Parenting

18 Weeks Pregnant – Tips for taking care

18 Weeks Pregnant

In the fifth month of your pregnancy, you are 18 weeks pregnant. Medical practitioners estimate your fetus’ age from the first day of your last period rather than your conception date, so it might not be exactly 18 weeks. Nonetheless, the good news is you have crossed the halfway mark of your pregnancy, and now only four months are left till you meet your little munchkin.

It’s about time your body begins showing symptoms of being pregnant. With your belly a bit prodding and preparing itself to hold the weight of the fetus as it nourishes and grows. This article will cover everything within your body and your baby’s development. Keep reading to understand what this week’s doctor’s visit will tell you about the baby.

Your Baby’s Development at 18 Weeks Pregnant

By the end of this week, your baby is roughly the size of bell pepper, head-to-toe length is 8.74 inches, and weighs 7.87 ounces. You might feel rumbling in your stomach now and then, but this might not necessarily be hunger pangs. This movement might be your little one moving about in your belly. In the beginning, it feels like little flutters; therefore, some mothers do not notice it. In the coming weeks, this sensation will feel stronger and more noticeable.

Facial Features

Your baby’s features are recognizable, ears, and so are the hair, eyelids, eyelashes, and nails. Your baby is practicing clockwork in their sleep cycle and naps most of the time.

Nervous System

The nervous system of your baby is starting to develop. It begins with the formation of Myelin, a form of fat responsible for protecting the nervous system and nerve cells. The nervous system network will help transmit messages to other body parts. Their brain and spinal cord are starting to form this week, which will help regulate different bodily functions.

They Learn Something New

Your baby has mastered the act of yawning or hiccupping by the time you are 18 weeks pregnant. You might see it in the next ultrasound this month if you are lucky enough. Your baby will be able to recognize your voice by the end of this week. Experts say that now is the right time you start talking to your baby, reading or singing to them.

Reproductive System

The reproductive system of your baby starts to develop during the 18th week. You will know if it’s a boy or a girl. Female fetuses will develop their uterus and fallopian tubes, while males will grow external genitalia at this stage. For now, it won’t be easy to see at the ultrasound, but you never know, as every baby is different.

Your Symptoms

By 18 weeks, it is high time that your brain will produce hormones that will prepare your body for delivery by making it lose. You will noticeably feel a change in the joints and ligaments of your body. The extra weight will impact your lower back, and some mothers might feel slight discomfort from this week onwards.

Weight Gain

Every pregnancy is different from others; while some mothers have started to show by now, others might not have “popped” out as noticeably. Specific factors include body structure, initial body weight, and how much weight you and your baby are gaining during the pregnancy. Remember that it doesn’t matter if you are big, small, or sized differently than your other pregnant friends. You are just fine unless you are doing well at each prenatal appointment.

Back Aches

The growing size of the uterus will change the center of gravity of your body. When you are 18 weeks pregnant, most mothers’ bellies start prodding out; it will incline your body to pull forward to keep up with the shifted center of their body as your abdomen thrusts out and stretches your back ahead. The change in your posture increases tension or strain in your lower back muscles and joints. This tension will ultimately result in discomfort and pain in your lower back.

Experts suggest placing a rolled-up warm towel underneath your back when lying down. It not only serves as a comfy cushion for your back but also massages away the back aches, even for a bit of time. Try to keep your feet elevated to reduce the pressure off your lower back when sitting down. Feel free to talk to your medical practitioner if you continue to feel discomfort.

Heart Burn

As time progresses, your uterus grows with each passing day to make room for the growing baby. The ever-increasing uterus will take up the space of your stomach. The added pressure on your stomach will lead to heartburn. It is not limited to eating spicy food; even eating toast with avocado can set your gut on fire these days.

We advise you to improve your calcium intake to avoid heartburn during pregnancy. Eat slowly and take small meals throughout the day rather than having a full hearty meal at a time. Try sitting up straight after eating, as it has also proved helpful.

Sleeping Problems

Some mothers start experiencing a disturbance in their sleep cycle in the 18th week of pregnancy. You might try elevating your head elevated to help with snoring. Invest in comfortable bedding that will find you a comfortable position for sleeping.

Low Blood Pressure

Some pregnant women also experience lower blood pressures during their 18th week of pregnancy. There might be lightheadedness, dizziness, or a feeling of faintness. However, your medical history and genetic background depend on whether you experience such symptoms.

Things to Consider This Week

We recommend you consider planning out the rest of your pregnancy. Some of these things include extensive planning and involve an elaborate thought process.

Maternity Leave

If you are a working mother, now is not too early to plan for maternity leave. Dig deeper into your organization’s HR section to read about what benefits you will be getting with maternity leave. Start filling out forms and completing paperwork as you can. Your parent can also see if they are eligible to obtain parental or paternity leave from their employer.

Birth Classes

Whether you are a first-time mom or carrying your fourth child doesn’t matter. If you feel a need to sign up for birth classes, go for it. It is like going through the fine details of childbirth and preparing yourself for the unexpected. You can sign-up for any program, ranging from a day to a month longer.

Visit Doctor

Visit-Doctor

You might consider checking your doctor’s appointment for this week. There is usually prenatal testing during the 18th week of pregnancy.

Some medical practitioners recommend maternal serum screening during 16 weeks to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Some also refer to it as a quad screen blood test.

Doctors also perform Amniocentesis during week 15 and week 20 of pregnancy. This screening checks your baby for Down syndrome and neural tube defects like spinal Bifida.

We encourage our readers to consult a medical practitioner or midwife if they notice symptoms like vaginal bleeding, leaking vaginal fluid, rectal pains, or cramping.

Checklist For You

There are certain things that you might consider doing this week. It is better to prioritize your tasks according to your personal preference. We are just giving a generic to-do list for 18 weeks pregnant women.

Start looking for Pediatricians.

Once your baby has popped into this world, you will require a certified pediatrician to tend to their needs. Now is an excellent time to look for a pediatrician near your residence.

Please put together questions you might ask them before visiting the doctor’s clinic. Once you are sure about the specialist’s certifications and the list of vaccinations and procedures, make a final decision about your doctor.

Monitor Your Iron Intake

Your baby is growing fast; hence they require more energy for their growing needs. It would be best to supplement your diet with iron to meet your increasing needs. We see that even red-meat lovers can feel iron deficiency during pregnancy. So, if you are vegan or vegetarian, talk to your medical practitioner. They will prescribe iron supplements to pump iron into your system.

Your blood work can depict a clear picture of where you stand. Having lower Hb levels puts you at high risk for anemia due to iron deficiency.

Try to Avoid Sudden Movements

Take it easy while changing positions if you are standing or lying down. Currently, your body is experiencing an increase in progesterone in your bloodstream. This increase in progesterone means your brain will be getting blood supply at a comparatively low speed. To save yourself from any problems, doctors advise pregnant women not to make sudden movements.

Avoid Standing for Longer Periods

Your body is adjusting its center of gravity as you continue to gain weight. We recommend you not stray on your feet for a longer time throughout your work hours. Ask your line manager to give you a little time off every couple of hours if you have a job that requires you to stand for long. This rest will help reduce swelling in the toes and stiffness in the lower leg muscles.

Stay Hydrated

Stay Hydrated

Remember to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Drinking plenty of water will help evenly distribute nutrients to your baby and yourself.

Tips for taking care of Fetus:

As you continue to take care of your body, we also suggest ways to take care of your child and develop an attachment with them before they arrive in this world.

  • Talk to your baby as they have started to recognize your voice. You can read and sing to your little one, keeping in mind that they have developed a sense of hearing and can listen to you.
  • Get in touch with your tiny jelly bean, sit back and relax. With a serene mind, gently rub your hand on your belly. This action might earn you a flutter from the little one.
  • Avoid lifting heavy weights from now onwards. It can negatively impact your fetus’ health and cause complications during pregnancy.
  • Some experts say that lullabies or certain music replicating 60 heartbeats each minute soothe and relax your baby significantly.
  • Some mothers use this time and write about their progressing journey in a journal. You can record it with the baby’s record book. In which you can enlist your experiences and emotional journey throughout your pregnancy.
  • Schedule an ultrasound with your medical practitioner. During this week, you can see your baby while the doctor looks for any discrepancies in the baby’s health.

Self Care Tips

Pregnancy can result in physical and emotional changes in a mother’s body. The past few months might have been mentally and physically exhausting for you. Take a little break, all to yourself this weekend. Go to a spa or get your nails done. A little pampering will go a long way in your pregnancy.

Make sure you tell the salon or spa that you are pregnant so that they perform as few chemical treatments on you as possible.

If you are more of a friend and family person, sit back and relax at home. Spend time with your partner in peace and tranquility. Put on a movie you like, and have your favorite dinner. Do something that makes you feel happy; in other words, you should try to recharge your spirit and soul for the time yet to come in your pregnancy.

Conclusion

Pregnancy is a different experience for every individual. Pregnancy completes at 40 weeks; hence 18th week is somewhat mid-time of you carrying your child. This article aims to get you through this week with ease. We have compiled a general list of you and your baby’s progress until this week. Experts encourage you to indulge in healthy snacks and get around 340 extra calories daily. Spend time relaxing and meditating to improve your emotional and mental health. Try doing light exercises to maintain your health. Keep your mind and body relaxed and make the best of your time.

Have a safe pregnancy.

Renae Reinardy
About author

Hi, my name is Renae. I started Blogging with my friends LaTarsha Holdenton and keren Smooth under the company name “K2babycare” to share my knowledge of parenting with other Moms, to become a better Mom tomorrow than today.
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