Pregnancy Calendar Week 18 – Baby Kicks May Start This Week
You are going well through your second trimester and things are steadily becoming good for you. This is yet another week full of excitement and many surprises. Just keep scrolling to know what is waiting for you this week.
You are now almost halfway point of your pregnancy and it might be hard to believe you have done wonderfully so far. The hormones as well as the baby inside are doing their respective jobs that are resulting in some uncomfortable aspects. By week 18 you must start to sleep on your side instead of your back as the baby is getting big which puts pressure on the large veins at the back.
Your body this week
Pregnant belly and bodyweight
Body changes are obvious by the time you enter week 18. The uterus is continuously expanding making your pregnancy more and more noticeable. Simultaneously, the growing belly might be starting to shift your center of gravity. This may force you to lean forward, leading to pressure on the spine. And the hormone relaxin which relaxes the joints, muscles, bones and ligaments might also be affecting your spine.
As your baby is growing quickly and with your increased appetite, you will be recommended to gain about 400-900 grams of weight. This also means you have already added around 5 kgs to your total bodyweight.
If you are pregnant for the first time, this might be the time that you might experience baby kicks. Those bubbling gas and butterflies you are feeling may be the first movements of your baby. This occurs in most first time moms in between 18-20 weeks of pregnancy.
You may have already started to experience stretch mark which is a hereditary badge of pregnancy. Other symptoms include:
- Body aches
- Itchy abdomen, hands and feet
- Nasal congestion
- Tingling, numbness and pain in hand (carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Varicose veins
- Leg cramps
Complications in 18th week
In the mid of the second trimester, the problem of low blood pressure or hypotension is common. This is because more blood is circulating through the body and the hormones are causing the blood vessels to dilate (widen). This may also bring bouts of dizziness.
Women who lay on their back can put pressure on the growing uterus which eventually leads to compression of the major blood vessels known as vena cava. Also, when you sit up, the gush of blood flow can make a woman lightheaded. However, the good news is that if you are one of those who are suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, it’s likely to have gone by this time.
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Your baby this week
The 18 weeks baby is doing a lot in your belly. The little one is working on his or her muscles practicing all napping skills, yawning, waking and sleeping all throughout the day. Following development can be seen this week.
This is a big week in terms of development of the senses. Your baby might have started hearing your voice and your heart beat as development of auditory system is almost complete. These sounds are delivered via blood traveling through the umbilical cord. The retinas of the baby have now become sensitive to light and may detect a glow if a shine bright light is put on your belly.
Fat continues to be deposited in the body. In the meantime, a fatty substance known as myelin has started forming around the nerves of your baby. This substance is a kind of protective covering insulation and plays an important role in the body including the health and functioning of neurons.
The baby is not only sucking and swallowing, but also twisting, rolling, kicking and punching too. And the baby is now big enough that you might feel him or her doing all these kind of ninja practice.
To make sure your baby is one-of-its kind in the world, unique fingerprints are now forming on the fingers and toes.
If the baby inside is a boy, the ultrasound might be able to detect his genitals. If the baby is a girl then the uterus and the fallopian tubes must have now completely formed and at their proper position.
Size, weight and appearance
The baby has been growing at an incredible rate. By the time you enter 18th week, your baby would be around 6-7 inches long or the size of a capsicum. If the weight is to be expressed in numbers, the baby would be weighing around 185 grams.
Healthy diet will continue to be a part of your important to do list. This is because you have to keep your weight at a healthy level. Your diet this week should be full of nutrition such as:
- Lots of leafy green vegetables and fruits
- Fish that are rich in oil as they are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid
- Iron and calcium-rich foods
- If you really crave for sweet than instead of processed sweets and cakes, choose fresh fruits
- Foods rich in high folic acid
- Avoid fried and high-calorie foods
This is the best time to become a cook. Seriously, you will be cooking more than ever. But just remember you are cooking for a special customer. If you are the best partner you have to prove it and one of the best things to achieve this is to play a chef.
But do remember, as she has been told to eat five times a day, this doesn’t mean dinner should contain stuffs like desserts, pasta, meat and spicy foods. The menu should include quick and digestible stuffs.
The third prenatal visit and the big ultrasound is round the corner. There will be a range of test you will be going through. But the major one will be the structural ultrasound or anatomy screen which will detect the sex of your baby. At the same time you will be going through:
- Blood pressure check
- Weight and fundal height check
- Urine test
- Evaluation of the baby and placenta
Another important thing to notice is that women who had earlier given birth to a child with congenital heart defect, or a history of congenital heart disease, the doctor might suggest fetal echocardiogram. This test can be performed as early as 16-18 weeks of pregnancy. The specially trained technician also called as perinatologist, will be conducting this ultrasound and give his findings to a pediatric cardiologist.
Tips for the week
By the 18th week, you must have a hang of what you have to do with your pregnant body. Besides a nutritious environment, your baby needs a lot of things. Pay heed to these does and dont’s for taking care of yourself.
- Go for routine dental care as pregnancy increases the risk of gum diseases which is believed to cause preterm labor.
- It’s a good idea to start searching for a pediatrician early.
- Join some childbirth classes to learn the techniques of labor and delivery and educate yourself about several other things
- Keep your surrounding environment bright and cheerful
- Do call your doctor in case you are feeling low or freaking out
FAQs at 18th week of pregnancy
What if I don’t feel movements at 18 weeks?
It’s nothing to be panic about. Since every pregnancy is different it’s not necessary you will feel movements of your baby at this point of time. This is not a sign of anything wrong is happening inside. Just relax and wait for a few weeks.
I am feeling lightheadedness, what to do?
Light headedness is pretty common during this phase as blood pressure changes. There are ways you can alleviate this symptom such as by avoiding long standing, drinking lots of water and getting up slowly from sitting or lying position.
1. Saini R, et al. (2010). Periodontitis: A risk for delivery of premature labor and low-birth-weight infants. read more
2. The Nemours Foundation. Kidshealth.org. Pregnancy Calendar, Week 18 read more
3. National Women's Health Resource Center. Healthywomen.org. Pregnancy & Parenting Second Trimester of Pregnancy: 18 Weeks read more