18 weeks pregnant, congratulations on reaching this mark. Pregnancy is certainly a wonderful journey; with every passing month you and your baby reach a particular milestone together. It is although a very trying time for the mother to be but at the same time it is the most exciting, rewarding and fulfilling time.
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How Does it Feel at 18 Weeks Pregnant?
Being 18 weeks pregnant means you are almost half way through your pregnancy journey and the most difficult part (which is the first trimester that marks the arrival of morning sickness) is over now.
You are well into your second trimester and this phase is probably the one during which you will feel most relaxed, in-sync with your bodily changes and energetic. Believe it or not but 18 weeks pregnant ladies are most energetic as they are able to multitask as lot more than non-pregnant ladies.
Also, during this time, their hormones have settled down substantially and therefore, there are much less mood swings and lethargic reactions. You will be having food cravings even during the second trimester just like you did in the first trimester but food will taste much better now and hunger pangs will increase.
The biggest plus point of this phase is that your digestive system will also settle down considerably and you won’t be feeling morning sickness and nausea at all. The days of vomiting out everything that you consume and feeling strange smells from everything edible that comes your way are long gone.
Some ladies might feel a bit of morning sickness even in their second trimester but it is somewhat rare and cannot be implied on everyone. So relax and enjoy this phase of your pregnancy as your body prepares to create room for a bigger sized baby who is able to move, kick and roll throughout the day.
You baby at 18 weeks pregnant?
Your baby by now has grown to be the size of a bell paper. The baby will be around 14cm or 5 1/2inches long and weighs approx. 200g or 7 ounces. Your belly has now become a small gymnasium for your baby as the fetus is now able to perform a whole lot of actions such as kicking, tumbling around and rolling. This would be a great feeling to say the least.
Your baby’s nerves will be creating a protective layer on the body, which is called Myelin. It is extremely important for the development of baby’s nervous system and its accurate functioning after birth. The process of Myelin formation will continue for about one year after birth as well. The baby will develop grips by now and the umbilical cord will become baby’s first toy with which they usually will play.
If having a baby girl, you can expect her to develop eggs in her ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus at 18 weeks pregnant since this is the time when your baby’s genitals will be completely formed and in place. In case of a baby boy, you can expect his genitals to have formed as well. Many mothers to be want to know the gender of their baby but do remember that during an ultrasound it won’t be possible to understand the gender of the baby at 18 weeks as babies tend to turn a lot. However, at 20 weeks your sonologist can easily identify baby’s gender.
Your baby will flex the arms and legs a lot and you will start noticing movements strongly from this week onwards. These movements will intensify in the coming weeks. Baby’s blood vessels will also be visible at this stage as the skin right now would be very thin, just like a paper or covering sheet. Baby’s ear will be completely formed and placed in their final position but these will still stand out from the head a bit. Eyebrows will also start appearing at this stage and baby can twitch the muscles near the eyes.
Since the nervous system is developing rapidly at this stage of pregnancy, your baby will become aware of the key senses of touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Baby will also start yawning and hiccups will become noticeable after some time. Currently, the baby will be able to hear sounds that come from your body’s inside and later on the exterior voices as well such as your partner’s and people around you, the television, music and sounds of traffic all could very well be heard by your baby. But as of now, it is just the sound of the bodily organs and their functioning as well as your actions like hiccups or coughing that could be heard by the baby.
Currently, baby will be as big as the placenta. In fact, placenta will serve as baby’s vital source of oxygen, nutrition and waste disposal system. One of the many responsibilities of placenta is to rush baby’s waster into your bloodstream, your kidneys and liver will then filter it and expel it from your body.
How Your Body Changes at 18 Weeks Pregnant?
The main change that you will notice is that your appetite will increase a lot and you will feel hunger throughout the day, even at odd hours. Expect yourself to crave for certain foods like ice creams, chocolates and burgers but it is a wise idea to be careful while making meal choices. Your body requires much more nutrition during pregnancy than ever before so we suggest that you opt for meals and snacks that are rich in nutrients and don’t offer just higher calories like soft drinks, sweets and chips do. Read more about Pregnancy Diet Plan.
Your tummy will be more visible by now so you can bid farewell to tight shirts and tops for the time being. Choose comfortable, breathable and big sized clothes so that the waistline could grow easily and you feel relaxed while moving out and about.
18 Weeks pregnant Do’s and Don’ts:
Dramatic changes will occur in your cardiovascular system during this trimester and especially at 18 weeks. Your blood pressure might remain lower than usual and you can feel bouts of dizziness and lethargy every now and then. To prevent any mishap, it is important to avoid standing up too quickly from sitting or lying position. Springing up too fast will make you feel dizzy and you will not be able to walk properly. It is also not recommended to climb up or come down from stairs too fast.
Many expecting mothers make this mistake as they assume that the crucial time has passed and now whatever they do will be absolutely fine and safe for the baby. This isn’t true at all. Whatever you eat, drink, inhale and do will have an impact on your uterus and the growing fetus inside it. So it is better to adopt slow walking style and be cautious always while coming up and down from stairs.
Ideally you should avoid carrying weighty products and stuff that is heavy. Lifting your other kids is also not advised. If you are a working lady, it is about time you stop wearing those stilettos and pencil heels because of the fear of tripping given your increasing body weight due to the growing waistline and tummy.
Sleeping Positions During 18 weeks Pregnant
Sleeping is another important aspect that requires your attention. During this phase of pregnancy you will feel like sleeping more than you usually do. It is important for you because your body is working overtime and it needs some time to relax. This is why you would want to sleep after having your meals, or would want to go to bed earlier than your regular timings. In this regard be careful with the position that you choose.
The best position is to lie on your left side because it regulates flow of blood to the womb and your baby receives uninterrupted oxygen supply and nutrition in this particular position.
Lying on your back is not a good idea as it will put extra pressure on your backbone and it is also a possibility that your uterus compresses an important vain due to which blood flow to your heart will be substantially decreased. On the other hand, sleeping too long on your right side is going to put great pressure on your liver.
If you find it difficult to lie on your left side for long, we suggest that you keep yourself partly tilted to either left or right side, which one makes you feel more relaxed and comfortable. You may also place a pregnancy pillow or cushion under your hips, back or upper leg to make sleeping and lying on the bed more comfortable.
Let’s Talk About the Ultrasound at 18 Weeks Pregnant:
If you haven’t had your second-trimester ultrasound, 18 weeks and 20 weeks are the most important ones to get it done so as to ensure that baby is growing as expected. Ultrasound is perhaps the most important process that is to be followed throughout your pregnancy right from day one and at every visit your gynecologist will inform you about the next ultrasound date. Never skip that date as it is important to be aware of every change that occurs in your womb. If you feel slightest pain anywhere around your belly, get an ultrasound done to be sure that all is well down there.
Ultrasound is a pain-free procedure that informs you and your doctor about the baby’s growth process, if there are any birth defects or issues related to umbilical cord (sometimes babies get too active and tie the cord around their neck while playing with it which can be very dangerous) and placenta (sometimes mother-to-be don’t pay attention that the amniotic fluids are leaking out due to a rupture in the amniotic sac). This is why, you need to get ultrasound done almost every month. Also, by analyzing your ultrasound results, the doctor will be able to suggest the probable due date of delivery and even inform you if you are carrying one baby or more.
At 18 weeks pregnant ultrasound, you can view your baby sucking the thumb, yawning, frowning and even moving/kicking/rolling/punching. Fingerprints are somewhat complete by now and heart also has formed completely. So, expect to see various cardiovascular structures at this week’s ultrasound. Baby’s taste buds and other senses have matured considerably (almost completely) so he can use his ears and grip the umbilical cord easily. Inner ear bones and the nerves that connect the brain with the ear have also formed so hearing loud noises won’t be an issue for the baby. He can hear sounds of your heartbeat, blood rushing to and from the heart and if the womb had light, he would have seen it too.
You will find that the baby is sitting in a much more erect position than you noticed in your previous ultrasounds. This happens because the baby’s visceral organs like the liver and heart are maturing rapidly and he has developed around 200 bones by now, which are becoming harder and stronger. Therefore, he can easily sit now in whichever position he wants to. At the time of birth, the baby will be having 300 bones but most of these will fuse with the passage of time and as he becomes an adult, he will be having no more than 206 bones.
18 weeks pregnant ultrasound is also called mid-pregnancy scan or Anomaly Scan. It is considered the most important ultrasound that is usually done between 18-21 weeks.
Take Great Care:
When you are 18 weeks pregnant, you will feel fluttery sensation in or around pelvis region, which is called quickening. You will also feel pain and stretching feeling in your legs, tailbone and other muscles, which happen due to the expansion of your uterus and growth of belly. You are required to take foods and medications that provide you the necessary level of iron and calcium so as to facilitate your baby’s appropriate growth and prevent you from getting too weak or develop certain deficiencies.
Your baby bump is much noticeable now and muscles and ligaments are getting relaxed now making it extra strenuous for your backbone. Therefore, you have got to take great care of yourself at this stage and throughout pregnancy. You can try exercising in water, join back care classes or get pregnancy massage to ease the pain. Or, you may consult a physiotherapist if your doctor advises you to.
Have a happy and healthy pregnancy!