18 Weeks Pregnant | Pregnancy Week By Week
18 WEEKS PREGNANT
You’re 18 weeks pregnant, and you’ve just started your fifth month of pregnancy. Can you believe how fast your pregnancy is progressing? Okay, so maybe at times it feels more like each day is a week, especially in the beginning when you felt like complete crap all the time, but you’re so close to being at the halfway mark – only two weeks left to go!
At 18 weeks, your baby is the size of an artichoke – your little one is growing so fast now! Baby weighs approximately 6.7 ounces and is around 5.6 inches long! Think about it for a minute – it has taken 18 weeks for your baby to grow 5.6 inches and you’re almost halfway through your pregnancy. An average full-term baby measures between 18 and 20 inches long, which means in the second half of your pregnancy, your baby is going to grow about four times as fast as he did in the first half! Wowza!
PREGNANCY SYMPTOMS WEEK 18
Although pregnancy symptoms come and go, you’re never without some kind of strange happening going on with your body when it comes to growing a life inside of you. And the 18th week of pregnancy is no exception. Here are some pregnancy symptoms you may experience at 18 weeks:
- Backaches. You’re carrying a lot more weight around on the front of you these days than your body is used to. That, along with the baby putting pressure on your insides, can wreak havoc on your back and cause it to ache. Try not to stand for long periods of time, and when you sit, prop a pillow behind your back to add some extra support.
- Difficulty sleeping. Thanks to your growing belly and the need to pee every five minutes through the night, you may be having some difficulties sleeping. It doesn’t help that your mind is probably on overdrive thinking about all the things there are to do to prepare for the baby and how things are going to change once baby arrives. The best thing to do is to try and rest whenever you can through the day to make up for some of the sleep you’re not getting at night.
- Varicose veins. You may notice the veins on your legs are much more noticeable and swollen than normal. This is due to the excess blood flow through your body. You can’t completely get rid of them but propping up your legs and avoiding tight-fitting clothes and shoes can help to reduce them.
- Swollen feet and hands. During your pregnancy, your hands and feet may become swollen. Swelling is normal and isn’t a cause for concern unless the swelling is severe and/or sudden.
- Leg cramps. Leg cramps are one of the wonderful symptoms of pregnancy usually caused by dehydration. If you’re drinking a lot of water but still experiencing leg cramps, talk with your doctor about ways to reduce them.
- Nosebleeds. There’s nothing better than to be talking to a friend or co-worker and having blood begin to drip from your nose suddenly. Awkward! Nosebleeds are normal during pregnancy due to the increased blood flow putting pressure on the tiny veins in your nose. Pinching your nose for a few seconds or applying an ice pack to your nose can help stop the bleeding. Be sure to carry plenty of tissues around with you!
18 WEEK BABY BUMP
At 18 weeks, you have a baby bump by now for sure. You may see other women at the same stage of pregnancy as you with larger bellies than you have, but don’t compare yourself to them. Each woman shows differently. Remember, it doesn’t matter how big your belly gets. What matters is that you and the baby are both healthy. If your doctor doesn’t have any concerns about your belly size or the baby’s growth at 18 weeks, then you shouldn’t worry either.
You should ideally be gaining between ½ to 1 pound a week at this point. Total recommended weight gain during pregnancy for average weight women is 25 to 30 pounds. Women who are overweight before they get pregnant, should gain a total of about 15 to 25 pounds. And women who were underweight before pregnancy should gain between 28 and 40 pounds. These are only recommendations. Your doctor will alert you of any concerns there might be with how much or how little weight you’re gaining, so don’t stress about it!
18 WEEKS PREGNANT ULTRASOUND
You may or may not have an ultrasound this week. If you don’t, your anatomy scan should be coming up in the next couple weeks. The anatomy scan is an ultrasound that is performed around week 20 of your pregnancy. During the anatomy scan, the baby will be measured, weighed, and his organs will be looked at carefully for signs of abnormalities or other problems. This is also the ultrasound where you can find out if your baby is a boy or a girl (if the baby cooperates and lets the tech get a good look that is!)
At 18 weeks pregnant, your baby is moving all over the place in there, and you probably can feel those movements now, too! He’s kicking, punching, doing flips, and rolling around. Your baby can swallow, suck, yawn, and hiccup by week 18 also.
WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING AT 18 WEEKS PREGNANT?
You may be gathering ideas by now for the baby items you’d like to have by the time your baby arrives. Maybe you’ve already started purchasing them. Don’t go too overboard buying things right now, though, because if this is your first baby, someone may be planning a baby shower for you within the next few months. Here are a couple of other things you should be doing at 18 weeks pregnant:
- Start laying on your side. You should start laying on your side instead of your back at this point because your baby and your uterus are getting bigger which can put pressure on the veins in your abdomen. If too much pressure is put on those veins, you can begin to feel lightheaded and it could even lower your blood pressure. Better to be safe than sorry!
- Get a massage. Your body is constantly aching due to all the changes caused by your growing baby. Not only will a massage help to relieve those aches, but massages are incredibly relaxing. Pamper yourself while you have the chance because once the baby comes, time for yourself will be limited!
- Sam C's Editorial Team