After a brief period of feeling great, week eighteen of pregnancy might be a letdown. Do you wake up to aches, dizziness, itchiness, heartburn and more these days? By the way, what did you think about our week 17 article?
The next big ultrasound could lift your mood. In addition, knowing you could feel your baby kick anytime soon is equally joy-inducing!
Discover what’s happening inside your womb with us as we delve into the facts about pregnancy, body changes, and life with a baby.
Looking for self-care tips, too? We’ve also got you covered with advice to survive pregnancy’s ups and downs. Don’t have time to read? Skip ahead to our FAQ section.
Here’s what’s happening this week.
At a Glance: Week Eighteen of Pregnancy
- Your sweet baby’s grown to the size of a sweet red pepper, measuring up to 14 centimetres and weighing between 180 and 190 grams. They haven’t grown significantly in a week, but don’t worry; plenty of development is underway.
- Are you feeling heavy, achy, sore, or dizzy? Some pregnancy symptoms are back, and your belly might be noticeably bigger. For many, these well-defined bumps are unmistakable signs of a baby growing inside the womb.
- What should you put on the agenda for this week? Even with a lot on your plate, focus on yourself. Delegate tasks, like scheduling antenatal classes or performing household tasks, to others.
- The next big ultrasound is coming up! We explain what to expect.
Week Eighteen of Pregnancy Overview
Week eighteen could mark a turning point in the second trimester. You might feel worn down, dizzy, and experience other pregnancy discomforts. And while these and other symptoms grow more prevalent, report any worrying concerns to your GP.
Although your baby’s physical growth has plateaued slightly this week, there’s a lot of development in play, which you can read about below.
In addition, their facial features are defined and can be differentiated on an ultrasound. If your child is a girl, their fallopian tubes and uterus are fully established by week 18. Parents of baby boys might glimpse their 18-week-old son’s pecker on an ultrasound.
With your scheduled baby scan and the possibility of quickening increasing, the bond with your unborn baby might solidify this week.
Baby Size and Latest Developments for Week Eighteen of Pregnancy
- Your baby is the size of a sweet pepper, having grown a few millimetres in a week. It might not seem like much, but your baby’s developing right before your eyes.
- Your future son or daughter has been moving a lot lately. Anticipate feelings of quickening soon.
- Add yawning to the list of things your baby does, which also include swallowing, sucking, and making faces.
- As the nervous system develops and forms more complex connections, fetal senses, especially taste and hearing, are slowly refining. Tastebuds start to distinguish between bitter and sweet flavours while their sense of hearing gradually improves. Did you know that your baby can hear a limited range of sounds inside the body and externally? They may even react to sudden noises.
- If you have an ultrasound this week, you could find out the sex of your baby, with their reproductive organs formed and potentially visible.
Because every pregnancy is unique, the above description generalises fetal development. Variations in the timing of milestones can occur.
Body Changes for Week Eighteen of Pregnancy
Some pregnancy symptoms might cause greater discomfort as you move toward your due date. Women commonly feel aches and pains in the abdomen, lower back, and pelvis, dizziness, hands and feet swelling, and more at this time.
Here’s a roundup of many symptoms experienced in the second trimester.
It’s important to note that all pregnancies are unique. The timing and experiences of pregnancy symptoms may vary.
1. Dizziness and Fainting
Many pregnant women feel dizzy or faint due to the possibility of low blood pressure. This can be concerning because the risk of fainting may lead to falling. As you may have guessed, hormones are a common culprit responsible for low blood pressure. These hormones widen and relax blood vessels, ensuring continuous blood flow to your baby. While this is beneficial for your baby, it also means reduced flow back to you, potentially leading to insufficient blood delivered to the brain and the increased danger of fainting and falling over.
Chat with your doctor if low blood pressure is causing fainting and other troublesome symptoms.
2. Persistent Heartburn
Although your appetite is back, unrelenting heartburn might stop you from eating your favourite foods. If you’re sensitive to heartburn, check our tips section for preventing and managing heartburn.
3. Swollen Hands and Feet
Vital for you and your baby, your body retains more water during pregnancy, causing possible swelling in your hands, feet and ankles. Oedema or swelling is considered a standard pregnancy response, but the onset shouldn’t be sudden or severe.
Like many other pregnancy symptoms, hands and feet swelling can be attributed to a combination of factors, like hormone changes, increased blood volume flowing through the body, and a growing uterus putting pressure on blood vessels.
4. Leg Cramping
Do leg spasms or involuntary muscle contractions wake you up repeatedly? Leg cramping, aptly named nocturnal leg cramping, might affect your beauty sleep but is normal for the second trimester. Doctors don’t know why leg cramping occurs precisely, but it could be linked to blood circulation problems, mineral imbalances, nerve pressure, etc.
5. Clumsiness and Accident Prone
The thought of falling and hurting your baby during pregnancy is truly terrifying. But how can you prevent tumbles with pregnancy wreaking havoc on your balance and coordination? Read on for ideas to keep you out of harm’s way.
6. Aches and Pains
Leg cramping might not be the only pain you’re experiencing. The expansion of your uterus and your growing baby can cause you pain in the pelvis, back, and abdomen. Pregnancy headaches are also normal for this period, often linked to stress and poor sleep, among other things.
Most instances of bodily pain during pregnancy won’t harm your baby, but anything debilitating or accompanied by worrying symptoms should addressed with a visit to the doctor.
Week Eighteen Pregnancy Tips and Tricks
While second-trimester symptoms aren’t ideal, you can manage them while tackling your to-do list. Here’s how to keep them in check while getting your home and world baby ready.
1. Avoid Sudden Movements
Standing or sitting too quickly triggers dizziness or feeling faint while pregnant. Therefore, don’t rush to get out of bed or stand up from the couch.
This also extends physical activity. If your workouts include quick, sharp actions, you might consider modifying your exercise regime and opting for gentler training or classes.
2. Relieving and Preventing Heartburn
Dealing with heartburn around the clock can be physically and mentally draining. Fortunately, you can alleviate your suffering in the following ways:
Modify Your Diet and Eat Less, More Often.
Identify the trigger foods responsible for fueling the fire in your chest, which may include citrus, onions, spicy foods, fried food and tomato-based meals.
Another strategy is switching from three big meals daily to multiple smaller ones. In addition, adopt a slower eating pace and chew your food well. By inhaling your food and not taking breaks between bites, more air gets into your stomach, worsening heartburn symptoms.
Exclude Caffeine and Alcohol and Drinking Water Only Between Meals
If you’re still guzzling coffee, reduce your intake to the recommended minimum or cut it out. Good job if you’re staying hydrated, but avoid drinking water with food because a full stomach can offset heartburn. Additionally, be mindful about consuming alcohol – not only does it excarberate heartburn, but it’s also a proven harmful substance for your baby. Simply put, don’t drink during pregnancy.
Smart Eating and Nighttime Activities
Avoid drinking tea or snacking before bed, especially within a few hours of hitting the hay.
Additionally, refrain from napping on the couch after eating because post-dinner snoozes are another surefire way of developing heartburn. To avoid this, sit upright to stay awake.
Once you’re in bed, elevate yourself with a few pillows to prevent flare-ups in the night.
The intensity of heartburn can vary. If you experience it severely, consult with your provider about medications you can take for relief, like pregnancy-safe antacids.
3. Avoid Herbal Supplements
You might consider exploring alternative therapy and natural supplements to help you overcome aches, pains and stress, especially since medications that pregnant women can use are limited.
But are these products and procedures safe? Although complementary therapy, like acupuncture, massages and more, relieves many pregnancy woes, you might want to consult your medical provider first. In addition, exercise caution with herbal supplements, as these might be unregulated, while some may use active ingredients that pose risks to your unborn fetus.
4. Coping With Clumsiness
Do you find yourself tripping over nothing and constantly dropping your keys? The further you get into your pregnancy, the clumsier you might start to feel or become. Being a clutz might be annoying and even funny, but the potential consequences of falling is no joke.
Although it might feel like your body isn’t connected to your brain sometimes, avoid falling during pregnancy with the following.
Watch Your Step
Slipping after washing up in the shower is common for everyone. The stakes are undoubtedly higher for pregnant women with a changing centre of gravity. Watch your footing while exiting the shower. Consider placing a bathroom mat or towel underfoot to absorb water run-off.
This precaution also applies to walking over icy and uneven surfaces – proceed with care and take your time.
Wear Practical Shoes
Unsturdy and unsupportive, high heels aren’t recommended pregnancy footwear. Opt for comfortable, pregnancy-approved shoes instead.
Don’t Perform Risky Household Tasks
If your ceiling light bulb needs changing or your gutters need cleaning, assign these household tasks to other family members. Precariously standing on a chair or a ladder is asking for trouble. If you’re not putting your feet up to relax, plant them firmly on the floor for safety.
Don’t Pick Things up You Drop
Ask someone whose uterus isn’t undergoing a monumental change to pick up fallen keys or dropped plates. Additionally, avoid packing and unloading the dishwasher, considering the possibility of falling or losing your balance performing these tasks.
5. Decide Whether You Want to Learn the Sex
This week, you might have the option of finding out the sex of your baby. Do you want to know, or would you prefer to keep it a surprise?
For those throwing a gender reveal party, ask your doctor to write down the sex of your baby in an envelope and then give it to the person organising the bash.
If you’re not a fan of gender reveals, why not host a party to simply celebrate new life?
6. Share the Load
You can’t do everything on your own. Delegate and share the load with your future co-parent and friends that offer help.
Do I Need an Ultrasound for Week 18 of Pregnancy?
You’re 18 weeks pregnant and might have an ultrasound coming up this week. By the end of this week, you could learn the sex of your unborn child and gain insights into whether they’re developing and growing normally.
Attending your ultrasound is important because it offers detailed visuals of various fetal body parts and organs while revealing potential health issues.
You might have other screenings or tests for this week that detect genetic abnormalities and other disorders. If yours is coming up – we covered what to expect and your possible test options in week 15.
FAQ Section: Week 18 of Pregnancy
All your pregnancy questions about week 18 answered.
1. How Big Is My Baby?
Your baby’s about the size of sweet red pepper, measuring 14 centimetres long. You might learn the exact gestational size if you have an ultrasound scheduled for this week.
2. How Much Does My Baby Weigh?
Very light, about 180 grams.
3. Will I Feel My Baby This Week?
Quickening can happen anywhere between 18 to 24 weeks, sometimes earlier! The sensation feels like tiny flutters or bubbles.
4. What Is My Baby Doing This Week?
Your baby’s yawning, kicking and thrashing around the womb.
5. What Are Some Major Developments in the Womb This Week?
The nervous system is forming more complex connections in the brain and establishing your baby’s senses.
6. What Are Some Common Pregnancy Symptoms at Week 18?
Dizziness, abdominal discomfort, pelvic pain, headaches, lower pain issues, confusion and clumsiness.
7. What Are Some Good Week 18 Pregnancy Tips and Tricks?
Avoid sudden movements if you’re prone to dizziness or fainting, prevent or minimise heartburn by avoiding trigger foods and eating smart, and watch your step if you’re getting clumsier. Ask loved ones for help if you’re overwhelmed!
Fun Facts for Week Eighteen of Pregnancy
- Do you find yourself redecorating, tidying and reorganisation in anticipation of your baby’s arrival? The nesting instinct is natural for many mammas-to-be! But don’t worry if you haven’t become something of a domestic goddess, not everyone experiences the nesting instinct.
- Maternal instinct, the belief that new mothers possess an instinctual understanding of their child’s needs, is hotly debated. An alternative viewpoint is that any caregiver can learn on the job through observation and experience and not due to innate abilities. However, you will need to learn the basics about babies before they arrive – baby care classes are recommended for everyone!
Week Eighteen of Pregnancy Checklist
- Treat your symptoms this week – like heartburn, bodily aches and dizziness!
- Watch your step – you’re a little clumsier these days.
- Keep working out but modify some exercises if needed.
- Remember your week 18 ultrasound and other scans this week.
- Don’t go anywhere – our week 19 article is in the works!