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When you are 18 weeks pregnant, more of your baby’s newborn reflexes are being developed, such as trying to suckle if you would touch his/her lips.

For mom, it might be time for an ultrasound examination. Maybe this will be the first time you will lay your eyes on your baby, or at least the first time you will actually see your baby in any detail…

18 weeks pregnantPin

What to Expect at 18 Weeks Pregnant

How Many Months is 18 Weeks Pregnant?

This week marks an exciting milestone – when you are 18 weeks pregnant, you have entered your fifth month of pregnancy. Once you complete this week, you will be pregnant for four months and in your fifth month. You are still in the second trimester.

Counting pregnancy weeks and months often gives people a headache. Some things might seem inconsistent and lead to confusion. For example, we say pregnancy lasts for nine months but lasts 40 weeks. Hmm, shouldn’t it then be ten months?

There is an explanation for it. A month doesn’t typically last four weeks, but approximately 4.3 weeks on average. That is why we say that pregnancy lasts for nine months, although it actually lasts a bit longer, around nine months and one week.

Many people, including doctors, stick to counting weeks to avoid complicating things. And maybe you should, too, if you’d prefer it that way.

However, you’ll probably get asked at some point how many weeks/months pregnant you are or what week/month of pregnancy you are in. If you want to be confident that you know the difference between those two, read our article on how to count pregnancy weeks and months properly. You’ll also find other helpful information in it, such as how the due date is calculated or the difference between fetal and gestational age.

Your Baby at 18 Weeks

How Big is my Baby at 18 Weeks?

18 weeks pregnant ultrasoundPinThe fetal age of your baby is now 16 weeks.

Your growing baby is more than five inches long (12.7 cm) now and probably weighs about 5.5 to about 6.5 ounces (155-184 grams). Your sweetie is now the size of a sweet potato.

The weight has doubled since last week! But the growth rate will slow down a bit from now on.

You may be feeling your baby’s movements at this point; your little one has grown big enough now. Most women feel the first kicks between weeks 18 and 22. If this is the first time you are pregnant, it may still take a couple of weeks until you are sure that the butterflies you feel in your stomach are actually messages from your baby. It is not unusual if first-time moms don’t feel the baby move until closer to 25 weeks.

What Does My Baby Look Like at 18 Weeks Pregnant?

The facial features are moving into place. Although the ears may still appear to be sticking away from the head, they are now in the right position. Your baby’s eyes are looking straight ahead.

The reflexes are further developing, and your baby is practicing useful skills to prepare for life outside the womb. The baby is rolling around, moving their little arms and legs, and practicing swallowing and sucking.

Fetal Development

Full movement of the arms and legs is now possible, and, believe me, your child will use them! Whether you already feel it or not, your baby is twisting and rolling around.

Your baby is mastering a yawn now. :-)

The nervous system is rapidly maturing and should function properly by now. Nerves are developing and are covered with myelin, allowing nerve cells to exchange signals.

Week 18 of pregnancy is the last week of the current critical development phase of your baby’s brain, which started back in week 12. The next phase will begin in week 24.

The hearing has become a little bit more sensitive now. The baby hears not only sounds from the outside but also from inside your body as well.

Studies have shown that at 18 weeks pregnant, the fetus is starting to become sensitive to light. For example, if you spend time in a solarium (not recommended!), your child will turn their back against the light.

By now, your doctor should be able to tell the gender of your child. If you are expecting a girl, her fallopian tubes and uterus are in place. If you are having a boy, his genitals are developing and visible in an ultrasound if he does not hide them.

Do you want to know the gender of your baby? Share your opinion in our baby gender poll here.

Mom’s Body When 18 Weeks Pregnant

The Belly

At 18 weeks pregnant, your baby bump will most likely be noticeable. However, don’t worry if your belly seems bigger or smaller than someone else’s at this pregnancy stage. All bodies are different, and every pregnancy is unique. Avoid comparing yourself to others, and enjoy your pregnancy and your growing belly. It is just as it needs to be.

Your growing uterus can now be felt approximately 1½ inches below your belly button.

Comfort is a must when 18 weeks pregnant. Your tummy is growing larger. Therefore, more baggy clothing may work better for you.

Pregnancy Symptoms

18 weeks pregnant bellyPinNow the body changes are becoming more and more evident, such as weight gain and visible changes to your skin.
No worries—these are all normal. (Vote in this pregnancy body changes poll and find out what is happening to other pregnant moms’ bodies.)

An increase in hunger is expected — you are eating for two. But remember that those two are you and a still very tiny little friend of yours. Excessive calorie intake will lead to your weight gain, not the baby’s— guaranteed! (Sorry!)

Try to focus on eating foods that are high in nutrients. To learn more about what recent research teaches us about healthy eating during pregnancy, read this article.

Some pregnant women might experience sore, swollen, and bleeding gums. This uncomfortable symptom is caused by pregnancy hormones that make inflammation or gum disease, such as gingivitis, more likely. If this is something you are experiencing, talk to your dentist.

Another uncomfortable but common pregnancy symptom is heartburn. If you are among those struggling with it, try to eat small but frequent meals. Also, avoid greasy and fried foods because these might make the heartburn worse.
A balanced diet, eating smaller, frequent meals, and drinking enough water might also alleviate constipation, another all-too-common pregnancy symptom.

Also, find a comfortable way of lying on your side. Ideally, you should be sleeping as much as possible on your left side. That will maximize blood flow and nutrition to your uterus and baby.

The uterus can fall back and possibly apply undue pressure on a vein by lying on your back. Some moms can feel like they will faint when they lie down on their back, or at least they become very uncomfortable and dizzy. At this point, your cardiovascular system is already going through changes to accommodate your pregnancy, so don’t put extra pressure on it by lying on your back.

You may be experiencing dizziness from time to time. You should be OK if this does not occur too frequently. If it happens often, consider discussing it with your doctor. Going from a sitting or lying down position to a standing position should be done slowly. This will help with your dizzy spells.

Your body is adjusting to accommodate your baby, and your muscles are working hard to support your growing belly. The hormone relaxin loosens your joints and relaxes your ligaments. All of it might result in backache. Unfortunately, back pain is something many pregnant women deal with, and it often lasts the entire pregnancy.

As your belly grows, your center of gravity shifts, so don’t be surprised if you feel a bit unstable and off-balance.

With the weight increasing and the belly growing, stretch marks are common in pregnancy, and they can appear at any time. Although some women say that certain creams or oils helped prevent it, you might get stretch marks despite using different products, and unfortunately, there is no miracle cure for it.

At this point, you may notice swelling of your feet and ankles. This swelling is known as edema and is partly caused by water retention. You might have previously heard of it. Try to avoid standing for long periods and sit with your legs elevated whenever you get a chance. That might reduce the swelling.

You may start to notice unusual marks and/or spots on your skin. Do not panic. These are only temporary. If they appear to be abnormally irritated, talk with your doctor.

You may take precautions such as wearing a hat that covers your face while in the sun. Sunscreen and clothing that keeps your skin hidden from the sun will help. If you are in the sun, try to stay shaded as much as possible.

Things to Do and Buy This Week

In many places, an ultrasound examination is offered at some point between weeks 18 and 20 of your pregnancy. Now your baby has grown so much that an ultrasound can be used to check whether your baby is developing normally.

Depending on where you live and whether the pregnancy has been smooth, this could be your first ultrasound or just one in a long row. Research has shown that an ultrasound scan helps mom and baby bond, so be sure to take this opportunity to see your baby in action.

Congenital birth defects, multiple pregnancies, growth, due dates, gender, and placental position can all be checked at this point.
The video below is just 1 minute from an advanced 18-week ultrasound scan. Pretty, don’t you think?

Scan of the Week: 18 Week Advanced Early Scan

Now is a fun time to start a baby registry! Amazon’s registry is great! And you’ll find many other inspiring baby registries listed in this post.

Week 18 Pregnancy Video

18 Weeks Pregnant: What Does Every Woman Need To Understand

Diary of a Daughter

What’s it really like being 18 weeks pregnant…? Here’s a true diary from an 18-weeks-pregnant mom (Me..!)

Now even my hubby can feel our baby’s kicks through my skin. Wonderful! I think we have a very active (and strong!) baby in there.
Otherwise, this has been a calm week. My baby bump is growing.

Are you also 18 weeks pregnant? Please share your experiences and thoughts by leaving a comment below!

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