Pregnant woman sits with coffee and strawberries on a rug on the floor

Pregnancy WEEKS

Pregnancy Week 19

Why your diet is now especially important


Right in the middle of the second trimester and in the fifth month there is still a lot of action going on inside you. More and more women can feel the baby. Read on to discover why it can take even longer for some women, the foods you should avoid and more about the development of your little one in the 19th pregnancy week.

What's going on inside you at 19 weeks pregnant?

The size of the foetus is around 13.5-15 cm (CRL) and it weighs around 200 grams.

In the brain, the nerve cells for all five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch) continue to grow. The hearing ability is now especially well developed.

Your baby is now roughly the size of a grapefruit.

Your baby is now roughly the size of a grapefruit.

Although the ventricles and atria of the heart have not yet divided, the heart is otherwise already fully functional and currently beats around twice as fast as an adult's heart. There are things going on in the lungs too – the bronchial tubes are developing. The baby will not be able to breathe independently until the 34th pregnancy week because an important substance (surfactant) is still needed to allow the air sacs to work.

The vernix caseosa now completely covers the baby and protects it from the amniotic fluid. At the birth, it acts as a lubricant to aid passage through the birth canal. After the birth, it helps the infant to keep warm, gives the skin moisture and also reduces infections with its antibacterial effect. So there should be no rush to remove the residues.

How do you feel at 19 weeks pregnant?

Still haven't felt the baby? Don't worry. It really won't be long now. Most expectant mothers can feel their child between the 19th and 25th pregnancy week. If you are unsure, ask at your next midwife or doctor’s appointment whether you might have an anterior placenta. This might be the reason why you are late in feeling anything. The amount of amniotic fluid and thickness of the abdominal wall can also influence when you feel movements.

Growth of both baby and the placenta means that you both need large amounts of nutrients, vitamins, trace elements and minerals. A balanced and varied diet is enormously important in pregnancy, but not all foods are suitable for expectant mothers.

Which foods should you avoid during pregnancy?

Alcohol and foods that contain alcohol should be totally avoided. It is not possible to state a "pregnancy-compatible" amount of alcohol, so it is really best to avoid it altogether.

To be on the safe side, reduce your consumption of coffee and drinks that contain quinine (tonic, bitter lemon).

To avoid infection by pathogens, there are a few "banned foods" during pregnancy:

  • Raw or undercooked meat (e.g. rare steak or roast beef)
  • Cured meats, raw meat products (e.g. salami, dried sausage, raw ham and other charcuterie products)
  • Raw or undercooked fish and seafood, and smoked fish
  • Raw or undercooked eggs and dishes containing raw egg (e.g. tiramisu)
  • Pre-chopped, packaged salads (tests have revealed increased contamination with germs in many products), foods displayed on an open counter, ready-made sandwiches and rolls, freshly-squeezed juices from shops
  • Unwashed fruit, vegetables and salads
  • Oily predatory fish such as tuna, pike and king mackerel (due to possible contamination with heavy metals)

Ask your midwife or doctor if you are unsure which regional foods or specialities you can eat during pregnancy. What you can and must not eat actually depends on whether you already have antibodies against certain pathogens (e.g. toxoplasmosis).

The nice things about these minor restrictions is that you will enjoy these treats all the more after your pregnancy!


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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