As you head into week 19, your baby is forming their own unique set of fingerprints. Both their fingernails and toenails are also continuing to grow and their hands can now make a firm grip1.
Because your baby’s blood vessels are visible in their skin, it has a red appearance, and vernix – a creamy-white protective coating – is developing1.
A fatty substance called ‘myelin’ is also forming around your baby’s nerves2. This insulates the nerves, supporting the motor neuron connections between their brain and their muscles1, enabling movements to be more coordinated2. Although, since your baby’s body won’t have formed much myelin by the time they are born, their movements will still appear jerky and uncoordinated2.
By week 20, you’re likely to have an anomaly scan. This is to check that your baby is growing and developing healthily. Your midwife or doctor will give you more information about this. The NHS also offers in-depth advice about this routine screening3.
The gift of future health
Complete pregnancy nutrition from A to Zinc
Eating a balanced diet while you’re pregnant is more important than ever. It should include good sources of zinc, a trace element with a number of vital functions. Zinc helps your body process the fat, protein and carbohydrates in food4 in order to nourish your growing baby.
The average woman needs around 7mg per day, which you should be able to get from your diet5.
Add some of these zinc-rich foods to your shopping list6:
- Red meat such as beef and lamb
- Poultry, especially turkey
- Milk, cheese and eggs
1. NHS UK. You and your baby at 17-20 weeks pregnant [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-17-18-19-20.aspx [Accessed July 2014]
2. Deans A. Your New Pregnancy Bible, The experts’ guide to pregnancy and early parenthood. 4th ed. London: Carroll & Brown Publishers Limited, 2013.
3. NHS UK. Screening tests for abnormalities in pregnancy [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/screening-tests-abnormality-pregnant.aspx [Accessed July 2014]
4. European Union. Commission Regulation (EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health. OJ L 136 2012;1-40.
5. NHS UK. Vitamins and minerals - others [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-minerals/pages/other-vitamins-minerals.aspx#zinc [Accessed July 2014]
6. Gandy J (ed). Manual of Dietetic Practice. 5th ed. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2014. p. 928.
Last reviewed: 14th July 2016
Questions about feeding and nutrition?
Our midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.