Week 18

Your baby this week

190

GRAMS IN WEIGHT

Your baby is exploring his space in your body.

Your baby’s umbilical cord becomes a plaything.

Your baby can hear your heartbeat.

How big is your baby?

Week 18 of pregnancy finds your baby measuring roughly 14.2cm (5.6in), the length of a red pepper. He weighs 190 grams (about 6.7 oz) that’s about the weight of a large onion.

How big is your baby?

Week 18 of pregnancy finds your baby measuring roughly 14.2cm (5.6in), the length of a red pepper. He weighs 190 grams (about 6.7 oz) that’s about the weight of a large onion.

What does your baby look like?

Your baby is now recognisable as a, well, baby!

His head is still a little out of proportion with the rest of his body and he will look skinny, but from now he will start to lay down fat deposits which will plump him up. His ears are prominent on the side of his head as they reach their final position and he will have very thin skin which means his blood vessels are still visible.

Changes in your body this week

At this stage of pregnancy it’s common to suffer from indigestion after eating a meal. Pregnancy hormones have relaxed the muscles which aid digestion, meaning the whole process is slower. As your body grows your uterus will push on your stomach so it’s easier for stomach acid to escape, resulting in heartburn. To help avoid this, don’t eat too much rich or fatty foods, and stay sitting up after you’ve eaten. These are just small, easy changes which will combine to have a big effect.

How your baby is developing

There’s lots of movement now as your baby explores his space in your body, kicking, flexing and even rolling. The first movements that you’re aware of will probably feel like little flicks or flutterings (also known as quickening in the earlier weeks).

His umbilical cord becomes a plaything for him around this time as he masters the ability to grip with his tiny fists.

How your baby is developing

There’s lots of movement now as your baby explores his space in your body, kicking, flexing and even rolling. The first movements that you’re aware of will probably feel like little flicks or flutterings (also known as quickening in the earlier weeks).

His umbilical cord becomes a plaything for him around this time as he masters the ability to grip with his tiny fists.

His ears have developed enough now for him to hear your heartbeat, which will become a very familiar sound and comfort him after birth.

Health concerns

Your heart is now working about 40-50% harder than prior to your pregnancy. This is why pregnant women often feel faint, especially combined with your expanding uterus putting pressure on your blood vessels. To combat any dizziness, or feeling faint, you can try standing up slowly, avoiding drops in your blood sugar level by snacking regularly and if you’re feeling particularly dizzy you can lie down and rest on your left hand side.

Are there any symptoms you should be looking out for?

Pelvic aches and pains are usually part and parcel of pregnancy. But if the pain is particularly bad low down near your pubic bone, and especially when you walk, you should talk to your midwife in case this is a sign of symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD).

This painful condition is caused by the pregnancy hormones relaxing the joints and ligaments around the pelvis. If you do suffer from SPD there are certain exercises that your midwife can show you to lessen the impact and manage the pain. Severe cases will often be referred to a physiotherapist.

Safety first

As your bump becomes more prominent, your centre of gravity will shift and you may find that your balance is not what it was. Now could be the time to start delegating certain household tasks, such as those involving climbing ladders and heavy lifting.

Cleaning the bathroom could be a thing of the past as well because some chemicals in cleaning products are potentially dangerous for pregnant women to inhale and changing the cat litter is also out because of the risk of contracting toxoplasmosis from cat faeces.

All in all, it’s time for you to rest a bit more as your body copes with the changes brought about by pregnancy.

Important issues this week

By week 18 you will probably find yourself needing to move into maternity clothes. Accommodating your bump comfortably is a priority now and there’s no need to order online or seek out specialist shops. In recent years most high street clothes retailers have expanded their range to include maternity wear. Choose yourself a capsule wardrobe with the right clothes for your lifestyle. Layering tops is a great way of covering your bump.

But if you feel like showing it off, why not – maternity clothes are no longer the ginormous smocks of the past. As long as your clothing is not too restrictive, and you can breathe easily and your circulation is not cut off, todays styles actively encourage enhancement of your growing bump.

Keeping fit, staying healthy

By now morning sickness is hopefully a distant memory and you might even find that your appetite is increasing. As you start to eat more, stick to healthy choices wherever possible.

The odd pizza or slice of cake isn’t going to cause harm to you or your baby, but your main meals should be nutritious and balanced, think lean meats, fish, vegetables, pulses and wholegrains.

Taking regular exercise is recommended as the extra pressure on your circulatory system can result in varicose veins. But as we keep saying, even a short walk in the fresh air is better than no exercise at all, so there’s really no excuse not to get at least a little exercise.

Looking forward; planning ahead

Your anomaly scan (often referred to as the twenty week scan) could be any time from now on so it’s a good idea to have a think about how you might cope with the findings. Knowing about the scan and what the sonographer will be looking for can be a bit frightening, but most of the conditions are extremely rare. You might also want to discuss whether or not you want to know the sex (as it can sometimes be spotted at this upcoming 20-week scan). Couples sometimes conflict over this issue, but discussing it beforehand should iron out any issues.

Important – If you or your child are unwell you should seek medical advice from a professional – contact your GP or visit an A&E department in an emergency. While My BabyManual strives to provide dependable and trusted information on pregnancy and childcare 24/7 via our website pages, we cannot provide individual answers to specific healthcare questions.
Please sign in to comment on this article.
Be the first to write a comment on this article.

Fitness and exercise

Tai chi is all about balance, breath and being grounded: three essential q...

Read More

Complications

Smoking during pregnancy is fraught with risks, Find out what they are and...

Read More

Mums perspective

One mother recalls what it was like coming to term with unexpected news at...

Read More

Week 18

Your pre-pregnancy BMI is important when considering how much weight gain ...

Read More