18 weeks pregnant: what can I expect?
Even though your baby would have started moving when you were seven weeks pregnant, you wouldn’t have felt it. If you are a first time mum, this week will be the first time you start to feel your baby’s movements. This is the week you have been waiting for since you saw the pregnancy sticks turn pink.
At first your baby’s movements feel like a light flutter. This sensation is also known as quickening. These flutters are slight and you can miss it if you are busy and distracted. As your pregnancy progresses your baby’s movements are going to get stronger. That’s when you will feel what can be described as the baby’s kicks.
Physical changes in you at week 18
- From now on, when you go for your antenatal checkups your doctor or your midwife will measure your fundal height (fundus) with a measuring tape. You might go what exactly is fundus? It’s the height from the top of your uterus to the top of your pubic bone. This height is used to assess your baby’s health in the womb. Your fundal height should roughly equal the number of weeks your pregnancy has progressed.
- By week 18 your uterus will be the size of a rock melon. You can feel your uterus just below your belly button.
- One of the downsides of pregnancy along with additional weight gain is the appearance of stretch marks. These marks will depend on the tone and elasticity of your skin. To prevent stretch marks use creams with cocoa butter or vitamin E. You can make applying creams on your skin a fun routine by asking your partner to massage them.
- You might not believe your partner when he says you have started snoring these days. By week 18 your nasal passages would have swollen causing you to snore every night. This usually passes away after you have given birth to your baby. To control this night snoring you can sleep on your side rather than your back. Another option is to buy nasal strips from your local pharmacist to clear nasal airways.
- After all the morning sickness and tiredness of first trimester has passed you might start eating like you haven’t eaten in years. No food will be safe from you. You won’t be able to control yourself. Increased appetite during pregnancy is because your baby is growing and demanding nourishment from you. Stick to healthy eating choices when you feel like binge eating. Avoid eating brownies, pizza or other junk food. Fill yourself up with food that will make you feel full for longer.
- As your baby grows, your heart will work harder to pump more blood to your uterus. The volume of blood increases by 50 percent during your pregnancy.
Emotional changes in you at week 18
- If you had been feeling moody in the past weeks, this week you will feel excited about your pregnancy. Your pregnancy will have started to feel more real and the baby’s movements will cheer you up.
- You might find yourself talking to the baby. You will have developed a special bond with your baby which no one will be aware of. Don’t be afraid to do what you feel like. If you want to sing to your baby go right ahead and sing.
- By week 18 you might want to plan about your labor. Deciding if you want epidural or where you want to deliver are all things you will want to think about now.
How’s my baby doing?
- You baby will now measure around 14.2 centimeters long when measured from head to bottom.
- Now that all your baby’s vital organs have developed, your baby’s body will now focus on increasing its weight and size.
- Your baby’s hearing would have become acute, now that its ears have developed. It can even hear your voice.
- Your doctor will do an ultrasound at this time to check your baby’s development. The doctor will want to make sure your baby’s organs are healthy and functioning properly.
Useful tips for you this week
- If you are enjoying that occasional wine, it’s time to give it up. You are risking the health of your baby by indulging in alcoholic drinks. Problems caused by alcohol during pregnancy are well documented. Switch to healthier options like cranberry juice.
- Check with your doctor if you need to bring a CD to tape the ultrasound or will they provide one. You can add this CD to your collection of pregnancy memories.
- If you are starting to feel forgetful it’s a good idea to maintain a journal. You can refer to your journal to ask questions to your doctor or midwife as and when you remember.