You will continue to experience an increase in appetite. Make sure to eat balanced meals rich in nutrients to help your baby develop and grow. Your blood pressure may be lower than usual due to your cardiovascular system undergoing dramatic changes. Be careful not to get up too fast, feeling dizzy is normal at this stage. Also make sure to lie on your side or tilted on your side. Lying on your back could cause your uterus to compress a major vein, which may decrease the blood flow to your heart.
Not only are you super busy preparing for baby, but you might be having some not-so-fun 18 weeks pregnant symptoms, like swollen feet or hands, backaches, leg cramps, and nosebleeds. And the stress and discomfort can keep you up at night around week 18 of pregnancy. Here’s the scoop on the 18 weeks pregnant symptoms you may be feeling:
- Swollen feet and/or hands Swelling can be an annoying pregnancy symptom. It’s nothing to worry about as long as the swelling isn’t sudden or severe. If it is, tell your doctor right away.
- Backaches Baby’s putting a lot of pressure on your insides, causing aches and pains in your back.
- Leg cramps Cramps can be a sign of dehydration, so drink up!
- Varicose veins These visible purple or blue veins are swollen due to all that extra pressure on your circulatory system. To deal with them, change positions often, prop your legs up when you can, get plenty of exercise, and avoid tight clothes and shoes.
- Trouble sleeping Your mind is working overtime and you’re getting more and more uncomfortable. This can wreak havoc on your ability to catch the Zs you need.
- Nosebleeds Bet you never expected these! Increased pressure on the veins in your nose may be making it bleed more than usual. If you have a nosebleed, apply pressure by pinching your nose for five to ten minutes. An ice pack can also help stop the bleeding.
- Baby kicks Whether you’re 18 weeks pregnant with twins, triplets, or a single baby, you’re probably feeling not just tiny flutters but more definitive sensations resembling actual kicks. They’re getting stronger!
Development of Baby
At 18 weeks pregnant, baby is as big as an artichoke. Baby’s about 5.6 inches (14 cm) long and about 6.7 ounces (190 grams) now and keeps growing quickly. That’s why you’re probably feeling so hungry.
Now almost in weight and long, your baby is fully flexing her arms and legs.
Genitals are almost completely formed and in position.
Blood vessels can be seen through the skin, and the ears are now in their correct position. A protective covering of myelin is beginning to form around the nerves. This will continue to form for a year after birth.
Your 18-week fetus is working his or her muscles and practicing all kinds of moves. Your baby is yawning, hiccupping, sucking, and swallowing. He or she is also twisting, rolling, punching, and kicking too— and is big enough that you might be able to feel him or her doing it.
You will be having your second trimester ultrasound. This procedure helps to determine whether there may be any birth defects. It also checks the placenta, the umbilical cord and how your baby is growing. At this stage it is easier to reliably determine what your due date will be.
If you’re 18 weeks pregnant and not showing much, everything’s probably A-OK. Remember: Every pregnant body is different, and your uterus will grow up and out of your pelvis at a slightly different time as another pregnant woman’s does.
If you’re 18 weeks pregnant with twins, there’s a membrane that separates your two 18-week fetuses. As they wiggle around in there, they’ll push fluid around and the membrane will shift slightly—you’d probably be able to see that on an 18 weeks pregnant ultrasound.
At 18 weeks pregnant, the big ultrasound is on your calendar for sometime in the next few weeks. The mid-pregnancy ultrasound (a.k.a. anatomy scan or level-two ultrasound) is a detailed examination of baby’s entire body. It’s a pretty cool peek inside! Your 18-week fetus will be measured to make sure growth is on track. Major organs will be checked for proper development. And amniotic fluid, placenta location, and fetal heart rate will all be examined as well, to be sure baby’s thriving.
If you want to know whether you’re having a boy or girl, the technician will be able to tell you with about 95 percent certainty at the mid-pregnancy ultrasound—as long as baby moves into a position where his or her organs are visible. Some babies don’t exactly cooperate.