At 18 weeks pregnant, you are exactly 4 months into this journey. Your 18 weeks fetus is now the size of a big potato! The baby is rapidly putting on weight. At this stage, the fetus weighs approximately from 6.5 to 6.8 ounces and is about 5.6 inches long. You are likely to feel light-headed and hungry quite often when 18 weeks pregnant, thanks to those raging hormones and their transformation!
18 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms:
At 18 weeks pregnant, you will experience many symptoms that are similar to that of week 17.
Stretch marks: As your abdomen keeps increasing in size, with the uterus jutting out by this time, the skin of your stomach stretches to accommodate the 18 weeks fetus inside. Hence, stretch marks appear on the lower part of your stomach. These marks gradually disappear after delivery.
Increased abdominal cramps: This is actually a good sign. At 18 weeks pregnant, you are likely to experience the first live movements of your fetus in the form of internal kicks! As the baby keeps kicking the internal walls of your uterus, you experience painful cramps. If the pain becomes unbearable, consult your gynecologist as there may be other complications.
Dizziness: While 18 weeks pregnant, you feel drowsy most of the time. This is nothing but the hormonal changes that result in overall stress and tiredness. Take small naps throughout the day, so that you feel energised.
Swollen limbs: As the hormones keep travelling throughout your body, it is natural to experience swollen limbs for a prolonged period. This is not worrisome and fades away with passage of time.
Varicose veins: The expansion of your abdomen and increase in weight, due to the growing 18 weeks foetus, puts more pressure on your legs. As a result, a vital vein that passes through the lower body is pressed until it becomes prominent and protrudes outwards. This can be avoided by reducing the period of time spent standing and by frequently changing sitting positions. In case of urgency, consult your doctor for medical relief.
Bleeding nose: At 18 weeks pregnant, the blood flow in your body increases. Hence you experience frequent nose bleeds. Although this is not critical, consult your doctor if the bleeding becomes worse over time.
At 18 weeks pregnant, if you have an average BMI, you gain about 2 pounds in one week’s time. Your uterus keeps growing rapidly and juts out of the abdominal area, making room for the baby. You can now officially show off your round baby bump! Make sure that by now you have already transformed your wardrobe into a collection of cool maternity wears!
At 18 weeks pregnant, it is possible to finally determine your baby’s sex. It is visible on the screen that now your 18 weeks foetus is now taking a more defined shape. There are specific types of tissues that are developing into the uterus and vagina if the foetus is female. If the foetus is male, the penis and prostate start taking shape. In both the cases, testosterone-secreting cells enhance the growth of the foetus’ genitalia.
An 18 weeks ultrasound entails an anomaly scan in which you can see your baby more clearly along with the placenta and other moving cells. The gynaecologist will also check your baby’s weight and umbilical cord for possibilities of health conditions. You bladder should be full while undergoing this test.
Dos and Don’ts during Week 18 of Pregnancy:
Exercise: No matter how bog your belly has grown to be, continue exercising as much as you can. Focus on your pelvis and abdomen. Regular movement boosts your body’s ability to tolerate changes and regular pregnancy pains.
Include more calcium and phosphorus in your diet: Calcium and phosphorus are the two most important ingredients you must include in your diet. These two products promote bone density and skeletal health. When you are 18 weeks pregnant, you must make sure that you eat foods that contain both, for healthy bone generation in the foetus.
Wear cushioned shoes/slippers: At 18 weeks pregnant, you are prone to experiencing leg cramps and mild varicose veins. To provide your feet the maximum possible care, opt for cushioned footwear that will ease the pain caused by extra pressure from below the abdomen.
Start planning your maternity leave: It is high time that you start chalking out a concrete plan for your maternity leave if you are still working. Being already 18 weeks pregnant, which is 4 months, you should start limiting yourself from regular travel and stress. Start relaxing and planning for your baby’s arrival!
Sit for long hours with your legs crossed: At 18 weeks pregnant, your uterus is protruding outwards. While sitting, keep your legs apart and leave room for the foetus to move. Sitting with your legs crossed might stall the flow of fluids inside the uterus.
Wear (tight) bras all the time: If you haven’t already switched to maternity wear, please do! Wearing loose clothes is a must once you officially reach the fourth month of pregnancy. Do not wear bras all the time. Since your breasts are growing, they need space for expansion. Even if you do wear bras, make sure that they are special maternity wear that fits comfortably.
Eat too many sweets: Eating sweets in moderation is okay, but you have to keep a track of the calorie intake. Eating too many sweets regularly while 18 weeks pregnant is harmful for the baby as it might contract diabetes and heart problems. Too much glucose also affects the foetus’ eyes and brain.
Sit for long without back support: As your uterus keeps growing in size, bulging towards the front, you tend to develop back aches and sprains. Always sit straight and keep a pillow or cushion behind your back for support. If possible, try to opt for chairs that are cushioned and provide proper support to keep your back straight.
During this phase, as you have already entered the 4th month of pregnancy, you are definitely excited! By now you have seen the 18 weeks fetus in detail and you know what your baby will look like! Keep focusing on the positives of being a parent, follow the doctor’s advice, and plan your journey wisely!