18 Weeks Pregnant

18 Weeks Pregnant

WOW....look at you, that precious little cargo 'bump on board' is starting to take shape now!

If you haven’t already done so, you will most likely feel your baby’s first movements around now. This heralds a new and magical time, especially if this is your first pregnancy, when really start to think about your baby as a reality and as a separate little person from yourself.

Changes to you and your body

As you move further into your second trimester you will be feeling your body definitely starting to change now with your waist thickening as your uterus moves upwards and the famous ‘baby bump’ makes an appearance! If you have had a prior pregnancy, many women also find that their 'baby bump' appears sooner than it did the first time around!

By now both your belly and your breasts will be growing so now is the time to buy larger clothes and underwear, and you may find you also need wider fitting shoes to accommodate those swelling feet. However don’t go overboard spending money on maternity wear because you won’t be in them for very long! You may also begin to feel tired in the afternoon and a good way to revive yourself from this energy dip is to have a fruit snack, as fruit is an excellent source of natural sugars, and take a 10 to 20-minute walk or light exercise if you can, this will pay off dividends for you in the long run!

Changes to your baby

By week 18 your baby will be approximately 14cm in length, weigh 190 grams, and will be the size of a large pear. Your baby will now put on around 55 grams a week until birth and will by now be well formed and easily defined with arms and hands, fingers and toes all in place and head and face identifiable. Your baby is growing rapidly now and is encased in a fat-based substance called vermix caseosa which helps protect the still-forming skin and also acts as a lubricant at the time of birth. Ears are almost fully grown now and your baby will now be simulating breathing. Bones will still be soft with ribs and blood vessels clearly visible through the thin skin. Your baby’s sexual organs are also formed and the placenta continues to develop.

By week 18 your baby will be approximately 14cm in length, weigh 190 grams - about the same size of a large pear and is already capable of practicing yawning, sucking and even smiling!

Your baby is capable of developing a routine of activity and rest and will also have a favourite position for sleep. Alveoli or air sacs develop in the baby’s lungs and the vocal chords are formed so that baby can now practice crying, albeit silently – for now!

Tips for a happy pregnancy

If you have discussed having amniocentesis with your GP or midwife it will be done around this time.

Most Mums-to-be at week 18 will have put on around between 2- 6 kg, but of course this is variable depending on genetics, diet and lifestyle. If you feel you have gained too much or not enough weight by this stage, talk to your midwife about healthy eating options.

Remember to take care of your own health and visit your doctor and dentist regularly for check-ups and be vigilant in taking any medication or vitamins which may be prescribed to help your pregnancy progress as successfully as possible.

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