Your baby almost big enough to roll, punch, kick and dance at 18 weeks pregnant. You should prepare to start feeling some movement soon.
Let’s take a look at the amazing things happening to your body and baby this week.
How big is my baby?
Your beautiful baby should still be around 5.5-inches in week 18 of pregnancy – the size of a cucumber!
What’s my baby doing this week?
Your baby will start developing its nervous system at 18 weeks pregnant and also refining its hearing further so keep that music coming, or better still sing some of your favourite tunes!
Yawning and hiccuping, which you may feel shortly, will be activities your baby starts practising for the first time this week. You might be fortunate enough to sneak a peak of that adorable little yawn and some of the other fetal movements at your next scheduled ultrasound.
Your wonderful bundle of joy will also be busy developing its nervous system. Your baby will be developing a whole network of nerves that helps pass messages from all the different nerve cells to form all those complex connections. These connections in the brain develop into senses for smell, hearing, taste, and touch.
Changes in your body
Your baby bump
At 18 weeks pregnant you’ll look noticeably pregnant because your uterus and baby are growing at a steady rate. Every pregnancy is different so don’t be despondent if you haven’t started to see a pregnancy belly just yet. Some women don’t show until after week 20.
It’s perfectly normal to compare your pregnancy size and body shape with friends and family. If you find yourself worrying about if you’re measuring too small or big, speak to your GP or midwife.
Your center of gravity changes through pregnancy as the extra weight starts to form on your body. If you find yourself tripping over more than usual, remember to take things slowly. Oddly, coping with balance changes in your body, as it grows to accommodate your baby, can cause back pain. Keeping your feet elevated can help provide some relief to pregnancy backache.
That’s relaxin, not relaxing!
As you move through your second trimester, your body starts to produce and release a hormone called relaxin. This hormone loosens ligaments that hold your bones together, so you may notice aches in the pelvis area and hips. This is perfectly normal as your body prepares to stretch! You will thank this hormone when it comes to pushing your baby out – trust us!
Heartburn can persist throughout pregnancy. Sometimes simply a bite of your favourite sandwich can send your gut spiraling out of control. If you’re a fan of spicy foods now might be the time to put them to one side.
Try to eat slowly and make sure you are chewing thoroughly. Drink plenty of water and make sure you sit upright for an hour or two after eating to help aid digestion. Avoiding foods with flame labels on them is also sound advice!
Things to do this week
You should be resting as much as possible and if you haven’t had your antenatal appointment yet (normally week 16/17) now is also a good time to check in with your midwife to make sure your next appointment is booked in.
Around week 20 you should be having a mid-pregnancy ultrasound. This is known as the anatomy scan. At the week 20 anatomy scan your baby will have its whole body checked to assess its development and growth. This is an important and fun scan, especially if you are one of the many parents that want to know the sex of their baby!
At the anatomy scan, you will be able to see your baby’s heart, brain, little toes, and fingers. You will also be able to see your baby’s movements. Your due date can be confirmed at the scan too and will be based on your baby’s size.