18 weeks pregnant: Baby’s development and more

Welcome to week 18 of your pregnancy, you’re in month 5 of your pregnancy. Only 4 months left to go!

Your baby at 18 weeks 

  • Your little one does more of sleeping and waking throughout the day. The bones and nerves that make up the auditory system are nearly complete, they can hear sounds all around them and might even respond to music or a loud noise.
  • Baby’s retinas may be developed enough to see light. In fact, if you hold a flashlight to your belly, your baby might react to it—a fun, and perhaps first, interaction between the two of you.
  • Myelin is starting to form around your baby’s nerves. Myelin plays a key role in the health and function not only of neurons but the brain and the rest of the nervous system. It continues to form up until your baby turns one.
  • If it’s a female , her uterus and fallopian tubes are now formed and in the proper position. If you have a boy on the way, his genitals may be detectable. Either way, he or she will be approximately 6.29 inches long and tip the scale at 5½ ounces by week’s end.

Your body at 18 weeks 

Your feet may grow bigger. A part of this is due to swelling caused by water retention, known as edema, which can occur from the second trimester onward. Hormones also play a part in growing feet. The pregnancy hormone relaxin, which relaxes your pelvic joints so your baby can fit through the birth canal, loosens the ligaments in your feet, causing the foot bones to spread. You can relieve the swelling with a footbath of cool water and by keeping your feet raised; don’t worry (and have fun!) if you need to head out shoe shopping for a bigger size.

Symptoms

  • Dizzy spells. Your heart is working 40 to 50 percent harder than it did before you were pregnant. This effort, combined with the pressure of your growing uterus on blood vessels, can occasionally leave you feeling faint, particularly when you get up quickly. Be sure to rest frequently. Lie down on your side when you feel faint or dizzy. Low blood sugar can also lead to wooziness. Resting, lying down on your side, or eating a piece of fruit will help boost blood sugar levels and settle dizzy spells.
  • Mini moves. Most women first feel their little one’s movements between 16 and 20 weeks. Your baby is still small, so at around 18 weeks pregnant, it’ll be more of a gentle flutter than a forceful kick in your belly.
  • Leg cramps. You may find that leg cramps strike at 18 weeks pregnant, usually at night. Try to stretch your calf muscles before bed and stay hydrated. A warm bath, hot shower, or a massage may help, too.
  • Nasal problems. Thank s to a surge in hormones and increased blood volume during pregnancy, which causes mucous membranes to swell up, you might experience nosebleeds and congestion.
  • Aches and pains in the back. Your growing belly and hormonal changes can lead to aches and pains in your lower back area.

Checklist

  • Avoid certain workout moves.
  • Get Ready for Tiny Kicks.
  • Follow a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids.