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Week #19 of Pregnancy

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Your Pregnancy: Week 19

By Erin Horner, edHelperBaby

Your Baby
           Over the last few weeks your baby's motor neurons, the nerves that connect the muscles to the brain, have grown into place.  That means that by this week his body movements are no longer random, but made consciously.  His cute little feet and ten tiny toes only measure one inch long, but they are now relatively proportionate to his shin and will continue growing this way throughout the rest of your pregnancy.


Your Body
           Is the reality of your pregnancy beginning to create such a sense of excitement that you feel as though you have butterflies in your stomach?  Pregnancy brings with it great anticipation, a sense of awe, and a few moments (or months) of anxious nerves as you look toward the unknowns of the future.  Any flutters that you might be feeling in your belly now, however, may not be butterflies, but rather your baby.  Around this week in pregnancy many women begin to feel their baby move for the first time.  These early movements, known as quickening, can be felt as early as 14 weeks but are usually not recognized by first-time moms until sometime between the 18th and 20th week of pregnancy.  These subtle movements can be easy to miss as they feel more like a gentle flutter or gas caused by bad pizza than the kick or punch you may be expecting.  Don't worry, those kicks and punches are coming, but for right now your 6-inch baby has plenty of room in your uterus and therefore can move freely without jarring one of your internal organs with each flip or roll.  Each time you feel your little one flutter, savor it and remember that the greatest of all miracles is growing deep within you.  Watch out though, dwelling on that thought for too long may create such a sense of awe and wonder that your belly will once again be filled with butterflies!


  You're Wondering. . .
           Now that my ultrasound appointment is scheduled, my partner and I are trying to decide whether or not we should learn the sex of our baby.   I want to know and he wants to be surprised.  Any thoughts?

       This is probably one of the most enjoyable and yet confusing decisions that a pregnant woman and her partner must make.  Let me start by saying that as the mommy-to-be and the one who is carrying this little mystery baby, your feelings and wishes may just trump those of your partner in this particular situation.  All teasing aside, be sure to take the time to effectively communicate and really listen to one another as you share the reasons why you do or do not want to learn the sex of your baby before he or she is born.  After having some honest conversation, you may find it easier to come to an agreement on this important matter than you originally feared it was going to be.  As you think through this big decision, be sure to look at the pros and cons of each option.

       If you learn the baby's gender ahead of time:
  • You can more efficiently plan for his or her arrival by purchasing gender appropriate clothing, nursery décor, and other items.
  • You can decide on a name.
  • You can choose to tell others or keep the element of surprise by keeping your baby's gender a secret.
  • You will still be surprised, just surprised half-way through your pregnancy instead of at the time of your little one's arrival.
  • You may be wrong!  On occasion the ultrasound technicians do make mistakes.

       If you don't learn the baby's gender ahead of time:
  • You will have the next few months to dream and guess.
  • You will still be able to decide on baby's name.  You will just decide on a boy name and a girl name.
  • You may anticipate labor and delivery a bit more, as each push will bring you closer to learning whether or not you are the proud parents of a boy or a girl.

       If you choose not to learn the sex of your little one, it is important that you approach this wonderful appointment united in your decision.  Once you are on that table and the ultrasound technician is explaining all of the amazing intricacies of the little miracle that you are seeing for the first time, your resolve to be surprised about baby's gender might just disappear!

       Regardless of your decision, I guarantee that when you learn that you are adding a son or a daughter to your family it will be a thrilling and unforgettable event, whether it occurs on a table during your ultrasound or on a table in the delivery room.


  Your "To-Do" List
           With each passing week your belly is becoming more and more round.  Every day your growing belly is a reminder to you and the rest of the world of the growth that your little muffin is experiencing deep within you.  With twenty-one weeks to go before your due date you may soon find yourself missing zippers, buttons, and belts and loathing your comfy elastic waist bands that make up most of the staple outfits in your maternity wardrobe.  But believe it or not, once your little one arrives, you will miss your round belly (and maybe even those comfy elastic waist bands!)

       While hard to imagine now, one day you will struggle to remember how big your tummy really was and what your mid-section looked like from all angles.  If you want a lasting memento from this precious time, why not take a moment this week and schedule a professional portrait session for a later date in your pregnancy.  You are probably already taking lots of pictures to document your pregnancy, but a portrait by a professional photographer can bring with it a sense of magic as he or she often has the ability to capture not only the subject at hand, but the emotions associated with this precious time as well.

       If photography isn't your thing, why not hire someone to make a body cast of your beautiful belly?  Many women enjoy doing this and then displaying the decorated cast as a piece of art work in their home.  These can be a lot of fun because they highlight your best pregnancy feature, your cute belly, while completely leaving out those features that you might not currently be so fond of, like your backside.  Whoever thought that it was a good idea to balance a growing belly with a growing derrière anyway?

       Begin looking into local artists and photographers now, as their schedules may book-up several months in advance.  Call around and determine the different services that are offered, find one that you feel comfortable with, and then book an appointment for sometime during your eighth month of pregnancy.


Your Homework: Preparing For Parenthood
           Do you remember doing art projects and making crafts as a child?  Art projects are not only great fun, but help children develop their fine motor skills and allow them to express their emotions non-verbally. Your homework assignment this week is to make an art project for your baby.  Purchase a package of plain onesies or t-shirts for your baby and some markers, crayons or paint made specifically for decorating fabric.  Then, get crafty!  Use the different types of media that you have gathered to decorate the onesies for your little one.  As you and your partner cover the outfit with words, pictures, or designs, think about the fun that you and your child will have together in the years to come as you spend rainy afternoons and Saturday mornings doing crafts together.  Be prepared though, doing crafts with kids is a lot more messy than painting with your partner!


  My Experience
           When I was pregnant with my son, a group of girlfriends came over for the evening and we had a blast doing this activity together.  As I made Wyatt his new shirts I couldn't help but think about the type of personality that he was going to have.  Was he going to be a jock and want a shirt with baseballs and footballs on it?  Maybe he was going to be a future rock star and would prefer a shirt covered in guitars and drums.  I loved the excitement that came with dreaming about the future and the fun that came with trying to tap into my inner artist while creating these masterpieces. The girls and I spent the evening giggling about mommy moments that we had recently experienced.  When all was said and done, I was left with an evening full of memories, some really cute shirts, and a few months later an adorable newborn to wear them.


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