Coming in at 5.6 inches and weighing about 6.7 ounces, your baby is now the size of an artichoke! At 18 weeks pregnant, you are officially four months into your term, with only five months left to go until the big day.
Growing at a swift pace, your little baby is becoming a force to be reckoned with! As he or she continues to expeditiously grow, you will inevitably be hit with massive hunger and frequent food cravings. It’s okay to give in to these overwhelming urges from time to time by indulging yourself but just ensure that you don’t make it a habit and that your main goal of eating fresh, clean, and healthy remains intact.
In addition to its vastly increased size, your baby is performing all kinds of cool acrobatic moves within the confines of your pregnant belly. Rolling about, twisting, kicking, punching, and grasping – your baby is practicing a veritable catalog of moves.
While your baby is groovin’ away in your tummy, he or she is also swallowing, sucking, yawning, hiccuping, as well as practicing a variety of facial expressions, in addition to being able to hear a multitude of sounds.
Your baby’s evolved hearing functionality gives you a great opportunity to chat with it, sing to it, and play music for it to enjoy. It’s no wonder why so many expectant mother sconsider this period in their pregnancy to be their favorite.
Read on below to learn more about the eighteenth week of pregnancy and all of its many intriguing aspects!
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Your Physical and Emotional Health: 18 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms
The eighteenth week of pregnancy marks the beginning of a slew of new symptoms for many women.
The reduction of blood to the heart creates symptoms such as lightheadedness, lowered blood pressure (hypotension) and more.
Thankfully, many of the symptoms resulting from the enlarged uterus can be mitigated by taking simple measures such as sleeping on your side at night, as opposed to on your back or stomach. It may take some getting used to, but sleeping on your side will provide great relief for a range of symptoms, in addition to alleviating many back pains and aches.
Pregnant women should make it a priority to begin sleeping on their side at the or around the eighteen-week point in pregnancy. As hormones roil about and muscles and ligaments relax into a precariously weakened state, back pain and body aches can become severely debilitating.
In addition to sleeping on your side to mitigate back pain, body aches, and enlarged uterus-related symptoms, you should avoid any kind ofheavy lifting whatsoever. Investing in a firmer mattress, massage therapy, or engaging in water exercises can also greatly alleviate the severity of symptoms.
Other side effects that women in their eighteenth week of pregnancy commonly experience:
- Swollen feet and hands
- Leg cramps
- Varicose veins
- Difficulty sleeping
- Rapidly growing stretchmarks
Your Baby’s Health and Status: 18 Weeks Pregnant Baby
At eighteen weeks, your baby’s genitals are distinct; however, during ultrasounds, you may not see them if your baby is turned in a particular position that inhibits your viewing. If you are having a baby girl, by this time her uterus, fallopian tubes, and vagina will have been completely formed. If you are having a baby boy, his penis will have reached a defined state, and his testicles will be slowly moving down from his pelvic area.
Myelin is abundant during this period and works to facilitate the insulation of your baby’s nerves. Functioning as a protective coating, this fatty substance is critically essential for the optimal development and functioning of your baby’s nervous system. In the coming days, your baby will also start to develop an additional protective coating referred to as venicecaseosa.
During this time, your baby’s delicate ear bones and associated nerves will have developed to the point of comprehensive functionality. He or she will be able to hear a multitude of sounds, including the growling and running of your stomach, your heartbeat, and even the blood flowing like a river through the umbilical cord.
Be aware that your baby may be startled by loud noises. As such take care to provide your baby with a soothing audio environment where you sing to them, chat with them, tell them stories, and play gentle music for their eager ears.
Tips, Tricks, and Knowledge at 18 Weeks Pregnant
- Varicose veins: These gnarled, twisted veins may become purple or blue and increasingly swollen as a result of the excessive pressure placed upon your circulatory system. To help mitigate issues with varicose veins, avoid tight and ill-fitting clothing and shoes, ensure that you don’t remain stationary by changing positions often, and make it a goal to get plenty of exercise
- Indigestion affects the majority of pregnant women due to the relaxing of muscles within the body resulting in a sluggish digestive system. Mitigate the effects of digestion by eating small meals throughout the day, avoiding rich, fatty, and calorie-laden foods, and taking care to sit upright after you finish your meals.
- Try creating an incline on your mattress by using cushions, pillows, rolled up towels or investing in an inclinepillow. Doing so will help ingestion issues as well as reduce back pain symptoms.
- Make sure not to make the incline too steep, as it could create too much pressure on your abdominal area
Week 18 To-Do List and Reminders at 18 Weeks Pregnant
- Major appointment: At eighteen weeks, you are due for a major ultrasound that consists of a comprehensive examination of your baby’s body in its entirety. It will ensure that your baby’s growth is right on track, while also checking for the proper development of major organs, and also examining heart rate, amniotic fluid, and the placenta.
- If you are interested in knowing your baby’s gender, the ultrasound technician present at the appointment discussed above will be able to tell within 95% certainty what the sex is – so long as the baby is in a position where their sex organs are visible
- Commit to changing your sleep position to only sleeping on your side
- Maintain your fitness regime, aiming for 30 minutes a day of exercise
- Keep eating a healthy, clean diet full of a variety of vitamin-rich foods
- Keep doing pelvic floor exercises to build strength and endurance
Vernix caseosa: Occurring at about nineteen weeks, your baby will develop a protective coating over the surface of their skin. Also known as vernix, it is a greasy, white substance with a consistency similar to cheese that is produced for protective purposes during fetal development and the initial moments right after birth
Cool Things to Know
- Approximately one in four mothers will give birth by C-section each year. This figure is nearly triple the number of C-sections that were performed a decade ago
- Approximately 30% of pregnant women will begin to snore due to their nasal passages being impacted by swelling
- Believe it or not, the word placenta is Latin for cake!
Ready to find out what’s next in your pregnancy journey?