18 weeks pregnant

At 18 weeks pregnant, you have a lot going on, both inside your body and in your daily life!

Many women at this stage of pregnancy are juggling work (or their normal daily responsibilities) with preparing their homes and themselves for the arrival of their new family member—all while dealing with new aches and pains! Now might be the time when you need to slow down and take a little breather. Why not take a moment now to relax and read this quick guide about what to expect during week 18 pregnancy?


18 weeks pregnant: Baby’s growing big and strong!

Now that most of the hard developmental work is finished, pregnancy week 18 and onwards aware mostly about your little one growing up big and strong before he comes out to meet the world. Here's what he's up to while you're 18 weeks pregnant:

  • He's grown to 5.5 - 6 inches long, or about the size of a soda can
  • He weighs between 5 and 7 ounces
  • He has learned how to yawn
  • His nervous system is developing rapidly. His nerves are now covered in a substance called myelin, which allows messages to be sent between nerve cell
  • His vision, hearing, and other senses are getting stronger every day

 

18 weeks pregnant: Does your tummy hang low…

…does it wobble to and fro? This old song may be how you're feeling during pregnancy week 18 as your centre of gravity gets lower because of your growing baby bump. This is likely to cause changes in your posture, as well as some killer back pains.

You may also still be dealing with some of the typical second trimester pregnancy symptoms like headaches, heartburn, dizziness, and extreme hunger. These are all normal and, unfortunately, you'll have to put up with them for a little bit longer.

Luckily though, by week 18, pregnancy is bringing you some joyful moments as well! Did you feel a flutter in your tummy? That might just be your little one waving hello!

 

18 weeks pregnant: The anomaly scan, an important step

If you didn't have the complete test to check for potential genetic disorders, you probably opted for the triple or quadruple blood tests, which are thoroughly explained in the 15 weeks pregnant article. If you haven't already had this test at 18 weeks pregnant, you may not want to wait much longer.

Sometime between pregnancy week 18 and pregnancy week 20, your doctor will most likely recommend an anomaly scan. This in-depth ultrasound and blood analysis looks at all of the following:

  • General state of the placenta, umbilical cord, and placenta around the baby
  • Gender of baby
  • Possibility of multiple foetuses (Twins? Triplets??)
  • Measurements to confirm due date
  • Bone development, particularly in the spine
  • Cross sectional images of all organs to check for development and function
  • Possibility of cleft lip
  • Potential developmental problems like missing or short limbs, anencephaly (top of the head is not formed)
  • Possibility of hernia
  • Potential for some chromosomal abnormalities like Edward’s syndrome or Patau’s syndrome



By the time you’re 18 weeks pregnant, you're no stranger to aches and pains. You've almost certainly got an achy back, abdominal pain, and ankle swelling right now. Luckily, there are some ways to ease some of your discomfort. First, be sure to get enough rest and water, as these two magical ingredients work wonders. You should also keep your feet elevated when you're off them, and avoid standing for long periods of time.

Furthermore, many women find that sleeping and lying on their sides can help the back, especially with a pillow positioned between the knees. Another trick is warm baths. Try adding Epsom salts or therapeutic oils to the water. Finally, if you really need it, acetaminophen is safe during pregnancy, but you may want to ask your doctor’s opinion about dosage.

 

With everything that you have to deal with at 18 weeks pregnant, mum, don’t feel bad if you need to take a little break for yourself. Not only is it good for you and your little one, but you deserve it!