18 Weeks Pregnant

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At 18 weeks pregnant, your baby is now growing at a monumental pace. She is in a phase of constant development that is critical for her future health. Below advice is not only on how to take care of your child during this week but to ensure that your health is also being well taken care of.

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Mommy Matters

You may feel your baby move for the very first time from this point. These early movements are known as “quickening” and can feel like a fluttery sensation.

Your uterus will be noticeable and seem fairly large to you. It is time to regularly wear those maternity clothes! Additionally, you might be getting heartburn. This is in part due to your fluctuating hormones, which causes the relaxation of stomach muscles (meaning that you can feel the acid in your windpipe). As such, you might feel a burning sensation in your chest quite often. This might, unfortunately, increase if your bump gets bigger, as it further presses on your stomach.

If you feel like heartburn is getting too severe, indigestion and heartburn medicines can help soothe the pain. You can also try eating smaller meals more regularly to not give your stomach too hard of a time.

At 18 weeks pregnant, dizziness and feeling faint is completely normal. These issues are not something to worry about unless they happen frequently, in which case you might have “Postural hypotension”. This is a condition where you have low blood pressure. It happens frequently in pregnancy because your cardiovascular system cannot respond quickly.

Baby Watch

Your baby has started to look like a human. Facial features are well formed and unique fingerprints have begun to form. Though the eyelids are still shut, the eyeballs can move from side to side.

Your child is now able to flex her limbs and she will constantly move around this week. Some body parts like her ears are finally resting in their ‘final’ position, and her translucent skin shows blood vessels busy supplying vital nutrients throughout her tiny body.

A protective covering known as myelin is beginning to develop around her nerves, a phenomenon which will continue up to a year after her birth. If she is a girl, her uterus and fallopian tubes are fully formed, even though they will not be in use for many years. If you’re having a boy, his genitals are noticeable, but still possibly be undetectable from an ultrasound.

Baby Weight and Size

At 18 weeks pregnant, your baby measures around 6 inches (15.3 cm) long from crown to rump! Her weight is now around 240 grams (8-1/2 oz), just about the size of a heirloom tomato.

Infographic

18 Weeks Pregnant Infographic

18 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms and Remedies

On a more positive note, the constant kicking of your baby might make you smile once or twice. At 18 weeks pregnant, these kicks will now feel a lot stronger compared to earlier, where it might have simply felt like butterflies flying around in your stomach. Some moms see the first kicks as a confirmation that there really is a baby growing in there. Since many of your baby’s movements are still too faint for you to feel, you might go a day without noticing anything and then feel several kicks and movements the next day.

[pullquote-right]As your belly becomes ever more prominent, you may attract comments on your appearance and people may want to touch your belly. It is fine to ask people not to.[/pullquote-right]Several mothers at this point of their pregnancy are about to go for the third prenatal visit. In this visit, you may have to undergo a regular or a level II sonogram. Well, it is nothing to worry about; it simply is an ultrasound that looks at a particular part of the baby’s development. For example, it allows your doctor to see the chambers of her heart.

Furthermore, you will also have an Alpha-Fetoprotein Test (AFP) or Maternal Serum Alpha-Fetoprotein Screening (MSAFP) during this visit. MSAFP is a screening test that examines the level of alpha-fetoprotein in the mother’s blood. The AFP test is used to detect and diagnose any possible cancers. It is often during these tests where the doctor assesses whether further diagnostic testing may be needed.

Tips and To Do’s

Napping away

Naps will become more and more vital during this stage of your pregnancy. If you are already a mother, take advantage of the silence when your other children are napping. If your children are older and no longer take naps, take an hour or two off in the afternoon. Sleep is important for your health. Of course, if this is your first child, you are probably napping away whenever you can!

If you are working, try not to stress too much and nap when you can. This might be in your own private office (just shut the door for a while) or (even) in a conference room (if your boss is cooperative). Just set an alarm so you do not oversleep!

Anatomy Scan

Your anatomy scan (ultrasound) takes place around this time, so think ahead as to whether or not you want to discover your baby’s sex.

Avoid high heels

Your changing shape and size means your center of gravity shifts, and you may feel a little wobbly. It may be time to put your high heels aside.

Role of Dad

The mother-to-be will, during these weeks, be well aware of the strain of growing and nourishing the little one inside her. If she is caring or working for others, try to help out and remember that she may get some time for herself every day (just to get a grip on things).

The importance of having some stress-free time alone cannot be overstated, so you can ensure that she is having the easiest pregnancy possible. Once she is relaxed, she may use the time to meditate, sleep, bathe, or exercise, further improving the health of both her and the baby growing inside.

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