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19 WEEKS, 4 DAYS

143 days to go...

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ultrasound of human fetus at 19 weeks and 4 days

Your baby today

The appearance of your baby's head is still dominated by a prominent forehead due to the rapidly growing brain. The jaw can seem small but as the toothbuds grow and expand within the jaw, it lengthens and changes proportion.

The foundations are already laid for your baby's teeth-both the milk teeth and the permanent ones that will follow.

Although it's very rare for any teeth to have come through by birth (only a 1 in 3,000 chance), your baby's tooth buds that will form her teeth are already in place within the jawbone.

All of your baby's teeth-both her "milk" teeth and her underlying permanent teeth-start their development beneath the gums while she is developing in your uterus. The milk teeth buds began to develop at eight weeks of pregnancy and by this week all of the buds are formed.

The first milk teeth to harden, as calcium builds up, are the central incisor teeth and the last are the back molars, at around 19 weeks. The crown of each milk tooth does not complete development until after birth and root completion takes until your child is more than three years old.

Buds for the permanent teeth begin to form between the 14th and 20th weeks. These lie deeper than those for the milk teeth and closer to the inner edge of the jaw and gum. They remain dormant until it is time for the milk teeth to be lost.

Your baby's milk teeth will start coming through at around six to eight months and she'll have a complete set of milk teeth by the age of 2 1/2.

As A Matter Of Fact

Fetal alcohol syndrome leads to serious oral and dental problems in the baby.

Smaller teeth that have weak enamel is just one of the many unfortunate consequences of this condition.

Feeling flexible

Stretching and flexibility exercises should be a regular part of your fitness program at all times, but especially during pregnancy. Being flexible enables your muscles to work more efficiently, alleviates tightness, helps prevent cramping, and leads to improved balance and posture. Stretching can also help you feel confident and calm, especially if the exercises are combined with deep breathing.

Flexibility can be maintained or improved during pregnancy by doing a series of exercises that stretch your muscles in a safe and effective way.

pregnant woman stretching calf

To stretch your calf, lean against a solid support. Keep your front leg bent and straighten the other leg behind you for 20 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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