Pregnancy Week by Week : Week 19 (part 2) - How Your Actions Affect Your Baby’s Development

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4. Changes in You

Feeling Dizzy

Feeling dizzy during pregnancy is a fairly common symptom, often caused by low blood pressure (hypotension). It usually doesn’t appear until the second trimester but may occur earlier.

There are two common reasons for hypotension during pregnancy. It can be caused by the enlarging uterus putting pressure on your aorta and vena cava. This is called supine hypotension and occurs when you lie down. You can help ease it or prevent it by not sleeping or lying on your back. The second cause is rising rapidly from a sitting, kneeling or squatting position. This is called postural hypotension. Blood pressure drops when you rise rapidly; the problem is cured by rising slowly.

If you’re anemic, you may feel dizzy, faint or tired, or you may tire easily. Your blood is checked routinely during pregnancy. Your healthcare provider can tell you if you have anemia.

Pregnancy also affects blood-sugar level. High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can make you feel dizzy or faint. Many healthcare providers routinely test pregnant women for blood-sugar problems during pregnancy, especially if they have problems with dizziness or a family history of diabetes.

Most women can avoid or improve the problem by eating a balanced diet, not skipping meals and not going a long time without eating. Carry a piece of fruit or several crackers with you for a quick boost in blood sugar when you need it. You might also try crossing your ankles and squeezing your thighs together, or squeeze a rubber ball in your hand. Both actions tense muscles, which improves blood flow to your head, which can help you stop feeling faint.


More than 35% of all pregnant women snore. When you snore, your upper airway relaxes and partially closes. It may prevent you from inhaling adequate amounts of oxygen and exhaling adequate amounts of carbon dioxide.

In the past, experts believed if you snored during pregnancy, you had a greater chance of having problems, such as high blood pressure and giving birth to a low-birthweight baby. Recent studies show snoring has no damaging effect on baby’s growth and development. If you have questions, talk to your healthcare provider.


Some women experience blood clots during pregnancy; the term thrombophilia describes the condition. Thrombophilia encompasses a broad range of blood-clotting disorders.

Inherited thrombophilias occur in up to 10% of women and can lead to problems during pregnancy in both mother and baby. The condition has been associated with an increased risk of blood clots and other problems during pregnancy.

Many healthcare providers don’t screen women for this problem. Ask for a test if you have a family history of the disorder. Some researchers have found inherited thrombophilias are tied to second- or third-trimester fetal loss, not first-trimester loss.

Bikini Waxes

Bikini waxes are OK during pregnancy. Just be careful around the pubic area, and avoid Brazilian waxes. They involve putting hot wax on the tissue on either side of the vaginal opening (labia), which could be more sensitive when you’re pregnant.

Tests can be done to see if you are at risk. If a blood test shows you have a problem, your healthcare provider may advise aspirin and low-molecular-weight heparin during pregnancy. This treatment has been shown to be effective for some women.

Tip for Week 19

Fish can be a healthful food choice during pregnancy, but don’t eat more than 12 ounces total of all fish in any one week.

Complications from thrombophilia can recur in subsequent pregnancies. It’s important for a woman who has had thrombophilia to cut down the risks in her next pregnancy. Some treatments include folic-acid supplementation, the use of heparin and a low-dose aspirin regimen.

5. How Your Actions Affect Your Baby’s Development

Warning Signs during Pregnancy

Many women are nervous because they don’t think they would know if something important or serious happened during pregnancy. Most women have few, if any, problems during pregnancy. If you’re concerned, the list below includes the most important symptoms to watch for. Call your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following:

• vaginal bleeding

• severe swelling of the face or fingers

• severe abdominal pain

• loss of fluid from the vagina, usually a gush of fluid, but sometimes a trickle or continuous wetness

• a big change in the baby’s movement or a lack of movement

• high fever (more than 101.6F) or chills

• severe vomiting or an inability to keep food or liquid down

• blurring of vision

• painful urination

• a headache that won’t go away or a severe headache

• an injury or accident, such as a fall or automobile accident, that causes you concern about the well-being of your baby

Later in pregnancy, if you can’t feel baby moving, sit or lie down in a quiet room after eating a meal. Focus on how often the baby moves. If you don’t feel at least 10 fetal movements in 2 hours, call your healthcare provider.

Be sure to talk about any concerns you have. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions about anything; your healthcare provider has probably heard it before. He or she would rather know about problems while they may be easier to deal with.

If necessary, you may be referred to a perinatologist, an obstetrician who has spent an additional 2 years or more in specialized obstetrical training. These specialists have experience caring for women with high-risk pregnancies.

You may not have a high-risk pregnancy at the beginning of your pregnancy. But if problems develop with you or baby, you may be referred to a perinatologist for consultation and possible care. You may be able to return to your regular healthcare provider for your delivery.

Dad Tip

You’re nearly halfway through your pregnancy. Time may be passing very quickly for you both. Make an effort to spend some couple time with your partner. When you can, take some time off from work or other obligations. Together, focus on the pregnancy and preparing for the birth of your baby. You might even suggest a babymoon to guarantee you have quality couple time together.

If you see a perinatologist, you may have to deliver your baby at a hospital other than the one you had chosen. This is usually because the hospital has specialized facilities or can administer specialized tests and/or care to you or your baby.

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