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At week 19 you’re almost halfway to your due date! And both you and your baby are changing in some big ways — hair, skin, and so much more.
Baby is now measuring in at just over 6-9 inches long (23.7 cm) and weighs between 8½-9½ ounces. Your little one is also beginning to sprout tiny little hairs from their tiny little head! And underneath all that cute hair, the areas in the brain that control each of Baby’s senses are continuing to develop. Your baby’s coordination is also growing every day as their brain cells (neurons) make connections with their muscles, giving them better and better control over their arms and legs. Those arms and legs are pretty much in proportion to their body by now, just in time for them to start to become covered from head to toe in a waxy, almost cheesy-textured coating called the vernix caseosa. This vernix moisturizes Baby’s skin while in the womb, protects their skin from the amniotic fluid, and facilitates travel down the birth canal when the big day arrives.
What’s new with you?
Besides the normal second trimester symptoms that you’re probably getting familiar with by now, you might also start to notice red palms and darkened skin in other places. These changes in pigment happen because of all of the extra estrogen and progesterone in your system, and will fade after delivery when your hormone levels start to return to normal. Although most of these patches (called chloasma) will fade after delivery and are unlikely to be problematic, they can be bothersome. If you’d like to minimize them, take care to apply sunscreen, because if you’re exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, it can intensify the pigment discoloration. You may notice skin darkening showing up in other places too, like on your scars and nipples. This nipple darkening probably helps make it easier for your baby’s brand new eyes to zero in on those very important body parts to help with early breastfeeding.
Some other common symptoms? You may also be experiencing hip pain right now. If this is the case for you right now, try sticking a pillow between your knees and sleeping on your side, which may help you find some relief. It’s also not uncommon for weight gain to cause stretch marks on your belly and legs when your skin can’t quite keep up with your growing body. You may want to use a fragrance-free moisturizer on any stretch marks you get, which can help relieve the itchiness that can come along with new stretch marks. But one good way to combat stretch marks by keeping active with exercise you enjoy, which not only helps you have a healthy pregnancy, it can also promote skin elasticity as your body continues to grow along with Baby’s.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
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- G Singh, G Archana. “Unraveling the mystery of vernix caseosa.” Indian Journal of Dermatology. 53(2): 54-60. Web. 2008.
- JA Garcia Hernandez, D Madera Gonzalez, M Padilla Castillo, T Figueras Falcon. “Use of a specific anti-stretch mark cream for preventing or reducing the severity of striae gravidarum. Randomized, double-blind, controlled trial.” International Journal of Cosmetic Science. 35(3):233-7. Web. June 13, 2015.
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- “Skin Conditions During Pregnancy: FAQ.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. June 2020. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/skin-conditions-during-pregnancy.
- Mark A Curran, M.D. “Fetal Development.” Perinatology.com. Perinatology.com. March 31, 2019. https://www.perinatology.com/Reference/Fetal%20development.htm#1.