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19 WEEKS, 6 DAYS

141 days to go...

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ultrasound of human fetus at 19 weeks and 6 days

Your baby today

You will become much more aware of your baby moving as her size and strength increase. You will not be aware of the more gentle movements, or those movements that do not hit the side of the uterus.

You're likely to experience some backaches as your baby grows in size and your body continually adapts to accommodate her.

The increasing weight of your developing baby, and the fact that your joints and ligaments soften in pregnancy, can cause backaches, but thankfully you don't just have to put up with this pain. There are many simple ways in which you can ease a backache or even prevent it.

See your doctor to make sure that the problem and its exact location is properly diagnosed. This way you'll have more chance of stopping it from becoming worse. A common problem, often in later pregnancy, is sciatica-a sharp pain that travels down the back and leg.

Focus On... Your health

Fibroids during pregnancy

In the second trimester, fibroids-a benign mass of muscle fiber within the uterine wall, or occasionally attached to it-can become problematic. Increased levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy encourage them to grow along with the uterus.

In some circumstances, the rapid growth of the fibroid causes feelings of pressure, discomfort, or pain. Fibroids may increase a woman's risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, or having a baby in the breech position which usually resolves the problem. Fibroids that do not cause discomfort do not require treatment.

The fibroid will not usually affect the developing baby, but if a large fibroid is positioned low down in the uterus or near to the cervix it can prevent the baby from descending into the pelvis, and a cesarean delivery will be necessary.

Once the baby is born and the uterus shrinks, the fibroids will also usually shrink to their pre-pregnancy size.

Baby

uterine fibroids during pregnancy

Banish backaches

To nip backaches in the bud, try the following:

  • Take a warm bath or use a hot-water bottle on the painful area.
  • Ask your partner to give you a nice back rub, or get yourself a massage with an experienced prenatal practitioner.
  • Go to yoga or Pilates classes to strengthen your back muscles.
  • Watch your posture (see Pregnancy posture), and raise your legs when seated.
  • Ensure your car seat is properly positioned to support your back.

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