18 Weeks Pregnant – Everything You Need To Know

18 Weeks Pregnant - Everything You Need To Know

You’re 18 weeks pregnant.

Congratulations! You’re almost halfway there. 

At this stage of pregnancy you might start to realise time is ticking away. 

18 Weeks Pregnant – Everything You Need To Know

If you haven’t started looking into things like where your baby will sleep and car transport, now is a good time. 

You have probably already booked your birth classes but, if not, don’t wait too much longer! 

Ideally you should start your birth classes early in your third trimester. 

Many local birth classes book up fast, so get cracking and make that appointment today. 

How Many Months Is 18 Weeks Pregnant?

At 18 weeks pregnant, you’re into month 5. Although we tend not to talk about pregnancy in months anymore, some people still ask. 

Remember, your estimated due date is based on counting 40 weeks or 280 days forward from the first day of your last menstrual period.

It’s not an exact science because, well, babies will decide when they’re ready to be born. 

18 Weeks Pregnant Belly

Now your belly and your baby are getting bigger you might have noticed it’s now uncomfortable to sleep on your back.

In fact, at 18 weeks it’s a good time to start sleeping on your side.

It will maximise the blood flow to you and your baby.

When you lie on your back, the weight of your uterus and baby presses on large veins in the back of your abdomen.

This reduces the amount of blood flow to your heart.

As a result you might find yourself feeling a little lightheaded or dizzy.

Sleeping on your back can lower your blood pressure too.

This might sound scary and make you worry about sleeping on your back, but don’t worry too much.

Sleeping on your back occasionally isn’t going to cause you or baby any harm.

In fact as your pregnancy progresses you’ll find it really uncomfortable.

To encourage sleeping on your side you can try putting a pillow behind you.

Some pregnant women place a pillow between their knees as well, which makes it harder to roll onto their back.

Other pregnant women swear by using a body pillow when sleeping.

Whatever makes you feel more comfortable, go with that.

Check out Sleeping Positions In Pregnancy – What You Need To Know for more information.

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18 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms

At 18 weeks pregnant, you’re really starting to feel pregnant now.

You might start to experience some side effects of being pregnant.

They include:

  • Swollen feet and hands: All that extra blood you’re making means you are likely to see some swelling in your hands and feet. If you wear rings you might need to take them off soon and put them somewhere safe (just don’t forget where). Swelling is ok as long as it isn’t sudden and severe. Always check with your care provider if you’re worried.
  • Varicose veins: The weight of baby and your uterus pressing on those large veins is going to cause some pressure on lower veins. These veins usually disappear after birth. To relieve them, put your feet up often, avoid tight and restrictive clothing, and get some daily exercise.
  • Backaches: Well, it had to happen. Things are starting to shift inside to make way for your growing baby. Your centre of gravity is changing too. Rest and gentle stretching can help with aches and pains.
  • Leg cramps: You might get a bit of a surprise with a sudden cramp in the calf. It’s unpleasant but can generally be relieved with hydration. Make sure you’re getting plenty of magnesium and potassium as well. A good source of minerals is Celtic sea salt. Try a crystal in a glass of water.
  •  Shortness of breath: As your pregnancy progresses you will notice you have less room to take a deep breath. Your brain also becomes more sensitive to the level of carbon dioxide circulating in your blood; that’s why you feel short of breath. Slow down and take things easy when you need to.

18 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby

When you’re 18 weeks pregnant, your baby has learned a new skill – yawning.

Your baby still continues to practise swallowing, in preparation for life outside the womb.

Toenails are developing and the skin is no longer transparent.

Those tiny ears have now moved into position.

As the heartbeat is strong enough, your care provider no longer needs to use a special prenatal stethoscope to hear it.

Your baby’s nervous system is also maturing rapidly. Loud noises might make your baby jump.

In fact, there’s a whole lot of moving going on in there.

At 18 weeks pregnant, your baby is kicking up a storm.

You are probably feeling some rolling and twisting movements. They are likely to be stronger and more noticeable when you’re sitting and resting.

18 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound

If you haven’t had an ultrasound in the last couple of weeks, you’ll probably be offered a mid pregnancy ultrasound now.

You’ll be amazed at how your baby has developed.

Depending upon the position of your baby, and how much he or she moves during the ultrasound, you might also be able to find out your baby’s sex.

At week 18, your baby weighs about 190 grams and is the size of a capsicum. The crown to rump measurement is 14 cms.

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Last Updated: February 6, 2019

CONTRIBUTOR

Sam McCulloch enjoyed talking so much about birth she decided to become a birth educator and doula, supporting parents in making informed choices about their birth experience. In her spare time she writes novels. She is mother to three beautiful little humans.


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