Week 18 of Your Pregnancy
Between 18 and 20 weeks, you will have an ultrasound to check your baby’s development. This is called a fetal anomaly or morphology scan. It checks the size of the baby and measures physical features including the heart, brain, spine and kidneys.
PREGNANCY WEEK 18
Your Body at Week 18 of Your Pregnancy
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.
You might feel something different in your tummy, it is possible that you may be starting to feel your baby’s movements in the womb! But don’t worry if you haven’t felt anything — it may take a few more weeks for you to identify those first kicks.
Bloating and Gas
Progesterone causes bloating, burping and passing gas. It causes the smooth muscle tissue in the gastrointestinal tract to relax. This slows down digestion, which can cause you to feel bloated. Your expanding uterus places increasing pressure on your rectum, which can disrupt muscle control and lead to the passing of gas.
These are spasms in your calves, which you may usually feel in the night time. Try to stretch your calves before going to bed, it may help relieve some pain.
Pregnancy hormones cause gum inflammation, making them more susceptible to bacteria, irritation and bleeding. While this is normal, it’s important to keep flossing and brushing regularly. Also see the dentist at least once during pregnancy to avoid gum disease.
Swelling in Feet and Ankles
During pregnancy your body tissues accumulate excess fluid that is needed to support you and your baby, this may cause swelling in your ankles and feet. Because fluid tends to pool in the feet due to gravity. Reduce water retention in your feet by avoiding standing or sitting for long periods of time — and try to keep your legs elevated when you can. Also keep yourself hydrated.
You may start seeing stretch marks around this time of your pregnancy. Many women get stretch marks, it maybe due to genetics, it may be due to rapid weight gain. Keep the area well moisturised with a pregnancy safe cream, butter or oil and keep yourself well hydrated. Try to not scratch as it may worsen the skin.
Many women have stuffy nose during their pregnancy and this is again due to hormones and increased blood volume. But, if you have a fever, coughing, sore throat, then it's probably a cold or another infection. Talk to your doctor, and eat foods high in vitamin C.
As your belly gets bigger, your lower back curves more than usual to accommodate the load, resulting in strained back muscles. Try to soothe these sore muscles by getting a prenatal massage, even from your partner, or taking a warm bath or shower.
Heartburn and Indigestion
If you’ve got a burning sensation from the depths of your stomach to your mouth after you eat, then you’ve got pregnancy-induced indigestion and heartburn. Avoid heartburn triggers like spicy or fatty foods and caffeinated drinks and ask your doctor about pregnancy-safe heartburn remedies.
Fainting and Dizziness
This is a common symptom during the second trimester and is most likely due to normal pregnancy-related cardiovascular changes (a higher heart rate, bigger blood vessels to accommodate an increased blood volume, and temporary changes in circulation). Dehydration can also cause dizziness, so make sure you stay hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day — aim to drink more than that if you’ve been exercising.
Headaches are a common pregnancy symptom. You may be able to avoid them by eating small meals frequently, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, exercising, practicing relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga, and getting a prenatal massage. Do not take any medicine without consulting your doctor.
Appetite and Food Cravings
During the second trimester most women find relief from nausea and food aversions and start to feel like to eat, finally. This is a good thing.
Starting in the second trimester, your baby's getting bigger and bigger, and consequently, you should be too. Your growing baby is demanding more nourishment. Listen to your hunger pangs and eat when you need to; try to choose foods that fill you up and meet your nutrient needs, like high-fiber grains, produce and lean protein. Aim for slow and steady weight gain, around 2 kgs each month on average, but again it depends on your medical condition and pre pregnancy weight.
Your body has kind of adjusted to your pregnancy, and you may start to feel less tired and more energetic.
While your breasts are still growing and changing — for instance, your areolas are probably darker and your nipples may be on “high alert” — they may not feel as achy as they did in your first trimester.
Hormones relax your bowel muscles, so they are not that efficient in moving the waste products out from your body. Add high-fiber foods to your diet, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with plenty of fluids, too.
You may notice veins crisscrossing their way across your belly and breasts, this is due to increased blood supply. These veins are doing the important work of taking nutrients and blood to your baby. They will gradually disappear.
Your brain-cell volume actually decreases during pregnancy. Pregnancy-induced brain fog is a fact. You may forget stuff that you had no problem remembering earlier, like maybe why you walked in the kitchen, where you placed your keys and so on. Don't worry it will get better on its own.
Round Ligament Pain
The ligaments on the right and left side of your lower belly are stretching out and getting thinner. As your belly gets heavier, the weight pulls on the ligaments, causing sharp or dull pain — especially when you walk or turn to the side. Try to take some rest whenever you can.
Your vision may seem blurrier and your eyes drier. Vision changes are common during pregnancy. Pregnancy changes in hormones, metabolism, fluid retention, and blood circulation can all affect your eyes and eyesight. These changes are usually minor and will go away after you have your baby. Sometimes vision changes can be caused by a more serious condition, though, so talk to your doctor if you have blurry vision, double vision, temporary loss of vision, or anything else unusual.
Mild itching is a normal pregnancy skin problem. You may feel it around your breasts and belly where the skin is stretching a lot. Sometimes eczema worsens during pregnancy, also making for itchiness. For relief, try applying an ice pack or a cold compress to the itchy area, moisturize using a safe cream, butter or oil. Call your doctor if you're very itchy or if you develop a new rash.
Pregnancy dreams are weird and strange, this is again due to hormones and intense emotions. Vivid dreams, sex dreams, and nightmares are all normal. Reflecting on your dreams can give you information about your emotional state. But don't worry too much about it.
Your Baby at Week 18 of Your Pregnancy
How big is my baby?
Your baby weighs about 200g and has grown to about 14cm. They have eyebrows, hair and fingernails.
The baby can yawn and hiccup. Their nervous system is developing and a layer of myelin is growing to cover their nerve cells. Their bowel is filling with meconium, which will become their first poop.
Your baby is moving around a lot by now. You might notice this as little 'bubbles' or 'flutters' in your stomach, and it's known as the ‘quickening’. The baby will probably rest at times when you are active, so you’re more likely to feel them when you’re lying still at night.
If you can’t feel your baby’s movements yet, don’t worry – you might not feel anything for another couple of weeks.
Your Baby's Face
Your baby's ears, nose, and lips are all recognizable on an ultrasound. Eyelids, eyebrows, eyelashes, nails, and hair are formed, too!
Your Baby's Genitals
If you're having a girl, her uterus and fallopian tubes are formed and in place. If you're having a boy, his genitals are visible now.
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