18 weeks pregnant is a milestone to celebrate and savor. Find out what to expect when you’re 18 weeks pregnant, find out whether you can feel baby yet and what your uterus looks like. What size is a 12-week-pregnant uterus? What are the 8th week symptoms? When does baby start to move?
Your baby at week 18 of pregnancy
At the 18th week of pregnancy, the senses of your unborn child are developing. To her, your voice is just as real as the noises of her own home, like the rhythm of your heartbeat. Attune your senses to the sounds that cause her to become more active, and you just might feel her scurrying around. Since she is still quite young, she has plenty of room to move around.
18 weeks pregnant is how many months?
When you are 18 weeks pregnant, you are officially in 5 months of your pregnancy, just another 4 months to go! Congratulations, you’ve already made great progress!
How big is your baby at 18 weeks pregnant?
At 18 weeks your baby, also known as a foetus, is currently about 190g in weight and around 14.2cm in length from head to bottom which is about the size and of a large bell pepper or artichoke. They are growing quickly and are about to have a growth spurt. They will roughly almost double in size over the next month.
18 weeks pregnant baby position
There is still plenty of area for your baby to roll and twist. She may lie across your abdomen on certain days while on others she may be head down.
Until later in pregnancy, babies rarely sit motionless in one place.
18 weeks pregnant: baby’s development
The skin has sweat glands. By the time the fetus is 18 weeks old, its heart has already beat over 20 million times. Each day, the fetal heart pumps approximately 55 quarts of blood.
Multiple studies have shown that the fetus reacts to painful stimuli with a stress response that includes recoiling and a rise in circulating stress hormones that are distinct from the mother’s stress hormones.
Previously, the fetus would move away when something touched his face; however, the fetal now twists his head toward the object while simultaneously closing his mouth.
These motions signal the beginning of the rooting reflex, which enables a newborn to locate the mother’s nip while breastfeeding.
Fetus drinks amniotic fluid
Each day, the fetus consumes 2 to 7 mL of amniotic fluid. In comparison, the fetus consumes between 500 and 1000 mL of amniotic fluid daily during the final month of pregnancy. Similarly, during one week after birth, a newborn consumes approximately 500 mL of breastmilk or formula daily.
Eyes still developing
Even while eyelids are closed, the eyes continue to develop. The retina, located at the back of the eye, turns light into neural signals. It currently comprises several layers that separate cell types.
The retinas of animals are traversed by waves of spontaneous electrical activity. This enables the retinal cells to link to the visual cortex in the brain and organize inputs from the right and left eyes.
Although these spontaneous retinal waves have never been recorded directly in a human fetus, it is likely that they begin about this age.
Your body at 18 weeks pregnant
Fetal movement is one of the 18th week of pregnancy symptoms that stands out the most to many women. You shouldn’t be concerned by the fact that not all expectant mothers will be able to feel any movement. It’s totally common to not feel any movement until later in pregnancy, especially if it’s your first pregnancy.
Although it’s perfectly normal to feel a bit awkward as your tummy and breasts expand, you’ll probably start to feel more like yourself as the weeks go by. Because your blood pressure is probably lower today than it was before you were pregnant, you might occasionally notice that you feel lightheaded. While there’s nothing to worry about, you should move carefully and slowly when getting up because you might feel a bit lightheaded.
Around this point, the linea nigra, a dark, vertical line that develops on your abdomen and will likely vanish a few months after birth, becomes one of the odd things you’ll notice throughout the rest of your pregnancy. It is just a natural effect of skin pigmentation, therefore there is no need to be concerned.
Pregnancy Weight Gain and Other Symptoms
Every day, your body undergoes internal and external changes to make room for your unborn child. You may experience an increase in itching in the breasts and belly area as your skin stretches. As your body adapts to carrying a baby, you may notice that your back starts to hurt. Constriction of the digestive tract can cause discomfort in the form of heartburn, indigestion, and flatulence. Hormones during pregnancy might continue to mess with your emotions, which can lead to erratic mood swings.
Having Trouble Sleeping at 18 weeks Pregnant
Having difficulties sleeping is a common pregnant symptom, and it’s especially common in the second and third trimesters, when other pregnancy symptoms peak and a growing belly makes it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position.
When you’re 18 weeks pregnant, it could hurt to sleep on your stomach, but studies indicates that lying on your back puts more strain on the vena cava, the main blood vessel that returns blood to the heart.
Your blood circulation will increase if you sleep on your left side, which will also be good for your uterus, kidneys, and fetus. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try placing a pillow between your knees and another under your stomach. If the problem persists, consult your doctor.
18 weeks Pregnant: Wellness and Nutrition
What should you avoid during pregnancy? Doctors agree that you should avoid the following:
- Activities that may cause you to fall, or that place pressure or force on your belly
- Intense, overly vigorous exercise – if you’re too out of breath to talk, you’re probably exercising too hard.
- Drinking alcohol, smoking, and caffeine (ask your doctor how much caffeine you should consume each day)
- Sweeteners such as saccharine and herbal sweeteners (ask your doctor if artificial sweeteners are appropriate)
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications (check with your doctor about what’s safe during pregnancy)
- Paint, cleaning products, and solvents can expose you to chemicals and fumes. Acrylic and latex paints are generally considered safe. However, you should consult your doctor before helping around the house or in the nursery.
- Saunas and hot tubs
- Chemical treatments for your hair, such as dye and perms
Week 18 Unsightly Pregnancy Signs and symptoms
Your body undergoes many changes to give your baby-to-be enough room to grow. Some of these changes are comforting—your rounded belly and your full breasts, for example—while other signs can be troubling. Keep in mind that many of these physical changes will last only until your baby arrives.
You should expect to gain 25 to 35 pounds during your pregnancy. As distressing as weight gain can be for some women, those pounds are necessary for your growing baby. Much of the weight is extra fluids (such as blood), tissues (like your breasts), and of course, your baby. If you eat a sensible pregnancy diet and stay fit, you should be able to lose much of your pregnancy weight after your baby’s birth. (Some women are able to shed pounds in a matter of weeks; others need as much as a year to get their bodies back in shape).
Breast changes and tenderness
Tenderness and slight alterations in the shape of your breasts are common pregnancy symptoms around the 18th week. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are responsible for these alterations, which help your body get ready for breastfeeding after giving birth. You might find that your breasts are more sensitive to touch and feel fuller than usual.
Fatigue (constant tiredness or weakness)
One of the most typical symptoms of early pregnancy is fatigue, which frequently starts at this point. Although there are many causes of exhaustion during pregnancy (including changes in hormone levels), some research indicates that inadequate sleep brought on by nighttime awakenings from unpleasant sleeping positions may also be a role.
Heartburn or gas
There may be a rise in heartburn and flatulence during the 18th week of pregnancy. This is because progesterone produces a decrease in the tone of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle, which typically prevents stomach acid from entering the esophagus. This can cause heartburn and discomfort by allowing stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus. Try spreading your meals out more, staying away from items that are known to cause heartburn (such spicy foods), and drinking lots of water.
Mood swings and crying spells
The 18th week of pregnancy is a vulnerable time for women, when they are more likely to experience mood swings and crying spells. Until your hormone levels settle, this will have an impact on your mental and emotional well-being. This is a common occurrence for pregnant women; one study indicated that 75% of women felt emotional shifts like irritability or depression in the first trimester.
Food cravings, aversions, or both
During your 18th week of pregnancy, It’s common to crave foods that are high in protein, such as meat and cheese, which are essential for your baby’s development. You may also have strong aversions to certain foods, like vegetables or fruits that you normally enjoy eating but now find repulsive. This is normal—just make sure you don’t completely eliminate any food groups from your diet.
Pregnant stretch marks
In the 18th week of pregnancy, stretch marks, sometimes called striae gravidarum, may occur on the belly. Stretch marks form when the skin is forced apart and then stretched beyond its natural elasticity, as happens during rapid growth or weight gain (like pregnancy)
Indigestion, or constipation
During the 18th week of pregnancy, you may suffer gastrointestinal issues like indigestion or constipation. Pregnancy hormones like progesterone and estrogen might increase the likelihood of gastrointestinal issues including indigestion. These hormones slow down digestion by relaxing the digestive tract, preventing food from being swallowed whole. You can reduce the frequency and severity of indigestion during pregnancy by cutting out on high-fat and sugary foods and eating more often, smaller meals (like sweets or fried foods).
Your body retains water to provide the necessary fluids for your growing baby-to-be. You can prevent much of this swelling from drinking plenty of fluids and keeping your legs up. You may also want to purchase socks designed to improve the circulation in your feet.
Your blood volume has increased dramatically to provide nutrients to your baby-to-be. This increase, along with swelling caused by pregnancy hormones, might make your gums bleed.
The skin’s pigmentation may deepen around certain parts of your body during pregnancy, such as your nipples and freckles. You may also notice spots of color on your face, called the mask of pregnancy or chloasma. These pigmentation changes will fade after your baby’s born.
No symptoms at 18 weeks pregnant
Yes, it is possible to be 18 weeks pregnant with no obvious signs of pregnancy at all! It’s important to remember that every pregnant lady is unique. If you’re one of the happy few who never gets morning sickness, for instance, you may relax and enjoy your pregnancy. But if you do have symptoms, you should definitely pay heed to them. If you are pregnant and have any health concerns, you should always consult your doctor.
18 weeks pregnant belly size (baby bumb)
18 weeks pregnant ultrasound
A week 18 ultrasound examines the various body components of your unborn child and is typically able to detect any evident growth or development issues, such as spina bifida, heart anomalies, or limb defects. Your baby’s face, spine curve, heart beating, arms and legs kicking are all likely to be visible to you.
The importance of prenatal vitamins during pregnancy
During pregnancy, you need a greater amount of folic acid and iron. Why? Here are some reasons:
Folic acid prevents neural tube defects
These defects affect the fetal brain and spinal cord in a significant way. Preferably, you should begin taking extra folic acid three months before you become pregnant.
The placenta and baby require iron to develop
The body uses iron to make blood to supply oxygen to the baby. Additionally, iron helps prevent anemia, a condition in which the blood lacks healthy red blood cells
It’s important to consult your doctor or healthcare provider to find out which are the best prenatal vitamins to take before pregnancy, and how to calculate your expected delivery date.
18 weeks pregnant hCG levels
At 18 weeks pregnant, your hCG levels can range from about 9,649–55,271 mIU/m.
Explore more in your pregnancy week-by-week
Follow your pregnancy week-by-week to find out how your baby is growing and what is happening to your body.
First Trimester Weeks:
Second Trimester Weeks
Third Trimester Weeks
Pregnant Women Also Asked:
Got questions about week 6? Other ladies have wondered this…
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- Human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG). (2018.)
- Knowing if you are pregnant. (2019).
- Navigating your pregnancy. (n.d.).
- Pregnancy. (2017).
- Pregnancy: Sensitivity and specificity. (n. d.).
- Pregnancy tests. (n.d.)
- Pregnancy week by week. Weeks 1–2. (n.d.).
- Stages of pregnancy. (n.d.).