You’re 18 weeks pregnant. Congratulations!
You’re moving towards the halfway mark. Only a few more weeks to go!
Let’s hope it’s the end of the nausea and you can now enjoy your pregnancy.
At this stage of mid-pregnancy and in the second trimester, you might start to realize time is ticking by.
How many months is 18 weeks pregnant?
At 18 weeks pregnant, you’re into the fifth month and the second trimester.
Although we tend not to talk about pregnancy in months anymore, some people still ask.
Remember, your estimated due date (EDD) 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 anyway.
18 weeks pregnant
You might have noticed your waist is starting to disappear. As your womb moves up out of your pelvis, your bump is now becoming more obvious.
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 you haven’t, don’t wait too much longer!
Ideally, you should start your birth classes early in your third trimester. They can book up quickly so get in early.
It’s a great way to prepare for your baby’s birth, and you might get to know other expectant families in your area.
You might also want to consider adding some maternity clothes to your wardrobe. Elasticated or loose pants or skirts around your belly are the most comfortable things to wear.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on new clothes. If this is your first pregnancy, check out online marketplaces, or buy one or two versatile pieces that will last you for the entire pregnancy.
You could also borrow clothes from relatives or friends who have recently had babies.
Started thinking about baby names yet? Pregnancy week 18 seems as good a time as any to have a discussion with your partner about the choice of names.
Choosing names can be fun, or it can be really challenging.
18 weeks pregnant belly
Thanks to the hormones in pregnancy, your belly is stretching with your growing uterus and baby.
If you’re a first-time mother, you may be feeling there’s something ‘in the way’ now when you bend to pick up something from the floor.
Now your belly and your baby are getting bigger, you might also notice it’s getting uncomfortable to sleep on your back.
It’s recommended not to sleep on your back after 20 weeks, so now’s a good time to start making the change to sleeping on your side.
This will help maximize the blood flow to you and your baby bump.
When you lie on your back, the weight of your uterus and baby, at week 18 of pregnancy, 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 also lower your blood pressure. Lowering of the blood pressure can cause dizziness and balance problems, so ask your doctor to check your blood pressure if you have any concerns.
This might sound scary and make you worry about sleeping on your back. Don’t worry too much because, as your pregnancy progresses, you’ll find it really uncomfortable and you’ll stop naturally.
To encourage sleeping on your side, try putting a pillow behind you.
Some pregnant women place a pillow between their knees as well; this makes it harder to roll over.
Other pregnant women swear by using a body pillow to support the belly when sleeping.
Whatever makes you feel more comfortable, go with that at 18 weeks of pregnancy.
Check out Sleeping Positions In Pregnancy – What You Need To Know? for more information.
18 weeks pregnant symptoms
At 18 weeks pregnant, you’re really starting to feel pregnant now. It’s fun and exciting to gauge the changes happening in your body, especially if this is your first pregnancy.
18 weeks pregnancy symptoms can include:
Swollen feet and hands
All that extra blood you’re making means you’re 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’s caused by fluid or water retention or weight gain. It shouldn’t be sudden or severe. If it is, see your doctor or healthcare provider straight away.
The weight of the baby and your uterus pressing on blood vessels causes more pressure on the lower veins at pregnancy week 18. Varicose veins appear as blue-purple veins, visible on the skin surface.
For most women, they won’t be a problem. Sometimes they become very congested and can create an aching sensation. To relieve them, put your feet up often, avoid tight or restrictive clothing, and get some daily exercise.
Varicose veins usually disappear after birth but if they’re still causing pain after baby is born, your doctor will advise you whether or not they need to be removed.
Well, backaches had to happen. Things are starting to shift inside your body, to make way for your growing baby, and you may feel this as back pain. Your center of gravity is changing, too.
Massage, rest, and gentle stretching can help with aches and pains. Ease up on the strenuous exercises and move to gentle walking, swimming, or yoga.
You should avoid heavy lifting, if possible, and sleep on a firm mattress to support your back.
You could ask your midwife or ob-gyn to refer you to a physiotherapist if your back is very painful.
You might get a bit of a surprise with a sudden cramp in the calf muscle of your leg. It’s unpleasant and often happens more at night than during the day.
Make sure you’re getting plenty of fluids and be sure to include magnesium and potassium in your diet. A good source of minerals is Celtic sea salt. Try dissolving one crystal in a glass of water before drinking.
For more information be sure to read Leg Cramps During Pregnancy | Causes And Remedies
Shortness of breath
As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll notice you have less room to take a deep breath. Your brain has also become more sensitive to the level of carbon dioxide circulating in your blood, so you probably feel short of breath.
Slow down and take things easy when you need to.
You might also experience nasal problems. The increase in blood volume and hormones causes mucous membranes to swell up, making your nose feel stuffy.
Find out more in Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy – What Causes It?
How much weight should I have gained at 18 weeks pregnant?
Your baby is growing rapidly now and that means your body is too. Generally, pregnant women gain the most weight during the second trimester but if you started under or overweight, you need to take that into consideration.
Most doctors like to see women start pregnancy with a healthy body mass index and then gain 1-4 lbs (0.45-1.8 kg) in the first trimester, then 1 lb (0.45 kg) each week after.
Check with your care provider about your weight gain. You can make adjustments now that will ensure you have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
Too much weight gain in pregnancy increases the risk for a number of complications, such as gestational diabetes. This, in turn, increases the chances you will have interventions, such as induction of labor.
Exercise and a healthy, nutritious diet are the two most important things you can do for your body and baby at 18 weeks pregnant.
Exercise has the added bonus of positively affecting your birth, increasing your body’s endurance, and potentially shortening your labor. Who doesn’t want that kind of outcome?
Read Exercise During Pregnancy Could Shorten Your Labor for more information.
If you’re worried about weight gain, see your midwife or doctor for advice. A dietitian or nutritionist will be able to support you to make changes to your diet that encourage healthy weight gain.
Pregnancy Weight Gain – How Much Weight Is Normal? has more information.
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. This usually happens between 18 and 22 weeks, and is also called a morphology, anomaly, or anatomy scan.
The mid-pregnancy ultrasound checks and measures the amniotic fluid, placenta, and umbilical cord. It also looks at your baby and makes sure they’re developing as they should be.
Are to eager to know whether your baby is a boy or a girl?
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 the gender.
In special cases, a doctor might recommend more detailed prenatal tests, such as fetal blood sampling and fetal echocardiogram.
Your ob-gyn or doctor will give you a form for the ultrasound or book the scan for you. It might also confirm your due date.
18 weeks pregnant your baby
When you’re 18 weeks pregnant, your baby has learned a new skill – yawning!
Your baby still continues to practice swallowing, in preparation for life outside the womb. By now she has a fully functioning digestive system.
Your baby’s nervous system is developing and starting to form myelin, a special layer that protects and insulates nerve cells.
Your baby may now begin to register sounds and loud noises might make her jump, thanks to that developing nervous system.
At this stage, the gall bladder also begins to work and secretes the bile needed to digest nutrients.
Toes and toenails are developing, and the baby’s skin has wrinkles and is no longer transparent.
At 18 weeks pregnant, your baby’s tiny ears have now moved into position.
As the heartbeat is strong enough at week 18, your doctor no longer needs to use a special prenatal stethoscope to hear it.
18 weeks pregnancy movement
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, flutters, and twisting movements. They are likely to be stronger and more noticeable when you’re sitting and resting. Your baby is also practicing hiccups, which you’ll start to feel as they get bigger.
Over the next few weeks, you will feel the baby move, and by 20 weeks you’ll probably feel all those baby kicks as well.
18 weeks pregnant baby position
Your baby still has plenty of room to roll and twist about. Some days she could be head down, and on other days, the comfiest spot to lie in across your belly.
Babies generally don’t sit still in one spot until later on in pregnancy.
How much does my baby weigh at 18 weeks?
Your baby at 18 weeks weighs about 190 grams (6.7 ounces) and is the size of capsicum or bell pepper.
The crown to rump measurement is 14 cm (5.5 inches) long, and the baby is about the size of a chicken breast.