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    Your baby can hear you!

    The hands of a fetus in the nineteenth week

    Your baby’s development

    The brain takes control of the muscles.
    Around the 19th week of pregnancy, your baby’s brain is taking shape at a phenomenal rate. His brain is making millions of neurons – the tiny transmitters that connect baby’s brain to his muscles.

    This new and ongoing development means that your baby can make purposeful and involuntary movements. You’ll probably start feeling them as he sucks his thumb and moves his head, and tries out new moves.

    • Your baby's hearing is even more developed. He can probably hear external sounds and conversation. He can hear you talk, hum, and sing.
    • A white, waxy protective coating called vernix covers your baby’s skin.
    • Under the vernix, the fine hair called lanugo continues to cover the skin.
    • At 19 weeks, your baby’s kidneys function. Her urine is excreted into your amniotic sac – the bag of fluid in your uterus that surrounds the baby.
    Two walnuts on a white background with one cracked open

    Your nutrition and health

    To eat fats or not to eat fats?
    Fats are an essential part of your baby’s growth and development during your 19th week of pregnancy. But how do you know which fats to eat and which to avoid?

    The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends cutting back on saturated and trans fats. These include foods high in solid fats (solid at room temperature) like butter, beef fat and shortening.

    Avoid foods high in saturated fat. These include cheese, butter, high-fat meats (such as ribs, sausage, hot dogs, and bacon), coconut oil and palm oil.

    Avoid foods high in trans fat. These include margarines, processed snack foods like chips and pretzels, and prepared desserts, such as cookies, cakes, and donuts.

    Unsaturated fats are not only preferable — they’re an important part of a healthy diet. Omega-3 fats fall into this category and are particularly important during pregnancy. They support your baby’s brain development and they help cell membranes and other tissues grow.

    Avoid saturated and trans fats by looking to these healthy-fat foods instead:

    Foods containing unsaturated fats include:

    • Plant-based fats: olive oil, canola oil, and corn oil, nuts and seeds and avocado
    • Walnuts: Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), another healthy omega-3 fatty acid
    • Wild salmon: while it contains high levels of DHA, it’s recommended that pregnant women limit their total amount of fish intake to 12 ounces per week

    Remember to always talk to your physician before making changes to your diet during pregnancy.
    Two cheese puffs

    Things to think about now

    Just say no to trans fats.
    When hunger strikes, it’s easy to fall prey to trans fats. They’re lurking in all of those ready-made, grab-and-go snacks like processed cookies, pastries, chips, and other snack foods.

    These processed foods often have fats that have been changed through a process called hydrogenation. These changed fats become what are commonly known as trans-fatty acids (TFAs). This type of fat may raise low-density cholesterol (the unhealthy type), increases the risk of heart disease, and should be avoided when possible.

    Stock up with plenty of healthy snack options. Keep some in your purse, at work, or any place you might be tempted by trans fat-filled snacks.
    Two women on the street touching the belly of a pregnant woman in the streets

    What happens next week

    Alive and kicking! Can you feel it?
    Your baby is test driving all of her developing parts. Take note of when you feel her kicks and squirms, and be sure to let your doctor know when movement begins.