18 Weeks Pregnant – Your Body and Your Baby

18 weeks pregnant

You’re 18 weeks pregnant!

As your belly grows make sure you are sleeping on your side to help maximise blood flow to you and your baby. When you lie on your back, the weight of your uterus and baby presses on the large veins in the back of your abdomen, reducing blood flow to your heart.

You might find yourself feeling a little lightheaded or suffering from low blood pressure from sleeping on your back. Try putting a pillow behind you or use a body pillow when sleeping.

18 Weeks Pregnant – Your Body

At 18 weeks pregnant, you’re really starting to feel pregnant now. You may start to experience backaches, swollen feet and varicose veins. All of these are the result of the pressure baby puts on your body, but they are nothing to be alarmed about, unless swelling becomes very severe very rapidly.

Put your feet up as often as possible to relieve swelling. Walking may relieve backaches, as will getting enough rest. If you are still having leg cramps make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids as dehydration could be the culprit.

You may notice some shortness of breath now, especially when you exercise. Your brain is more sensitive to the level of circulating carbon dioxide in your blood, which is why you feel short of breath. Take things easy and make sure you slow down when needed.

You may also begin to have trouble sleeping now. During this stage of pregnancy, it’s not unusual for women’s brains to begin to work overtime, especially at night. You may begin to feel that your pregnancy is speeding by and you have too much to do. Doctors aren’t sure if hormones contribute to this feeling, but it’s quite common.

Meditation, relaxation techniques, or a warm bath may help you to relax enough to sleep better. A weekend massage or some other pampering is a great way to unwind and help calm your mind, too.

18 Weeks Pregnant – Your Baby

When you’re 18 weeks pregnant, your baby has learned a new skill – yawning! Toenails are developing, his skin is no longer transparent and his ears have moved into position. His heartbeat is now strong enough that the doctor no longer needs to use a special prenatal stethoscope to hear it. Your baby’s nervous system is now maturing rapidly and his hearing is becoming more acute.

If you haven’t had an ultrasound in the last couple of weeks, you’ll probably be offered one now. You’ll be amazed at how your baby has developed. Depending upon his position, and how much he or she moves during the ultrasound, you may also be able to find out your baby’s gender.

This week, your baby weighs about 190 grams, and is about 14 cm long, the size of a capsicum.

Last Updated: November 15, 2016

CONTRIBUTOR

Sam McCulloch enjoys talking so much about birth that she decided to become a birth educator and doula, supporting parents in making informed choices about their birth experience. In her spare time she watches Downton Abbey and has numerous creative projects on the go. She is mother to three beautiful little humans.


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