Week 19

Week 19 baby

Baby can hear you

Life for your baby in the uterus is quiet, but far from silent: between weeks 18 and 20, your baby’s hearing develops. It is aware of sound in its surroundings: the blood flowing through the vessels and the umbilical cord, heartbeats and intestinal rumblings – as well as some loud sounds that come through the uterine wall. The nerve cells of the brain that are connected to various senses: hearing, smell, sensation and vision, are all becoming more specialised and creating complex connections. Around this week, a thick layer of fat will start to cover the baby’s skin as protection from the amniotic fluid. It is called vernix and resembles dough. Most of it will disappear before birth, just like the lanugo hair to which it is attached. You can also clearly see the beginnings of dental structures – both for baby teeth and adult teeth.

Week 19 mum

Baby talk and words of wisdom

By now you’ve surely noticed – and if not, you will soon – all the questions from people around you about your baby and pregnancy. Some people love planning and talking about their pregnancy, and really hunkering down in the pregnancy bubble. Others can’t focus on anything because of the swirl of nausea, fatigue and hormones. And some people feel a bit deprived of their sense of self – you’re the same person as before, with interests and commitments beyond just being pregnant. There’s no wrong way to feel; no one else gets to decide how you should relate to your pregnancy. So get in touch with what YOU want. Guide the conversation, well-intentioned advice and thoughtful questions in the direction you want and rest assured: you know best how your pregnancy is going and who you are within it. If you have a partner, all of the questions for you might make them feel a little excluded. While you are the one carrying the baby, your partner is going to be a parent, too. If you aren’t happy with the reactions in your surroundings, then talk to each other and make a pact in which you let your partner take up more space in conversations with friends, family and at medical appointments. For example, you don’t have to be the one who has read the most – lean on the fact that shared knowledge is enough!

Week 19 partner

Participant in the pregnancy

Wanting and being permitted to be included in the pregnancy is important! Your feelings about the baby will often be just as strong as your partner’s – it’s just that you aren’t the one carrying the baby (you will get to do that in about 21 weeks). But often, the eyes and attention of the people around you will go straight to the pregnant person, especially later on, as the physical changes become increasingly visible. She may also experience a lot of physical discomfort and everyone will want to show compassion and care. You may get to avoid pelvic pain, but you’re going to be a parent too, and your thoughts and experiences are important. Some tips for how to feel – and be – more included are to actively take part in conversations, be well read, raise the fact that you’re going to be a parent, and ask questions of others who are also pregnant or who are already parents. Healthcare providers are usually good at giving airtime to both the pregnant person and the partner, but if you feel excluded, the same thing applies there: ask questions and show that there are multiple future parents in the room.