Fingerprints are done now, and each tiny finger and toe has its own unique design. The protection around your baby’s nerves, called myelin, is forming now and will continue to develop until your baby is one. If your baby is a girl, she now has a uterus and fallopian tubes. If you’re having a boy, his genitals will be visible at your next ultrasound, unless he decides to be ornery and hide them from you.
18 weeks pregnant is how many months?
You’ve finally made it to the fifth month of pregnancy. You just passed the four-month marker and you’re getting close to halfway through. If your baby decides to come at the early end of your 37 to 42-week pregnancy, then you are already halfway through. You may already be thinking about gift ideas for grandparents or sending baby shower invitations.
Your Baby at 18 Weeks
Your baby can yawn now, but you’re undoubtedly tired, too. Anytime now you’ll be able to feel his first kicks, punches, rolls, and twists. You may also soon feel some hiccups, which is common in utero and completely adorable.
Your baby’s nervous system is continuing to mature, and while you won’t see it on the ultrasound, you’ll quickly learn he is preparing for when he is born. His brain can communicate with all the nerves in his body to develop his five senses.
His hearing is now much more acute, and he can discern noises from inside your uterus, so it’s a great time to begin talking to him, singing to him, or including him in your conversations, even though he won’t understand what you’re saying.
How big is a baby at 18 weeks?
Your baby is the same length as a cucumber now at 22 centimetres long and 223 grams. You can feel your sweet potato sized uterus if you push down on the top of it right above your pelvis.
Your Body at 18 Weeks
You look pregnant now. Your bump may be bigger or smaller than others, but no matter what, it’s normal. Along with your growing uterus, your back is taking the brunt of the work, and you may be in pain every day. Your lower back is being pulled forward while your belly is starting to stick out, and your posture is changing.
Take warm baths, stretch, do yoga, get a footrest, and talk to your practitioner if the pain gets unbearable.
Heartburn may continue to be a struggle for you, so keep the Tums close. They’re a good source of calcium, and they should help ease your acid. Make sure you eat slowly, chewing your food thoroughly to avoid aggravation.
Eating smaller meals more often will help, too. Prop up your head at night if you struggle with heartburn when you lie down.
One of the most exciting symptoms of pregnancy will begin to show up this week, so keep an eye out for fetal movement. You’ll start to feel those little butterfly kicks anytime between this week and a few weeks from now.
Leg cramps are a common pregnancy symptom as your belly gets bigger. It puts a strain on your ligaments and nerves, which can cause decreased circulation. Dehydration can also play a big part in leg cramps, so drink plenty of water and stretch your legs out before bed.
Feet and ankle swelling are common as gravity pulls all those extra fluids you’re producing to the bottom of your body. Especially after being on your feet for a long time, you may notice this edema more, so make sure you take frequent breaks and elevate your legs when you can.
If you are starting to notice stretch marks, you can ask your partner to rub lotion on your feet, legs, or belly to give you a good massage and help gradually stretch out your skin to minimize their appearance.
During this phase of pregnancy, your body releases relaxin, which is a hormone that loosens the ligaments holding your bones together. You may experience loose teeth, a sore pelvis, and noticeably bigger feet. This is helping your hips widen and prepare for childbirth, so it’s not pleasant, but necessary.
Tips/Things to do
Your dizziness is normal, but make sure you lie down if you need a break and don’t change positions quickly. Be careful with fast movements to protect you and your baby from trips and falls.
Now’s the perfect time to start interviewing pediatricians if you don’t already have one in mind. Ask questions like appointment availability, vaccines, circumcision, or hospital affiliations. If you want to give birth at the hospital down the street instead of across town, this is an important detail to get right.
Make sure you are still getting enough iron. Eat red meat, soy, beans, barley, dried fruits, and oat bran. Even with all of that, you still may not be getting enough, so take an iron supplement or make sure your prenatal vitamin has sufficient supply.
Pregnancy may leave you with very few options when it comes to medication. Even still, be careful with herbal supplements since you now share your body with someone else. These products aren’t tested or approved, and they don’t go through clinical trials like the approved medications you find at the drugstore.
They could be dangerous for your baby, even if they’re safe for you.
Do continue to work out but avoid movements that require you to lay on your back or hang upside down. Also avoid anything that’s high impact like jumping, anything that has you stretching out your belly too much, like backbends, or anything that requires you to twist rapidly, like jerky dancing. If it hurts, stop doing it.
The best thing you can do right now is get excited about those tiny kicks coming your way, anytime between now and 22 weeks. You may begin to feel tiny flutters in your belly, or you may suddenly feel a giant punch or elbow to your abdomen.
If this is your first baby, what feels like gas bubbles may now actually be your baby’s movements.
About The Author
Kids, chai latte’s, blueberry muffins, and reading way too many books… That pretty much sums up Louise. She’s also passionate about giving back to the community, in this case through this site, finding and answering questions about parenting.