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19 WEEKS, 5 DAYS

142 days to go...

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ultrasound of human fetus at 19 weeks and 5 days

Your baby today

Your baby often rests against the placenta. This has no effect on the placenta since its surface is protected by the amniotic sac and its composition and blood flow maintain its circulation at all times, leaving your baby free to explore her environment.

As the weeks go by, you'll find that you'll need to rest more and limit the amount of time you are on your feet.

By this stage, you may find it tiring to be on your feet for long periods of time. For one thing, the growing weight of your baby and uterus will lead to discomfort, and potentially to muscle strain. Because your center of gravity is shifting, too, you may find that you stand awkwardly, putting pressure on your ligaments, which are, themselves, softened due to hormonal changes (see Stretching safely). What's more, prolonged standing can cause blood and other fluids to pool in your legs, which can cause pain and dizziness.

If possible, take short, frequent breaks, so that you can put your feet up. If you do have to stand for long periods, you may find that resting one foot on a stool or box from time to time can help. Make sure your shoes offer good support (see On your feet), and consider wearing maternity hose.

It's important not to stand for more than three hours at a time, so if your work involves standing make sure you are given adequate breaks.

Ask A... Doctor

The bigger I get, the more difficult it's becoming to have sex. What should we do?

As your pregnancy continues, you will have no choice but to try new sexual positions that will more easily accommodate your growing belly.

You can still use the missionary position but your partner may have to support his weight on his hands instead of lying on you; that way he won't press on your belly. However, you'll find that positioning yourself on top is a better alternative, and as your belly gets bigger you can squat or kneel over your partner. Side-by-side or rear-entry positions are also comfortable during pregnancy. Have fun experimenting to find out what's right for you.

pregnant woman going to work

Being out and about will make you tired. When you're going out for the day, plan lots of breaks so you can sit and rest.

Focus On... Your baby

That's tasty!

The flavors from the foods you eat will be transferred to the amniotic fluid, which is swallowed by your baby in the uterus. Therefore the types of food you eat can influence your baby before her first exposure to solid foods.

Studies show that prenatal and postpartum (through breast milk) exposure to a flavor enhances a baby's enjoyment of it in solid foods. These early flavor experiences may provide the foundation for healthy choices, as well as explain the cultural and ethnic differences in cuisine. So get your baby started on the road to good food choices by making healthy selections now.

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