Welcome to the 18th week of your pregnancy journey. Wow! Those have been a crazy couple of weeks, right? You can feel all of these new things that were not happening two weeks ago! You can now feel your baby moving, you can even choose to see him even closer with an anomaly scan!
You might be feeling like an emotional rollercoaster at this point. You might feel happy, sad, nervous or you might even feel it all at once!
On the other hand, though, your baby has now formed his very own fingerprints all over those teeny tiny toes and fingers. Your baby’s nerve protection is also under construction right now and will continue to be that way till a year after he is born.
At this stage, it is surely confirmed if it is a boy or a girl! For those who choose to know, if you are having a girl, her uterus is in its right place now. And if you are having a boy, his genitals are completely formed and can be visible on the next ultrasound you have scheduled.
Changes Happening in Your Body by Your 18th Week
By this week, you are having a bigger belly than you used to have a few weeks ago, you might not be used to it yet and could feel a bit clumsy to move around carrying that bump! Your breasts have probably become bigger too, especially if it is your first pregnancy.
Your blood pressure could be a bit low by now, so make sure not to stand up too quickly to avoid any dizziness. Your baby did not use to move around as much as he is right now, he is now doing some rolling and bubbling inside your womb, you were not able to feel this a few weeks ago, now you can tell which is a punch and which is a kick!
You might also see a line forming down your belly, this line is called linea nigra or black line. No need to worry about it though as it is only a normal skin pigmentation and it usually fades away a few months after the baby is born.
Your doctor will be able to offer you an anomaly scan by the 18th week. This scan is good for spotting anything unusual in your baby as it looks at your baby in detail so it can identify if the baby is in a good condition.
The anomaly scan does not hurt your baby or you at all, however, it could feel a bit unsettling as the doctor will have to apply some pressure on your belly to get the best possible view of the baby.
The Baby’s Gender
Not all mothers and fathers wish to know the gender of their baby, for those who choose to know the gender, the sonographer will be able to tell you at this scan. Keep in mind that the hospital policy on revealing the gender varies from one hospital to another, so, in case you do not want to know the gender, make sure to state it before you start the scan.
Symptoms of the 18th Week of Pregnancy
At this stage, you should not be feeling any pain or agony with your pregnancy, it should be all mostly smooth and joyful, in case it was not comfortable or you have started feeling some severe symptoms, do not hesitate to speak to your doctor about it.
Some symptoms of the 18th week of pregnancy include:
- Sore breasts
- Leg cramps
- Stretch marks
- Thicker hair
- Swollen gums
- Urine infection
- Bloating or constipation
- Spotty skin
- Feeling too warm
- Greasier skin
- Shinier hair
Your Baby’s 18th Week Development
Your baby is now about 14.2cm in length from head to toe and weighs around 190g. He has done a lot of growing, right? He is now the same size as a boneless chicken breast. Your baby is now big enough for you to feel her rolling and kicking and punching, if not yet, you will start feeling it really soon.
And for the highlight of your baby’s week, he can now yawn! He is now a master at yawning alongside with hiccuping. You will feel all of those movements very soon. Some women are lucky to catch some of those adorable moments on the scan when you are closing up to his face.
Your baby’s reflexes are also rapidly developing these weeks and soon all of the other senses will be mastered too, like hearing, swallowing, feeling, sucking. They will also be busy doing a lot of dances in there, rolling and wriggling around with their teeny hands and feet.
This Week’s Tips
Be Careful of the Dizziness
Feeling dizzy at this stage of pregnancy is normal, as the progesterone is increasing the blood flow to your baby which results in you having lower blood pressure and less blood flow to your brain. Which eventually causes the dizziness feeling.
To help prevent the dizziness, try not to move around too quickly or move your position from sitting to standing too quickly either.
Find a Good Pediatrician
This is a good time for you to start looking for a good pediatrician for your baby when he is finally here. Interview the pediatricians and ask them plenty of questions about their availability and their vaccines to make sure you have everything set and ready for when your baby arrives.
Eat Plenty of Iron-Rich Meals
You will need to get a sufficient amount of iron in your diet, even meat-eaters might not get enough iron from their food. You can find more iron in foods such as spinach, oat bran, pumpkin seeds, soy products, and dried fruits.
If those are not enough and still your iron stores are low, you might need to take some supplements to make sure you are meeting the daily needs.