19 weeks pregnant: Pregnancy Symptoms & Baby Development
Read time: 4 minutes
19 weeks pregnant is how many months?
Month 5 (Trimester 2)
Baby development at 19 weeks
At 19 weeks pregnant, your baby is around 15.3cm long from head to bottom, and around 240g in weight. That’s roughly the same size as a beef tomato, only heavier.1
Your baby is now developing one of their most unique features: fingerprints. Along with these appearing, their fingernails and toenails continue growing, and their hands should now be able to make a firm grip2.
Along with the appearance of a protective layer called vernix, a fatty substance called ‘myelin’ is forming around your baby’s nerves3. It’s also protective, insulating their nerves, and supporting motor neurone connections between your baby’s brain and muscles.
Myelin helps your baby to start making movements that are more coordinated3. Newborns’ movements tend to be jerky and uncoordinated, but as they grow more myelin develops, helping their movements become smoother and more coordinated3.
Your baby’s well ahead of the game and already producing their adult teeth. They line up behind their milk teeth, although teething doesn’t usually start until they’re about six months old.1
Your baby, this week
Discover the science behind your baby's developments, week-by-week
Pregnancy at 19 weeks (second trimester)
What’s happening in my body?
Your uterus continues to move up and away from your pelvis. It should now reach your belly button, and will grow a centimetre higher for each remaining week of your pregnancy.4
Meanwhile, you may be experiencing eye irritation as pregnancy hormones can affect the creation of tears5. This can cause your eyes to feel tired and gritty, so you may want to buy a bottle of eye drops to help.
Ironically, pregnancy hormones can cause excess fluid to build-up within your eyes, altering the curvature of your eyeball5 and leading to mildly distorted vision6. People who wear contact lenses tend to notice this change more. While uncomfortable, it’s worth remembering that it’s temporary and will clear once you give birth, or start breastfeeding, and shouldn’t require a new lens prescription.
For a small number of women, eye problems can be the first sign of pre-eclampsia7. If undiagnosed, pre-eclampsia can lead to eclampsia, a serious condition that can put you and your baby at risk. If you notice changes to your vision, talk to your midwife or doctor.
Pregnancy symptoms at 19 weeks
Sleep on your side, and use pillows to support your bump and any aching muscles. Also try sleeping with a pillow between your knees1.
Pregnancy doesn’t unfortunately improve your resistance to thrush, a common yeast infection. If you have thrush, wear loose, cotton underwear and avoid perfumed soaps, bath salts and sex until it’s cleared.
You may still carry symptoms from early pregnancy, including the need to make frequent trips to the bathroom.
Bloating and gas
The pregnancy hormone progesterone slows down your digestion which can lead to bloating and excess gas8.
Pains on the side of your belly are caused by your expanding womb (and also referred to as ‘round ligament pains’). To treat them, put your feet up and rest9.
This is another symptom you may still be experiencing from your first trimester. Mood swings caused by the hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. Get plenty of rest and light exercise to keep you feeling like yourself.
For a start, you’re carrying extra weight that’s going to keep growing, and which may affect the kind of exercise you do. But did you realise that your hormones can also affect your exercise?
The hormone - appropriately called relaxin - can loosen ligaments to help with childbirth10. Unfortunately, it also loosens ligaments that support your back, knees and ankles1. So, rather than running, you may want to switch to fast-walking.
It’s recommended that pregnant women aim for 150 minutes of exercise each week11, with at least 30 minutes of activity on five days. As your pregnancy progresses, you may find it helpful to adjust your routine. The good news is that three 10-minute sessions are just as good as a single 30-minute session.
Remember: exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous, and you should be able to easily hold a conversation while exercising. If you struggle for breath, you’re likely overdoing it.
Your baby’s tissue and DNA development relies on a good supply of zinc during pregnancy. Zinc helps your body process fat, protein and carbohydrates from food12 to nourish your growing baby. This important mineral also supports your own wellbeing, so it’s important to include plenty of rich sources of zinc in your diet. On average, women need around 7mg13 a day.
Add these zinc-rich foods to your diet
- Red meat, such as beef and lamb
- Poultry, especially turkey
- Wholegrain breads and cereals
- Milk, cheese and eggs
Powered by Nutricia
Zinc plays an essential role in the construction of your baby’s cells and DNA during pregnancy. It’s needed for cell division and tissue growth - and your baby’s growing from one single cell into a little person comprised of trillions of tiny cells. Zinc is also a key part of normal brain function14.
A healthy intake of zinc as part of a well-balanced diet is crucial during pregnancy. You need 7mg a day while pregnant, 13mg a day during the first four months of breastfeeding, and 9.5mg a day for the remaining time you breastfeed15.
- NHS START4LIFE. Week 19 – your second trimester. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/2nd-trimester/week-19/
- NHS UK. You and your baby at 17 weeks pregnant [Online]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/17-weeks-pregnant/ [Accessed December 2019]
- Deans A. Your New Pregnancy Bible, The experts’ guide to pregnancy and early parenthood. 4th ed. London: Carroll & Brown Publishers Limited, 2013.
- Hill, M.A. 2019. Embryology Fetal Development. [Online] Available at: https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Fetal_Development [Accessed December 2019]
- 19 weeks pregnant: advice, symptoms and what to expect. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.motherandbaby.co.uk/pregnancy-and-birth/pregnancy/pregnancy-week-by-week/week-19-nineteen-weeks-pregnant [Accessed December 2019]
- WebMD Medical Reference. Pregnancy and Vision. Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on January 9, 2018. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.webmd. com/eye-health/pregnancy-and-vision - Blurred Vision section. [Accessed December 2019]
- NHS UK. Pre-eclampsia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pre-eclampsia/symptoms/ Page last reviewed: 7 June 2018. Next review due: 7 June 2021.
- NHS UK. Start4life. Week 17 - your second trimester [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/2nd-trimester/week-17/ [Accessed December 2019]
- NHS UK START4LIFE. Week 15 – your second trimester. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/2nd-trimester/week-15/ [Accessed December 2019]
- What is relaxin? You And Your Hormones, from the Society for Endocrinology. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.yourhormones.info/hormones/relaxin/ Last reviewed: Mar 2018.
- NHS UK. Exercise in pregnancy. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pregnancy-exercise/ Page last reviewed: 14 January 2017. Next review due: 14 January 2020.
- 4. WHO. Zinc supplementation during pregnancy [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.who.int/elena/bbc/zinc_pregnancy/en/ [Accessed December 2019]
- NHS UK. Vitamins and minerals - others. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/others/ Page last reviewed: 3 March 2017. Next review due: 3 March 2020.
- British Nutrition Foundation. Nutrition and development, short and long-term consequences for health. London: Wiley Blackwell, 2013. p.157.
- Department of Health. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. TSO: London, 1991.
Last reviewed: 13th January 2020
Reviewed by Nutricia’s Medical and Scientific Affairs Team
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.