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Your Baby at Week 18
Baby Is Yawning
At five-and-a-half inches long (remember, that’s crown to rump) and five to six-and-a-half ounces in weight — about the size of that boneless chicken breast you’re making for dinner — your baby may be large enough now or anytime in the next few weeks for you to feel him twisting, rolling, kicking and punching his way around the womb.
And now for the skill of the week:
The art of the yawn has been mastered by your baby, along with hiccupping (you may feel those soon, too!).
In fact, you might catch a glimpse of that adorable yawn and all those other fetal movements at your ultrasound this month.
18 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months?
If you’re 18 weeks pregnant, you’re in month 5 of your pregnancy.
Only 4 months left to go!
Still have questions?
Here’s some more information on how weeks, months and trimesters are broken down in pregnancy.
Baby’s Nervous System Is Maturing Quickly
Something you won’t see on the ultrasound — but you’ll learn is in working order — is your baby’s nervous system, which is maturing rapidly when you’re 18 weeks pregnant.
Nerves, now covered with a substance called myelin that speeds messages from nerve cell to nerve cell, are forming more complex connections.
And those in the brain are further developing into the ones that serve the senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing.
Speaking of hearing, your baby’s is growing more acute, making your little one more conscious of sounds that come from inside your body (which means you could both be listening to each other hiccup!).
Your Body at Week 18
Is it a girl? A boy? How about a sizeable fruit or vegetable? Your baby is about the length of a cucumber and your uterus is around the size of a sweet potato at 18 weeks pregnant (see how you’re working your way through the produce department?).
It can be felt about one-and-a-half inches below your belly button — so have a feel.
Your 18 Weeks Pregnant Belly
When you’re 18 weeks pregnant, you’ll likely look noticeably pregnant, since your baby and uterus are growing rapidly.
But remember that every woman is different as is each pregnancy, so even this far along, some still have small bumps while others have popped a lot.
All baby bumps at 18 weeks pregnant are fine and normal and may vary based on how much weight you and baby are gaining, your height and build, and whether this is your first pregnancy or not.
Just don’t size up your 18 weeks pregnant belly next to those of pregnant friends at the same stage, or worry that you’re measuring too big or too small.
If you’re really concerned, you can always talk to your practitioner, but rest assured that if you and your baby are tracking normally at your prenatal appointments, everything is likely just fine.
Your Back Aches
Something else you may be feeling right now: back pain.
Your growing uterus shifts your center of gravity – which means your lower back is pulled forward while your abdomen is thrust out (good for tipping off the guy who got the last seat on the bus that you’re pregnant, bad for your back muscles).
Couple that with the changes that the pregnancy hormone relaxin is instituting — namely relaxing all your ligaments, including those that attach your pelvic bones to your spine, and loosening joints — and that leaves you with backaches and pains (plus your posture may be shifting).
Reduce pain by using a foot rest to elevate your feet slightly when sitting. When standing, place one foot on a low stool when possible to take some pressure off your lower back.
A long, warm bath can also do wonders.
And if your back pain just won’t quit, be sure to talk to your practitioner.
Forget the chili burrito with extra jalapeños — sometimes even a bite of toast will set your gut on fire these days.
That’s the heartbreak of heartburn — an all-too-common symptom that can persist throughout your pregnancy.
An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of Tums (though you might want to keep the pound of Tums handy too — especially because they’ll banish the burn while boosting your calcium intake).
For starters, eat slowly and chew thoroughly (no eating lunch on the run or gobbling your dinner standing up); eat smaller meals and snacks rather than five-alarm gut bombs; sit upright for a few hours after eating (or as long as you can last without collapsing into bed); and sleep with your head elevated (it helps with the snoring anyway).
And do skip anything on the menu with a picture of a flame next to it!
18 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development
One of a kind. This week, your little one is developing a unique characteristic: fingerprints.
Pads of fat accumulating on the fingertips and toes will turn into distinguishing swirling lines.
Prepping the plumbing.
The developing digestive system has been going through its paces for several weeks already.
Your baby swallows amniotic fluid, which makes its way through the stomach and intestines.
That fluid will combine with dead cells and secretions in the intestines to form meconium — a black, tarry substance you’ll see at the very first diaper change.
Around 18 weeks, your baby’s ears will begin to stand out from of the sides of the head and may even begin to register sounds.
Gall bladder go-ahead.
Your baby will need bile to digest nutrients, and at 18 weeks, the gall bladder may begin to work.
How Big Is Your Baby at 18 Weeks?
When you’re 18 weeks pregnant, your baby is around the size of a sweet potato, measuring about 5 and a half inches long from crown to rump, and weighing around 7 ounces.
Mom’s Body at 18 Weeks Pregnant
If this is your first pregnancy, you may feel the baby begin to move inside your belly sometime soon.
This fluttering feeling is known as quickening.
As your baby gets bigger, you may notice stronger movements and maybe even kicks in the weeks to come.
Because each mom is different, you may feel this movement earlier (this is common if this is not your first baby) or in some cases even later.
So, even if you don’t feel any movement at 18 weeks pregnant, there is no need to worry.
At this stage of your pregnancy, your body is going through a lot of circulation changes, such as increased blood volume and rapidly expanding blood vessels, which can cause your blood pressure to drop.
This can leave you feeling lightheaded if you’re not getting enough blood flow to your head and upper body.
You may also notice around 18 weeks that your feet are getting bigger.
A part of this is due to swelling caused by water retention, known as edema, which can occur from the second trimester onward.
Hormones also play a part in growing feet.
The pregnancy hormone relaxin, which relaxes your pelvic joints so your baby can fit through the birth canal,
loosens the ligaments in your feet, causing the foot bones to spread.
You can relieve the swelling with a footbath of cool water and by keeping your feet raised;
don’t worry (and have fun!) if you need to head out shoe shopping for a bigger size.
18 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms
Your heart is working 40 to 50 percent harder than it did before you were pregnant.
This effort, combined with the pressure of your growing uterus on blood vessels, can occasionally leave you feeling faint, particularly when you get up quickly.
Be sure to rest frequently. Lie down on your side when you feel faint or dizzy.
Low blood sugar can also lead to wooziness.
Resting, lying down on your side, or eating a piece of fruit will help boost blood sugar levels and settle dizzy spells.
Mini moves. Most women first feel their little one’s movements between 16 and 20 weeks.
Your baby is still small, so at around 18 weeks pregnant, it’ll be more of a gentle flutter than a forceful kick in your belly.
You may find that leg cramps strike at 18 weeks pregnant, usually at night.
Try to stretch your calf muscles before bed and stay hydrated.
A warm bath, hot shower, or a massage may help, too.
Thank s to a surge in hormones and increased blood volume during pregnancy, which causes mucous membranes to swell up, you might experience nosebleeds and congestion.
Aches and pains in the back.
Your growing belly and hormonal changes can lead to aches and pains in your lower back area.
18 WEEKS PREGNANT
Time to switch things up.
Starting around 18 weeks pregnant you should begin to sleep on your side instead of your back.
That’s because baby (and your uterus) is getting big enough to press against large veins in the back of your abdomen, which can reduce the amount of blood going to your heart, making you feel lightheaded—or worse, lowering your blood pressure.
Sounds scary, but it’s totally preventable by simply sleeping on your side.
Of course, your veins aren’t the only things that are prone to pressure—you are too!
At pregnancy week 18, there’s a lot going on.
Be sure, in your hectic schedule, that you plan some time to take breaks and unwind.
Great excuse for a date night or a prenatal massage!
18 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months?
At 18 weeks, you’re officially four months pregnant.
Only five more months to go!
How Big Is Baby at 18 Weeks?
At 18 weeks pregnant, baby is as big as an artichoke.
Baby’s about 5.6 inches long and about 6.7 ounces now and keeps growing quickly.
That’s why you’re probably feeling so hungry!
18 WEEKS PREGNANT SYMPTOMS
Not only are you super busy preparing for baby, but you might be having some not-so-fun 18 weeks pregnant symptoms, like swollen feet or hands, backaches, leg cramps, and nosebleeds.
And the stress and discomfort can keep you up at night around week 18 of pregnancy.
Here’s the scoop on the 18 weeks pregnant symptoms you may be feeling:
Swollen feet and/or hands.
Swelling can be an annoying pregnancy symptom. It’s nothing to worry about as long as the swelling isn’t sudden or severe.
If it is, tell your doctor right away.
Baby’s putting a lot of pressure on your insides, causing aches and pains in your back.
Leg cramps. Cramps can be a sign of dehydration, so drink up!
These visible purple or blue veins are swollen due to all that extra pressure on your circulatory system.
To deal with them, change positions often, prop your legs up when you can, get plenty of exercise, and avoid tight clothes and shoes.
Trouble sleeping. Your mind is working overtime and you’re getting more and more uncomfortable.
This can wreak havoc on your ability to catch the Zs you need.
Bet you never expected these! Increased pressure on the veins in your nose may be making it bleed more than usual.
If you have a nosebleed, apply pressure by pinching your nose for five to ten minutes.
An ice pack can also help stop the bleeding.
Baby kicks. Whether you’re 18 weeks pregnant with twins, triplets, or a single baby, you’re probably feeling not just tiny flutters but more definitive sensations resembling actual kicks.
They’re getting stronger!
18 WEEKS PREGNANT BELLY
Your 18 weeks pregnant belly is rapidly expanding—all the stretching and pressure it’s causing are what’s causing those symptoms.
Weight gain at 18 weeks pregnant is recommended to be about 1 to 2 pounds per week for women of average BMI, whether you’re having one baby or you’re 18 weeks pregnant with twins.
Let your doctor know if you have any concerns with your weight gain so far.
Drastic or sudden weight gain or weight loss could be signs of a problem.
If you’re 18 weeks pregnant and not showing much, everything’s probably A-OK.
Remember: Every pregnant body is different, and your uterus will grow up and out of your pelvis at a slightly different time as another pregnant woman’s does.
18 WEEKS PREGNANT ULTRASOUND
What the heck is baby doing inside your 18 weeks pregnant belly?
A lot! Your 18- week fetus is working his or her muscles and practicing all kinds of moves.
Can you believe baby’s yawning, hiccupping, sucking, and swallowing? He or she is twisting, rolling, punching, and kicking too—and is big enough that you might be able to feel him or her doing it!
If you’re 18 weeks pregnant with twins, there’s a membrane that separates your two 18-week fetuses.
As they wiggle around in there, they’ll push fluid around and the membrane will shift slightly—you’d probably be able to see that on an 18 weeks pregnant ultrasound.
At 18 weeks pregnant, the big ultrasound is on your calendar for sometime in the next few weeks.
The mid-pregnancy ultrasound (a.k.a. anatomy scan or level-two ultrasound) is a detailed examination of baby’s entire body.
It’s a pretty cool peek inside! Your 18-week fetus will be measured to make sure growth is on track.
Major organs will be checked for proper development.
And amniotic fluid, placenta location, and fetal heart rate will all be examined as well, to be sure baby’s thriving.
For moms-to-be who are 18-weeks pregnant with twins (or other multiples), both (or all) babies’ anatomy will be scanned at one appointment.
If you want to know whether you’re having a boy or girl, the technician will be able to tell you with about 95 percent certainty at the mid-pregnancy ultrasound—as long as baby moves into a position where his or her organs are visible.
Some babies don’t exactly cooperate!