Your Pregnancy at Week 18

Your Pregnancy at Week 18

Can you feel your baby dancing yet?

Week 18

your baby this week:

It can be easy to get yourself into a tizz if you haven't felt any movements yet, but don’t worry, some people do feel them around this time, others don’t start to feel anything for another few weeks - both are completely normal.

Your baby is continuing to put weight on and is now around 190g (about the same as the amount of butter that goes into a cake - why not make one in celebration!) As your baby dances and kicks around, their muscles are gaining strength and cartilage is progressing into solid bone. You may feel your baby hiccup as it develops that skill, and its finger and toe prints now make your baby one of a kind.

Their nervous system is becoming more and more extensive with each passing day as all the message pathways and their protective 'myelin' covering are put into place.

your body:

You may have started to notice that your hands and feet are a little puffy - especially towards the end of the day or in hot weather. This is quite normal but shouldn't be excessive. This is down to the excess fluid your body will be holding onto. If you are worried that you may be swelling up more than is considered normal, contact your midwife.

This week may be also around the time that you start to experience some discomfort in your pelvic area, while your muscles and ligaments start to relax due to a hormone called 'relaxin'. In addition, as your bump grows, you may be altering your posture slightly and will be unable to comfortably lay on your back. Consider signing up to a prenatal Pilates or yoga class, which can really help strengthen your muscles and keep your joints functioning with ease.

If pain persists, it may be worth seeing a physiotherapist or osteopath to get some help with your skeletal alignment and muscle strain to ease your pain.

Louise Broadbridge - Our Expert Midwife

Hi, my name is Louise, I am a Registered Midwife, founder of Let's Talk Birth and Baby and the face behind Instagram's The Honest Midwife. I have worked in health settings for the past 30 years, the majority of which have been working in children and family settings.

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your tips & to do's:

Have you signed up for a childbirth class yet? If you are thinking about it, it's not too soon to start looking at what's offered near you. Limited class sizes tend to fill up more quickly than you'd expect. Some classes will last a couple of days, while others span over a couple of weeks or months. Do your research before deciding which birthing style is best for you. There are many techniques, such as Hypnobirthing, water birthing, the Alexander Technique, and the two most common types: the Lamaze Technique and the Bradley Method.

The Lamaze Technique teaches that childbirth is a normal, natural, and healthy process. It empowers women through education and support. This method should help you approach childbirth with confidence and explores ways to find strength, or comfort, during delivery, using various techniques for relaxation and eliminating counterproductive responses (like tensing up).

The Bradley Method emphasizes having a natural childbirth alongside the active participation of your partner. Traditionally, this course is given in 12 sessions and focuses on nutrition, exercise, and techniques for relaxation, and highlights the importance of trusting your instincts during childbirth. The Bradley method also encourages and is highly supportive of breastfeeding.

Write in your pregnancy journal - what do you think you are having? A boy? A girl? Write down your prediction!

By week 18, you’re probably anxiously awaiting your upcoming prenatal appointment. An ultrasound is usually scheduled sometime between weeks 18 and 20. Your OB will use this time to check your baby's growth, fluid levels, heart rate, and movement, look for any abnormalities, AND determine the gender of your little one! You should be able to bring your partner, or any one person, with you. You should also be able to get photos and/or a video of the ultrasound. Check with your midwife or doctor to see what the office policies are, regarding this special, revealing ultrasound.

Should you find out the gender?

There are reasons for and against finding out the gender at this point in time. Knowing ahead of time can allow for nursery personalization, gender-specific name selections, toys, and clothing, and gives you the ability to genuinely picture what life after childbirth might look like. Alternatively, keeping your little one's gender a surprise builds suspense and gives parents something truly exciting to look forward to, which could color the delivery of baby number two or three pretty. You and your partner should come together when determining which path is right for both of you. And it's possible your baby will make the decision for you, because if he or she isn't ready to reveal their private parts, the most practiced sonographer won't be able to uncross those little legs.

If your baby is uncooperative, or if you just want to see more, you might choose to get a private, 3D ultrasound. This more expensive photoshoot can be tempting, especially if your doctor-ordered ultrasound revealed less than you'd hoped for. Speak with your doctor about your options before investing money in a keepsake like this.

your symptoms

Your mind is busily preparing for your new arrival, your body is busy growing a human being, and in the middle of all that are aches, pains, pimples, and... gas. The ups and downs of pregnancy are exhausting, but once you're holding that bundle of joy and staring into those perfect, trusting eyes, it will all be entirely worth it. Below is a list of symptoms you might experience this week.

  • Baby kicks
  • Sleep complications
  • Swollen ankles and feet
  • Backaches, headaches, and hip pain (oh my!)
  • Clumsiness
  • Heartburn, indigestion, and/or gas
  • Pregnant dreams
  • Acne
  • Stretch marks
  • Weight gain
  • Sensitive and/or itchy skin

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Articles shown are a mixture of informative pieces, anecdotal accounts and professional advice from our panel of Bloggers, Writers and Experts. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official view of this site.