At 18 weeks, your baby’s hands and feet are fully developed and he or she is happily playing with the umbilical cord in your belly. Find out what else happens during the 18th week here.
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Important facts about the 18th week: What you should know
The fetus is about 14 cm tall and weighs around 150 g.
Your baby’s hearing continues to develop during the 18th week of gestation and he or she can distinguish between sounds. The baby hears your voice most often, which is why it has a calming effect on you even after birth.
Many mothers can already feel the baby’s movements clearly and your baby is becoming more and more active. In the meantime, the baby bump can no longer be overlooked.
What happens to you
The uterus continues to grow in size with the baby during the 18th week of pregnancy and the following weeks. It is now about the size of a melon and has almost reached the height of the belly button.
As your uterus grows, so does your baby bump. Others can already see it clearly and share the joy of pregnancy with you.
For many expectant mothers, it is possible to feel the movements of the fetus for the first time in the 18th week of pregnancy. They are described by them as gentle tickling or light stroking along the inner abdominal wall.
It is a magical moment and one of the most beautiful in pregnancy when you can feel your baby in your belly for the first time.
Don’t be sad or worried if you don’t feel any movement yet. The timing always depends on the size of the baby. Also, pregnant women who have already had a baby feel the movements earlier because they already know how it feels.
Tip for fathers-to-be
Find out from your health insurance company about the possibilities of support and when and how maternity benefits can be applied for. In the final phase of pregnancy, you both usually have a lot on your minds anyway, so organizational matters often get lost.
Pregnancy complaints in the 18th week and what you can do about them
Balance and circulation
The uterus moves further forward in the 18th week. Due to this shift, combined with its weight, you may experience balance problems from time to time.
This will only hinder you for a short time, because you will quickly get to grips with the new center of gravity and will be able to balance yourself well again.
However, during pregnancy about 50% more blood circulates through your body. This can lead to fluctuations in blood pressure or even circulatory problems.
Often the blood pressure drops somewhat, so that you feel dizzy.
It is best to sit down and take a break. This will help against the discomfort. Therefore, it is important that you do not bathe too hot and for too long. Temperatures below 37 degrees and a duration of up to 15 minutes are good guidelines for a bath.
If you deviate from these guidelines, your blood vessels will dilate during the bath. This lowers your blood pressure and can cause circulatory problems, which can be dangerous when getting out of the tub. However, if you don’t bathe too long or too hot, there is nothing to stop you from having a relaxing bath.
Also, the energy you’ve had back since about WOP 13 often wanes a bit in WOP 18.
You may feel the need to rest and sit down more often. Take the time out that you need. After all, your body is doing an incredible job right now.
In the 18th week of pregnancy, many women notice the first stretch marks in the area of the abdomen and bust. Due to the growth of the baby and the uterus, your abdominal circumference also grows and the skin must stretch.
Massage the skin gently with oils such as coconut or almond oil. In this way, you promote blood circulation and the skin can stretch better.
Due to an increased concentration of gastric juice, heartburn may occur. To counteract this, you should sit upright during your meals and eat your food slowly.
In order to prevent further heartburn incidents, it is recommended to change your diet to low-acid foods such as:
- Bread (wholemeal, crisp bread)
- Fruit (bananas, grapes)
- Vegetables (carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, cucumbers)
- Fish (pollack, plaice, trout, cod)
- Nuts and almonds
- Pasta and rice (preferably wholemeal)
With the amount of work your body has to do at the moment, it’s normal that you’re often tired. Don’t try to fight it: build plenty of breaks into your daily routine and don’t hesitate to take a nap to replenish your energy reserves.
Fatigue can also be caused by a lack of trace elements, especially iron. Make sure you eat enough and eat lots of foods with a high iron content.
What can be seen on the ultrasound in the 18th WOP?
On the ultrasound, your gynecologist can see in the 18th week of gestation whether the heart of your offspring is developing well.
If the baby is in the right position, it is theoretically already possible to determine its sex. It may well be that your offspring is still a little shy and turns away or pulls its legs together and thus blocks the view of the sexual organs.
From the 20th week of gestation, an ultrasound examination can produce a clear result about the sex. It is better to wait another 2 weeks to avoid false hopes.
What is the risk of miscarriage in the 18th week?
The risk of miscarriage is still very low at 0.5% in the 18th WOP. There is no need to worry.
Take care of yourself and your body – as long as you are well, your baby will usually be well too.
What happens to the baby
In the 18th week of pregnancy, your baby is about 14 cm tall, about the size of a bell bell pepper, and weighs about 150 g. This is just about the size of the placenta, or maybe a small piece. This makes it about the size of the placenta, or maybe a little bit bigger.
From the 18th week of gestation, the umbilical cord becomes longer, thicker and tighter, so that it can continue to supply your baby with all the important nutrients.
Your baby is diligently training its breathing and lifting and lowering its chest.
He is also very active and plays with everything he can get his hands on: his little hands, his little feet and, of course, the umbilical cord.
In the 18th week of gestation, your baby cannot yet distinguish between day and night. So it is possible that he will turn night into day and get really excited when you go to sleep. Basically, however, it sleeps 20 hours during the day. Your movements soothe and gently rock your baby to sleep.
Conversely, this also means that if you move less, your baby will be awake and therefore more active. If you can already feel his movements, you have probably already noticed that he becomes active in the evening when you make yourself comfortable. Now you know why that is.
How your baby develops during the 18th week of gestation
In the 18th week of gestation, all parts of your baby’s body continue to grow and slowly but surely they are in the right proportions to each other.
The fat reserves, which have been growing since the 17th week, continue to develop. They are very important for your little treasure for the time after birth. They regulate the body temperature of your baby.
Now your baby’s sexual organs are fully developed. The vagina, uterus and ovaries have reached their permanent place in a girl.
You are probably already curious about the sex of your baby. If you want to know before the birth, your doctor can now be more and more sure what it will be. The sex determination is completely clear by the 20th week of gestation at the latest.
The ear bones also become firmer and firmer in the 18th week. This improves your baby’s hearing and it can better distinguish between the sounds in its environment.
The feet and hands are now fully developed – some babies even have small finger and toe nails that can be seen in the ultrasound.
This is important now
In the 18th week of pregnancy your breasts also grow. For many women, the growing bust is a beautiful side effect of pregnancy.
However, due to the growth, the breasts are very sensitive. Therefore, it is best to choose bras that fit well and do not squeeze your breasts.
Cotton is a particularly suitable material, because its soft and pleasant structure does not irritate the nipples, unlike lace. However, cotton is not only useful for the bra, but also for your underwear, because it prevents vaginal infections.
It is best not to use fabric softener in the near future, because it irritates the sensitive nipples and areolas.
Perhaps it is also very pleasant for you to simply not wear a bra. Then it can not irritate the skin or squeeze the breasts.
This is how you can support your body in the 18th week of pregnancy
Healthy and balanced diet
A healthy and balanced diet is still important to ensure that you are supplied with all the important nutrients and that your offspring get everything they need to grow. The intake of calcium is becoming increasingly important to enable your baby’s skeletal growth.
your body needs1000 mg daily to ensure an optimal supply. The best way to get calcium is through dairy products or green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli.
Don’t worry if you can’t get it through diet alone. There is the possibility to supply your body with calcium through supplements.
In order for the mineral to reach the right places in the body, vitamin D is very important.
You can balance your vitamin D household by spending 15 minutes a day in the sun. Why not combine sunbathing with a long walk? Then you get fresh air, your baby relaxes through the movement and you keep your body fit.
Your baby can hear better and better in the 18th week.
Many expectant mothers already get a music box and place it near the baby. In this way, the baby gets used to the music and finds peace with it after the birth.
In addition, your baby can hear voices very clearly. Therefore, talk a lot with your baby and your partner so that he or she can get to know your voices.
The baby is as big as a bell bell pepper at around 14 cm in the 18th WOP.
In the 18th week of gestation, the fetus’ hearing is improving and it can distinguish sounds from one another. Many expectant mothers already feel the first fetal movements.
Basically, your baby is already very active when it is awake and then moves properly. But how much it really moves varies from baby to baby. Over the course of the day, it also sleeps around 20 hours. It may well be that you cannot yet feel movements in the 18th week of gestation.
If you can already feel the movements of your baby in principle and do not feel any movement within 24 hours, then this is an alarm signal and you should go to your doctor.
In the 18th week of gestation, the baby still has plenty of space in the uterus and makes good use of it.
Your baby already looks more and more like a little person in the 18th WOP, because the proportions of the individual body parts continue to form.
Many expectant mothers describe the sensation as a light caress or gentle tapping on the abdominal wall. Others describe the baby’s movements as a fluttering sensation.
Video about the 18th WOP
Nekole takes you into her 18th WOP.