Welcome to your 5th month, mum-to-be! At week 18 of pregnancy, your little one is now like a tiny acrobat who makes sure you feel their stunts in the womb. Learn more about their development and your pregnancy during the second trimester here.
Pregnancy Week 18: Baby
In pregnancy week 18, you’re probably starting to feel your baby move around. That’s because they’re starting to get bigger! Your baby’s brain and heart are still developing, but their kidneys and lungs have matured enough for them to take in amniotic fluid. They’re also getting stronger—they’ll soon be able to kick and punch!
Your baby is now the size of a sweet potato. Almost a handful! Your baby is now about 14.2cm long and weighs about 189.9g. By this time, your baby may begin performing acrobatic stunts in your womb!
At this point in the pregnancy, your baby is developing the ability to see, hear and feel. The skin is thinner than yours and it’s much more sensitive to touch. They may be able to hear sounds at this point.
The number of fat cells in your baby’s body doubles in this week. This will help them store energy for later when they need it most—especially during the first year of life!
Your baby is growing stronger muscles now too! They can move their head from side to side and begin to practice moving their arms and legs for pushing themselves out of the womb later on during labour.
Image courtesy: Stock Image
In this week-by-week pregnancy guide, you’ll learn that:
- Your little one is moving, and how! As your baby rolls, tumbles, and flexes their limbs in your womb, get ready to feel stronger kicks and nudges.
- They can now yawn–so you may catch a glimpse of this during an ultrasound.
- Because your baby’s hearing is well-developed, avoid sudden loud noises.
- If you’re carrying a boy, his genitals have now formed distinctly. If you’re carrying a girl, her ovaries will already be developing eggs. You may already have a glimpse of your baby’s genitals on your next ultrasound to find out your baby’s sex.
- Another reason to be excited about your next ultrasound – your baby’s facial features are all formed. Their ears, nose, and lips are all recognisable. They even have eyelids and eyelashes now.
This is a time when your baby can hear sounds outside the womb, like those made by your voice or the sounds of music. For example, if you were to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to your baby at this stage in pregnancy, they would be able to hear it.
It’s also around this time that a baby begins to develop their own unique cry. You may notice a change in your baby’s cry now that they’re able to hear all of those sounds going on around them!
The first set of teeth, known as the deciduous teeth, are already forming behind your baby’s gums. These will start to push through the gums in the coming months, before or after the baby is born. In fact, you may already be able to see them if they’re not completely covered by gum tissue.
The front four teeth will be visible first, followed by the rest of the deciduous set and then the permanent teeth that come in later on.
You may have started to feel your baby move around in the womb. This could be a little butterfly feeling, or it could be like being poked from the inside. Either way, if you haven’t felt that yet, don’t worry! Most women won’t feel their baby moving until around this time, but once they do, they’ll never want to stop feeling it again.
It’s important to remember that you’re not likely to feel your baby moving every day—and that’s okay! Your baby is still very small, and their movements are still very subtle. They might only move every few days or so, but when they do move, it will feel like butterflies dancing around inside your tummy. You’ll know it when you feel it!
Pregnancy Week 18: Your Body
You may feel like your belly is getting bigger, but that’s because it actually is! You’re probably around 4 or 5 months pregnant by now. You may be experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions—the practice contractions that help build up your uterus and prepare it for labour later on.
They’re often mistaken for actual labour pains because they come and go at random times, but they’re completely normal and nothing to worry about.
18 Months Pregnancy Symptoms
- You are ravenous. Your baby’s rapid growth is probably making you hungry every few hours.
- Your hands and feet may be swollen. Stubby fingers and thick ankles can be bothersome, but it is common in pregnancy. However, if your swelling is sudden or excessive, you have more than moderate swelling of your hands or face, don’t hesitate to call your doctor as it may be a sign of preeclampsia.
- As your baby grows rapidly, there’s a lot of pressure on your back, leading to a backache.
- Due to increased pressure on the veins of your nose, you may experience nosebleeds.
- You may also be experiencing leg cramps at week 18 of pregnancy, so stay hydrated.
Maternal Weight Gain
It’s the second trimester and you’re probably feeling more energetic than you did during the first three months of your pregnancy. Your body has had time to adjust to the changes in hormones and nutrients it’s receiving, so now it’s time to focus on how much weight you’ve gained.
It’s recommended that pregnant women gain a total of 25 to 35 pounds between conception and birth. This number is just an average—it’s best for you to talk with your doctor about what kind of weight gain is ideal for you personally.
If you’re overweight or underweight before pregnancy, the amount of weight gain will be different from someone who’s at a healthy weight when they start trying to conceive.
The same goes if this is your first baby or if you have had multiple pregnancies before now. Your doctor will help guide you through these decisions based on their knowledge of your history and overall health.
It’s also important that you don’t gain too much or too little weight during pregnancy because it can affect how easily some women lose postpartum weight (the weight gained during pregnancy).
The nutritional needs of pregnant women are different from those of non-pregnant women. However, it is important for the mother to eat a healthy diet throughout her pregnancy to ensure that she and her baby remain healthy.
The following are some tips on how to eat well during pregnancy:
- Eat a variety of foods every day. Make sure you get all the nutrients you need by eating a balanced diet. This means eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy products.
- Avoid high-fat foods such as fried foods, bacon and sausage. These types of foods can be high in cholesterol and saturated fat which may increase your risk for heart disease and stroke later in life if you eat them too often.
- Keep track of what you eat so that you know how much energy (calories) you consume each day by using an online calorie calculator or writing down everything you eat in a food journal so that you can easily see how many calories were consumed during each meal or snack time throughout each day. This will help ensure good nutrition during pregnancy as well as prevent overeating due to hunger pangs caused by low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).
Image Source: iStock
Pregnancy Care: Your Checklist For Week 18 of Pregnancy
- Keep the backache away by sitting upright or performing light exercises such as prenatal yoga.
- Your expanding uterus puts pressure on the veins behind your abdomen. Your best bet is to sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back may reduce the amount of blood going to your heart which will make you feel light-headed.
- If you notice your hands and feet swell often, place them at a height to drain out excess fluids.
- If worry is causing you to lose sleep, try out a few relaxing breathing techniques before you hit the sack for a good night’s rest!
- Get some pregnancy pampering by heading out for a soothing prenatal massage to relax.
- The best time to sort out your week 20.
- Ensure you have booked your confinement nanny already.
Your next week: 19 weeks pregnant
Your previous week: 17 weeks pregnant
Updates from Pheona Ilagan
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