You’re in week 19 of your pregnancy and almost at the halfway point. This is the stage where you’ll be starting to feel the physical changes of being pregnant.

Your baby’s development

This week your baby is the size of a… mango.
There is a lot going on in your uterus in your 19th week of pregnancy.

Your baby’s kidneys will now be fully functioning and the urine they produce will become part of the amniotic fluid.
A white, greasy layer, called vernix caseosa, will now be covering your baby’s skin. This protects it from becoming dehydrated while submerged in the amniotic fluid and will dissolve during the last weeks of pregnancy.
A fine hair will develop on your baby’s body called lanugo. This will also start to dissolve into the amniotic fluid during the final stages of pregnancy, however many babies are born with a lot of it still present.
Hair may also start to develop on your baby’s head – some babies are born bald and some with a full head of hair. All babies are individual and it has no indication of what’s to come.

Although your baby is still a long way from laying down fat, this week a layer of ‘brown fat’ will be produced, which serves the purpose of protecting your baby’s vital organs.

Your physical pregnancy changes

Around this time you may notice that your skin becomes dry, itchy or blotchy, particularly on areas that are stretched. The best way to combat this is by drinking plenty of water and eating healthily. If you decide to use any moisturisers or creams then check if they’re suitable to use in pregnancy. If in doubt, ask your pharmacist.

You may also notice some of the following pregnancy complaints:
· The inability to bend over properly – as your bump gets in the way.
· Your waistline will have completely disappeared.
· You may experience heartburn – this is because the extra hormones in your body affect your digestive system. Check with your doctor before taking antacids, or alternatively consider natural remedies.
· Increased perspiration and a loss of stamina as your heart works overtime to pump extra blood around your body.
Your health and fitness during pregnancy

With your heart beating faster and your lungs being squashed by your growing baby, you will become breathless faster. You can help your heart out by:

· Swapping to a gentler pregnancy-friendly exercise routine.
· Eating enough iron and vitamin C-rich foods (red meats, fresh fruits and vegetables).
· Taking it easy and giving yourself time to adjust to the changes that are taking place to your body.
Your week 19 pregnancy checklist
· Book your second-trimester scan. This will confirm that your baby is growing well and you allows you to find out the gender of your baby if you choose.
· Buy some moisturiser – but check it’s appropriate to use in pregnancy.
· Look into natural heartburn remedies, or talk to your doctor about using antacids if essential.
· Adapt your exercise routine to fit your energy and stamina levels.
· Stock up on fruit, red meat and fresh greens.
· Start reading and researching so you can plan the practical elements of having a baby – budgeting, baby clothes, preparing the nursery etc.