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Week 18 of Pregnancy: All You Need to Know

Baby Development|Body & Life Changes|Your Doctor Visits|Health & Safety
Week 18 of Pregnancy: All You Need to Know

You’re almost halfway there! During your 18th week of pregnancy, your baby bump is growing and your baby is developing fast. You’ve already gone through so much, and there are many more exciting things to expect during your pregnancy journey, especially now that you’re in the second trimester.

Baby Development

You are well within the second trimester when you reach the 18th week of pregnancy. Your baby and your body will undergo some significant changes during this period which you should be aware of. This article will give you some ideas of what you need to know to get ready for this week.

18th Week of Pregnancy: Baby Development

Your baby is undergoing a lot of changes during the 18th week of pregnancy. And right now, they are about the size of a potato. Don’t worry, your baby is bound to have a growth spurt eventually. Here are some of the developments that the small one will go through during this week:

  • This week your little baby is developing fingerprints. Fingerprints are unique characteristics of each individual so that is a very significant development.
  • Your baby’s digestive system is developing quickly during this period. Your baby is swallowing amniotic fluid while in your belly. That will mix with dead cells in your baby’s digestive system and will come out with the first bowel movement after birth.
  • This is also the period when your baby’s ears will start to stand out from the side of the head. The ears might even detect sound during this period.
  • Your baby’s gall bladder might start to work during this week.

Those are just some of the changes that your baby may undergo during the 18th week of pregnancy. Now, it’s time to look into the changes that a mother’s body will experience during this period.

Body & Life Changes

Like your baby, you can expect several changes to occur to your body during this period. Here are some of the most crucial changes that you can expect:

  1. You can expect to feel your baby moving around inside your belly. There is no specific time for this to start. This might happen on the 18th week of pregnancy or earlier if this is not your first pregnancy. It may also happen later so don’t be alarmed if you don’t feel the little one moving around inside you.
  2. You may start feeling a bit lightheaded during this stage. The circulatory system of your body is changing rapidly at this point, with the blood vessels expanding. This can cause your blood pressure to go down. As the supply of blood to your head is reduced, you could start feeling lightheaded.
  3. It is also normal for your feet to become larger during this period. There are two main reasons for your feet to become larger. The first reason is edema which is water being retained in the feet. The second is the release of hormones which releases the ligaments of your body including your feet.
  4. You can also experience some dizzy spells, especially when you try to get up. It’s mostly caused by the fact that your heart is working 50% harder than before your pregnancy. Just rest and try not to make movements that are too sudden to prevent this.
  5. This is also the period when you might feel leg cramps at night. Stay hydrated and try to stretch your legs before you go to bed at night.
  6. Because of the changes to your abdomen, you might start to feel some back pain.

Your Doctor Visits

Visits to your doctor are very crucial during pregnancy. You have to do it regularly, and on your 18th week of pregnancy, there are some specific things that you need to ask your doctor.

You should ask your doctor about the position of your baby and how it is moving during this stage. If there is none scheduled yet, then you need to schedule an ultrasound at this period.

Health & Safety

You have to be extra careful regarding your health and your safety during your pregnancy. Keep in mind that you are not just caring for yourself during this period but for your baby as well.

Here are a few safety and health tips that you should take note:

  1. Make sure that you have a healthy diet, one that is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which is crucial in the development of your baby’s nervous system. Salmon and other types of fishes are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, although there are vegetarian sources of it as well.
  2. Because your baby is growing at a rapid pace, you would have to keep up with the added demand for nutrients. This is why you need to increase your calorie intake during this stage of the pregnancy. Ask your doctor or a nutritionist about the best way that you can increase your calorie intake without compromising your health.
  3. At this point, you might be tired of hearing all kinds of pregnancy tips. Some if not most of those are unsolicited. Not all the pregnancy tips that you will be getting are true and helpful. It’s best to stick to what your doctor tells you and what you get from authoritative sources.

These are just some of the things that you ought to know in connection with your 18th week of pregnancy. The important thing is for you to stay safe and healthy during and after pregnancy. Remember, you’re not just taking care of yourself. Any action that you take during this stage will have an effect on you and your baby’s future.

Hello Health Group does not offer any advice, diagnosis, or medical treatment.

Learn more about Pregnancy here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

18 Weeks Pregnant, https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/week-18.aspx, Accessed June 8, 2021

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/documents/fasdbrochure_final.pdf, Accessed June 8, 2021

Sex Begins in the Womb, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK222286/, Accessed June 8, 2021

Galled by the Gallbladder? https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2015/02/galled-gallbladder, Accessed June 8, 2021

18 Weeks Pregnant, https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/2nd-trimester/week-18/, Accessed June 8, 2021

Pregnancy Visual Timeline, https://www.webmd.com/baby/interactive-pregnancy-tool-fetal-development?week=18

18 Weeks Pregnant, https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/week-18.aspx, Accessed June 8, 2021

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/documents/fasdbrochure_final.pdf, Accessed June 8, 2021

Sex Begins in the Womb, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK222286/, Accessed June 8, 2021

Galled by the Gallbladder? https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2015/02/galled-gallbladder, Accessed June 8, 2021

18 Weeks Pregnant, https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/2nd-trimester/week-18/, Accessed June 8, 2021

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Written by Tracey Romero on May 05, 2020
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