Congratulations on reaching 18 weeks in your pregnancy journey! Guess what? That gentle fluttering in your stomach you feel is your baby’s movements! At 18 weeks, both you and your baby are in the middle of an amazing growth spurt. It’s remarkable how much development happens during just one week.
Your Little One
Your baby is now longer than five inches. They are also likely as big and as heavy as a sweet red pepper. Their limbs, organs, and bones are continuing to grow and develop. They can also react to sounds by moving their arms or legs in response.
Your baby’s reflexes are continuing to be more defined. If you poke their little feet, they’ll likely curl up or move away from the sensation.
At 18 weeks, your body is continuing to grow and accommodate your little one. You may start to feel some backaches as a result of carrying extra weight around. Apart from that, you can expect these symptoms and body changes:
At week 18, you may start to notice pink or purple lines forming on your abdomen, thighs, breasts, and buttocks. These are called stretch marks, and they’re a common part of pregnancy.
You can try using special creams to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Ask your doctor before using any products, as not all are safe for use during pregnancy.
Due to the increase in hormones and pressure on the stomach from your growing uterus, heartburn is common for many women at week 18. Avoid spicy or acidic foods, as they can make heartburn worse.
The good news is that there are simple remedies you can use to help alleviate the burning sensation. Try drinking a glass of cold milk or eating some yogurt for relief.
The extra blood flow throughout your body makes you feel warmer than usual. Dress in loose, breathable clothing and keep a fan or cold compress nearby to help you stay cool.
Your balance is shifting as your baby grows, making you a bit more clumsy. Take extra care when walking and try to wear supportive shoes with good grip.
Bigger Breasts and Belly
Your breasts are continuing to grow and may become tender due to the extra blood flow. Your belly is also growing bigger, so you may need to invest in maternity clothes or larger sizes.
Swollen Hands and Feet
Your hands and feet may swell due to high levels of progesterone. To alleviate the swelling, avoid standing or sitting for too long and keep your feet elevated when resting.
Brown Patches on the Face
These are called “pregnancy mask” or chloasma, and they are caused by hormonal changes. Sun exposure can make them darker, so be sure to wear sunscreen and a hat when going outdoors.
The increase in hormones and blood flow also causes your skin to become greasier. Try using oil-free facial cleansers or moisturizers to keep your skin looking healthy and fresh.
Taking Care of Yourself at Week 18
Your body is doing amazing things at this stage in your pregnancy. To accommodate these special changes, you need to prepare and take care of yourself. Start with these simple steps:
Eat Healthy and Balanced Meals
Eat fresh foods that will help you stay energized and feel your best. Go for the following:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Lean proteins
- Healthy fats
- Whole grains
Prenatal yoga, swimming, and walking are all great options for low-impact exercises. They will help keep your body strong during pregnancy and prepare you for the physical demands of labor.
Speaking of exercise, consider trying pelvic floor exercises. These are gentle movements that help strengthen your pelvic muscles, which can aid in labor and delivery.
Get Restful Sleep
Get plenty of sleep during your pregnancy. Aim for 8-10 hours each night to help you feel refreshed and energized the next day.
Be More Careful to Avoid Accidents
Your body is changing and your balance is a bit off, so it’s important to be more careful. Use extra caution when walking on slippery surfaces or climbing stairs.
Set Some Time Aside for Self-Care and Pampering
It’s important to make time for yourself during pregnancy. Set aside some special “me time” each week and indulge in a massage, mani/pedi, or a warm bath.
You should also try to take care of your mental health. Spend time engaging in activities you enjoy. Also, surround yourself with positive people who support your journey.
Attend Prenatal Classes
At week 18, you should make plans to attend prenatal classes. Many important topics are discussed, such as the following:
- How to prepare for labor and delivery
- Tips for breastfeeding and infant care
- Insight into your postpartum recovery
- The supplies you need for your newborn
These classes will teach you so much and help you feel more prepared for the big day.
Your Doctor’s Appointments
Your doctor or midwife will check your baby’s growth and development at each appointment. They may also monitor the following:
- Your blood pressure
- Fetal heart rate
- Amount of amniotic fluid
Your doctor will answer all your questions about pregnancy and your baby’s development. They can also address your health and pregnancy concerns.
Your doctor may also recommend an anomaly scan at week 18. This ultrasound takes a closer look at the baby’s development, including the following:
- Facial features
- Limbs and bones
The results can help detect any possible birth defects or health problems.
Your Baby’s Sex Reveal
As early as week 18, you may be able to find out the sex of your baby. The ultrasound technician or doctor will examine the genital area and determine the sex with accuracy.
Tell them beforehand if you do not want to know. This way, they can keep it a secret until you are ready to find out.
Sexual Intercourse at Pregnancy Week 18
It is usually safe to have sex during your pregnancy. Dial your doctor if you have any concerns about sex during pregnancy. As long as your doctor has not restricted sexual intercourse, you can enjoy some intimate time with your partner.
Pregnancy week 18 is a special and exciting time. Enjoy it and prepare for the next stages of your journey. These tips will help you stay healthy and safe throughout your pregnancy. This way, both you and your baby can thrive!
Good luck on this amazing journey! You got this!