18 Weeks Pregnant
During the eighteenth week of pregnancy, some women experience an increase in appetite. Make sure that you try to eat healthy foods that are high in fiber. Take a look at our Nutrition and Pregnancy article to help you break down the five food groups and learn what foods can benefit your baby — and which ones can be harmful. The most important thing right now is your baby, and everything you put into your mouth affects your baby’s development.
Symptoms and Body Changes at 18 Weeks
Your waistline is probably expanding greatly during this week. If you take two fingers and place them just below your belly, you can feel your uterus. It’s still the size of a cantaloupe, and at this point you’re starting to show. Some women have gained up to thirteen pounds by the eighteenth week, but every mom-to-be is different. If you’ve gained more or less, talk with your doctor to make sure you are on a healthy track. You may notice increasingly frequent trips to the restroom, so you may want to make it a habit to use the restroom before you lie down or get comfortable. Some women may experience a dizzy or light-headed feeling during this stage in their pregnancy. You can minimize this dizziness by changing positions while standing or sitting, and by not moving too quickly. Stretch marks may become more prominent as your belly stretches, and itching may increase if rashes form. Indigestion, constipation, and heartburn are also problems some expectant mothers face during this stage of the pregnancy. Talk with your doctor to find ways to relieve these symptoms.
As your baby’s bones ossify, or harden, the legs are affected first. The bones in the inner ears also harden, and your baby’s hearing becomes much more acute. You’ll find that your baby starts to kick and react to loud sounds as the part of the brain that sends and receives nerve signals develops. At 5 ½ inches long and weighing 5.25 ounces, your baby’s growth slows during this week, and will remain slow for several weeks to come. The baby is moving around, doing things such as crossing their legs, bending their limbs and joints, and doing somersaults. If you’re having a girl, during this week her uterus and fallopian tubes will form and move into the correct positions.
Pregnancy Week 18 Tips
If this is your first pregnancy and your anxiety levels are high because you are waiting for movements or signals from your baby, try to relax. Most women do not feel their baby’s movements until the baby has gotten a bit bigger. By strict definition, fetal movement is not expected until 23 weeks, but many women feel it sooner. As the following weeks come and go, you will start to feel little kicks and turns as your baby becomes bigger and more active. Next is pregnancy at 19 weeks.