18 Weeks Pregnant Guide – Symptoms, Body Changes, Baby Size and more
You have already crossed 17 weeks of pregnancy successfully. And you continue to cope up with the changes in your body. Your centre of gravity is changing as your belly is pushing out. And it is pulling down the lower back. This may be annoying but it’s important for the baby to grow properly. By this time the growing uterus also starts interfering with the blood circulation. This may lower your blood pressure. Start sleeping on your sides from now on. The baby would be growing in full swing. An ultrasound would be done to check the growth of the foetus. You’ll also have a gain in weight. Read further to know all about 18 weeks pregnant guide and much more!
Symptoms of 18th Week Pregnancy
You’ll experience pregnancy symptoms like backaches, leg cramps, nose bleeds, etc. All this will make you feel uncomfortable. The discomfort and stress may not let you sleep. Let’s check the symptoms noticed –
- Swollen hands and feet – This is a very common symptom. You needn’t worry about the swelling until it is severe and sudden. It happens since the tissues in the body accumulate fluid to support pregnancy. You can reduce it slightly by keeping your legs elevated when possible. Also you should avoid sitting or standing for a long time.
- Leg cramps – It can happen if your body is not hydrated enough. So, drink a lot of water.
- Backache – This can happen if the foetus is exerting pressure inside causing pain. Also as your belly is growing, it shifts the centre of gravity. Due to this, lower back is pulled forward causing pain.
- Varicose veins – These are a result of pressure on your circulatory system. Since the flow of blood increases the veins become visible on the feet. Do exercise and avoid wearing tight clothing and footwear.
- Unable to sleep – You may feel uncomfortable to lie down that makes difficult to sleep. Get a good pregnancy pillow and use lot of cushions for back support.
- Bleeding Nose – Pressure on the veins increases that makes the nose bleed sometimes. If you observe the same then apply an icepack/pinch on the nose. Do this for couple of minutes by applying pressure. This will stop the bleeding.
- Fluttering Sensations – As you move ahead in pregnancy you may feel tiny fluttering sensations. These are nothing but baby kicks. They will keep getting stronger with the progress in pregnancy.
18 Weeks Pregnant Guide – Common Problems
During week 18 of pregnancy you’ll feel uncomfortable to sleep. Since now you’ll be advised to sleep on side than your back. Some women have a lot going in their mind. This makes them uncomfortable and unable to sleep.
The legs and hands may also start to swell gradually. This happens as the extra fluid is accumulated by the tissues. The fluid is essential as it supports baby’s growth and the pregnancy.
Precautions/Warning During Week 18 of Pregnancy
What precautions you should take during week 18 of pregnancy?
18 Weeks Pregnant Guide – General Precautions
- Start doing exercise regularly. You can do brisk walks, jogging, swimming or yoga. Start with pelvic muscle exercises now will help you in a less stress free normal delivery. Check with your doctor about the recommended exercises for you.
- Avoid taking treatments which include exposure to radiations or X-ray etc. It can affect the growth and development of your baby.
- If you are taking certain medicines for the pre-existing diseases than you must show it to your doctor. He will suggest you if it is ok to safely consume them during pregnancy or change it.
- You must avoid going to saunas or hot tubs since the environment temp is higher than the normal temperature of body.
18 Weeks Pregnant Guide – Dietary Dos
- You must eat foods rich in calcium content. Example – Milk and milk products. Make sure that they are pasteurised.
- Omega 3 Fatty acids must be included in the body by consuming nuts or fish. It is required for the development of brain, nerves and eyes.
- Include all food groups in your pregnancy diet plan such as whole grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables etc.
- Don’t eat seafood with toxic compounds like mercury which can be very dangerous for the growth of baby.
- Take folic acid and iron supplements as recommended by your doctor. You can also include natural sources of folic acid in diet e.g. Beetroot, broccoli etc.
- Get your daily intake of Vitamin D from foods such as salmon, light tuna, egg yolk, fortified milk, fish liver oil, etc. You can also expose to sunlight to fulfil the requirement of vitamin D.
- Do not consume undercooked or raw meat, seafood, eggs etc. since they contain disease-causing microorganisms.
18 Weeks Pregnant Guide – Dietary Dont’s
- Caffeine – Do not drink coffee or at least minimize the intake. Caffeine intake has to be minimised. It should be up to 200 mg/day i.e. 2 cups a day. This can cause many birth defects or premature birth. Caffeine may be also present in certain other food items like chocolates. So, read the labels before you consume.
- Urinary Tract Infections – This is the time you’ll have a higher risk of urinary tract infections. To avoid these never wait to urinate or delay passing urine. Also do not douche or wipe from back to front.
- Alcohol – It is not recommended to drink alcohol as it’s injurious to health. So, during pregnancy also you should not consume alcohol. It can hamper the foetus growth or cause birth defects like foetal alcohol syndrome.
- Smoking – Stop smoking as it can be even life-threatening for the foetus. It can decrease the birth weight. Also can cause developmental problems infections in the foetus, decrease the immunity etc. It can also cause sudden infant death syndrome.
You have a baby growing inside you and you may need extra nutrients. Always be mindful what you eat is going to affect your baby’s growth. You must also eat lot of vegetables, fruits, proteins. This provides you with regular dose of vitamins, iron, calcium and folic acid.
Baby Growth and Development
How is your baby growing and developing during the 18th week of pregnancy?
In this week the following changes will start to occur –
- Baby’s nerves begin to form a protective coat of myelin. This is important for proper development and functionality of the baby’s nervous system.
- Baby starts to do a lot of rolling, tumbling and kicking around. They have developed a grip to even catch hold of the umbilical cord and play.
- The babies’ genitals are almost formed and are in the designated place. If it’s a girl then her fallopian tubes and uterus may be formed.
- Ultrasound scans taken during 18 months show many babies sucking their thumb. That’s the reason some of the babies may have blisters on their thumbs. This is due to months of sucking inside the mother’s body.
- Baby’s bones begin to ossify. This means they are less like cartilage and getting strong day by day. You must take calcium-rich foods to fulfil the baby’s calcium needs. If you don’t like milk, eat hard cheese, curd, yoghurt, green vegetables, almonds etc.
Baby Size in 18th Week of Pregnancy
What is the baby size in 18th week of pregnancy?
In 18th week of pregnancy, your baby size is approximately 14.2 cm long. And appear as the size of a bell pepper.
18 Weeks Pregnant Guide – Parental Care
What parental care is needed during 18th week of pregnancy?
You may feel the slight fluttering feeling in your tummy. It is not gas but it’s the baby kicking. In this period there will be many diagnostic tests and screenings. This will be done to examine the foetus for any genetic diseases.
Keep in mind that these tests are not mandatory. And it’s up to the couple to go for such tests or not.
There would also be an ultrasound scan to check the baby’s growth. It also gives information about the baby’s expected date of delivery.
You should invest in maternity wear and flat footwear with a good grip.
Changes in feelings in 18th Week of Pregnancy
How will you feel during 18th week of pregnancy?
What changes you will experience in feelings during 18th week of pregnancy?
This is the time when you will start feeling baby movements. And this will excite you to a new level. It will also make you realise that this pregnancy is for real.
Some women want to keep this news of the baby’s movements to themselves. This makes them make a silent bode with their baby. However, you can also involve your partner to give him a fair chance.
Changes in 18th Week of Pregnancy
What changes you will experience during week 18 of pregnancy?
By week 18 of pregnancy, your appetite may change. You’ll crave to eat sugary sweet foods. It is ok to pamper those cravings occasionally but never go overboard. You must continue to eat healthy and balanced food throughout your pregnancy.
Change in look during 18th Week of Pregnancy
How will you look like during the 18th week of pregnancy?
By this time, you look pregnant with the belly and weight gain. Your belly will start to take a round shape. And it may also push your belly button out. Your clothes will become fit and you may start to wear maternity clothes.
You may feel a little unsteady since your belly is growing. Your back is being pulled forward due to centre of gravity.
18 Weeks Pregnant Guide – Diet
What should you eat during the 18th week of pregnancy?
Following are the food nutrients to be included in your diet chart.
- You’ll need essential fatty acids to reduce the possibility of premature labour. Low birth weight, mental retardation etc. can also be avoided by its intake. Make sure that you have sufficient amount of essential fatty acids. Intake of omega 3, 6, 9 fatty acids is essential. And this is present in freshwater fish, light tuna, olive oil and nuts.
- Include foods rich in iron and folic acid. Your body needs to produce 3-6 extra litres of blood during pregnancy. A diet rich in iron helps in making extra blood. And folic acid saves the baby from birth defects, neural tube defects etc.
- You must consume plenty of fibrous foods. This will give you relief from constipation like symptoms. Eat high fibre foods such as spinach, oats, whole grains etc. Also, drink a lot of water because fibrous foods absorb body moisture.
- Include meat and meat products in your diet. Keep in mind that it has to be cooked thoroughly. If you crave eating in restaurants, choose your tested ones and don’t experiment.
- Eat a lot of fresh fruits during pregnancy. It has loads of minerals and vitamins, high fibre content and water content. They provide healthy calories to the body.
- The doctor will prescribe a calcium pill and vitamin D to you. Your body and the baby would need a high amount of calcium. This will be required for healthy bone development in babies. If you don’t provide enough calcium then the baby starts deriving calcium reserves from the mother’s body. This can be the reason for problems like osteoporosis in future. So, ensure for 2 glasses of milk or around 500 gm of curd. These will act as a good supplementation to your calcium tablets.
Which food you should avoid during 18th week of pregnancy?
Following are the food items to be avoided from your diet chart.
It is also important to avoid few foods during pregnancy which are –
- Don’t eat unpasteurised milk products. This may harbour harmful pathogens. So, avoid soft cheese like Brie, Camembert etc, unpasteurised milk.
- Refined flour or Maida is difficult to digest. These food products can cause constipation and haemorrhoids. So, avoid maida products like noodles, pizza, samosas, momos etc. Instead, opt for whole grain or multigrain flours.
- Avoid eating too much of dry fruits. They are very rich and warm by nature. It can induce contractions.
- Don’t consume seafood which is rich in mercury. It is a compound that can cause mental retardation in your baby. Ex. Swordfish, shark, tilapia fish etc.
- Fast food, street foods look tempting. But you cannot guarantee the hygiene of the kitchen, containers and foodstuff. It can cause water-borne infections like typhoid or cause food poisoning. Opt for homemade chaats, pizza, burger etc.
[Still, Have Question – Click here to ask Other Parents and Doctors]
Sex During 18th Week of Pregnancy
Is it safe to have sex during the 18th week of pregnancy?
Having sex during the 18th week of pregnancy is completely safe. Ensure that you and your partner are safe from any kind of sexually transmitted diseases.
Doctors may ask some parents-to-be to not have sex during pregnancy. This can be due to some complications, risk of preterm labour, miscarriage history etc.
18 Weeks Pregnant Guide – Doctor Consultation
Do I need to visit a doctor in 18th week of pregnancy?
What should you discuss with the doctor?
By this time, you may be going to the doctor every month for your second-trimester appointments. The doctor will discuss with you about your baby’s growth. And the expected date of delivery. The doctor can also find if the baby is a girl or boy. It completely depends on the position of the baby at the time of the ultrasound. However, gender reveals before birth is illegal in some country.
You’ll have slightly lower blood pressure at this time of pregnancy. It is important to discuss with the doctor about any feelings of dizziness. Also, the doctor will enquire about your diet, weight gain, water consumption, exercise routine. Don’t hesitate to check like increasing appetite, dizzy feeling, belly button protruding etc.
Test/ Procedure in 18th Week of Pregnancy
What are the tests or procedures you should have in 18th week of pregnancy?
- Routine blood tests are to check the body’s levels of iron and sugar.
- Urine tests are done to check the levels of sugar and protein.
- If tests for genetic abnormalities aren’t done yet, then begin those tests now.
- Ultrasound will be done to check about baby development. Gender detection can be done now. But it isn’t made public if it is not legal in your country. It is based on what position your baby is into during ultrasound time.
Supplements in 18th Week of Pregnancy
Do you need to take supplements during 18th week of pregnancy?
You’ll be asked to take vitamin D and calcium supplements. However, it’s important to include foods with natural sources of calcium, vitamin D and folate.
Also, you’ll continue to take your folic acid supplements during this week. And this continues throughout your pregnancy. It protects the child from birth defects, neural tube defects spina bifida etc.
18 Weeks Pregnant Guide – Important Points to Know
What is important to know during 18th week of pregnancy?
The baby is now twice the size of what it was a month before. The outer ears will be formed and the inner ears will be developed. Now they can even hear your heartbeat. By 18th week of pregnancy, you’ll feel the movements of your baby.
You’ll have a low blood pressure now that may make you feel dizzy. You may experience dizziness while standing or sitting. It is important for you to slow down a bit now.
The weight gain will be normal at this stage. Amniotic fluid, the placenta of baby, and increased blood flow cause weight gain. You must eat well and also exercise as much as possible.
Preparation Guidelines for Baby
How should you start preparing for baby’s birth?
This is the time you’ll look pregnant and should start wearing maternity clothing. You can start to look for childbirth classes. Talk to your doctor or friends to know about the local birth classes. It’s an ideal way to get correct information about breastfeeding and delivery process.
Now you have got all the vital information on 18 weeks pregnant guide. So, you only need is to follow everything mindfully for a healthy pregnancy.