18 Weeks Pregnant – Everything You Need To Know

18 Weeks Pregnant - Everything You Need To Know

You’re 18 weeks pregnant!

You might’ve noticed it’s getting less comfortable to sleep on your back now.

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

This helps 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.

18 Weeks Pregnant – Everything You Need To Know

Sleeping on your back can lower your blood pressure too.

This sounds scary and make you worry about sleeping on your back!

However, 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 way you are comfortable, go with it.

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

During this stage of pregnancy, it’s not unusual for women’s brains to begin to work overtime, especially at night.

This can mean you find it hard to fall asleep or even wake up frequently.

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.

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18 Weeks Pregnant – Your Body

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

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

These include:

  • Swollen feet/hands: All that extra blood you’re making does mean you are likely to see some swelling in your hands and feet. If you wear rings you might need to take these off soon and put them somewhere safe (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. Most often these veins disappear after birth. To relieve them, put your feet up often, avoid tight and restrictive clothing, and get 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. These are unpleasant but generally can 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 circulating carbon dioxide in your blood, which is 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 practice swallowing in preparation for life outside the womb.

Toenails are developing and the skin is no longer transparent.

Those teens tiny ears have moved into position.

The heartbeat is now strong enough your care provider no longer needs to use a special prenatal stethoscope to hear it.

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

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

Your baby at 18 weeks is kicking up a storm.

As your baby moves, rolls and twists you are probably feeling these movements.

They are likely to be stronger and more noticeable when you’re sitting and resting.

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 they move during the ultrasound, you may 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: November 15, 2018

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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