Pregnancy Week 18
Welcome to week 18th of pregnancy! You are not too far to be half way in your journey. Gradually, you are feeling more of your baby in you. You must be experiencing common niggles now.
The baby has started moving around a lot and this week, you may feel the first movements. Feeling excited? You would be. After all, this could be the most amazing thing when you are pregnant.
Let us see what else you can expect in this week.
Growth and Development of Baby
Your baby is showing tremendous developments and that is felt through your insatiable hunger. The growth of baby demands more and more nutrition from your body. By this week, baby is around five and half inches long and about 5 ounces in weight. He or she is almost the size of a bell pepper by now. Your baby is busy in kicking, tumbling, and rolling around which you might feel in this week.
One of the major developments of this week is the baby’s nervous system. Week by week, it is getting mature. Nerves are being covered with myelin so as to transfer impulses from one cell to another. Apart from the body’s nervous system, nerves in the brain are also specializing in different senses like taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. The heart is beating continuously and is now strong enough to let your doctor hear the heartbeats without prenatal stethoscope.
The hearing capability of the fetus is becoming more acute so that he is more conscious of the external sounds. The baby has mastered the art of yawning. The ultrasound scans can give you glimpses of yawning if you are lucky enough. The toe nails of the baby are developing and his skin does not transparent anymore due to the deposition of fat under it. The body was already covered with soft hair called Lanugo and now head is also showing some hair.
If you are carrying a girl, the ovaries must be developing eggs while in case of boy, prostate glands would have formed by now. The girl child would also be developing her uterus and fallopian tubes.
Most of you have already gone through second trimester ultrasound. Those who have not would be called by this week. You would be amazed to know the tremendous developments in the baby. This ultrasound can reveal the baby’s gender too but it depends on your baby whether to break the suspense or not. At times, babies hide their genitals finding it difficult to identify the gender.
Changes in the Mother’s Body
The growing uterus lied about one and half inches below your belly button which cause you to change your posture.
Another common problem you will face will be the back ache. As the uterus changes centre of gravity, the lower back is pulled forwards while the abdomen is thrust out. On top of that, pregnancy hormones relax ligaments connecting pelvic bones to spine and loosen all joints. This further aggravates the problem of backaches and pain.
Forget falling for spicy gol gappas or Chilli potato, your gut is sensitive enough to burn even with the simple foods. Heartburn persists all throughout the pregnancy and one can’t help it except following some tips like eating slowly, chew thoroughly, eat smaller meals, sit upright after eating and sleep with your head elevated. If going out in restaurants, avoid things having picture of flame in front of them.
By this week, you must have observed a significant expansion of your belly. If you want to feel your uterus, put two of your fingers just below the belly button. You will feel it. The growing belly signifies that you are constantly gaining weight. Most of the women generally gain around 13 pounds by this week but that is not the case with everyone. You can ask your doctor about the healthy weight gain.
Trips to the washroom would increase gradually as uterus exerting force on your bladder. So make you make it a habit of going washroom often especially before lying down or getting comfortable.
Pregnancy often lowers your blood pressure which leads to the dizziness. To stave off your dizziness, you must not stand or sit in one position for very long. Moreover, do not try to stand or sit too quickly. Ease your movements by acting slow.
By now, you all must have got the biggest gift of pregnancy, stretch marks. As the belly stretches itching will start. Try not to use nails for itching otherwise marks will turn permanent. You can also ask your partner to give you a light massage with moisturizer.
The varicose veins may be itching or aching in the legs. To avoid blood from pooling, try to wear supporting hose as they will apply force on the feet making your blood move upwards towards heart.
Frequent urination itself was causing sleep disturbances and now late night leg cramps may wake you up suddenly. There is no clear reason for the same but doing calf stretches may ease it somewhat.
Baby’s First Movements
From the day you conceive, you know that you are pregnant. However, you cannot feel or show the same until this week. In addition to the growing baby bump, this week you will enjoy the most desired baby movements inside your womb.
These first movements are very hard to describe as for someone; they seem like lightest of flutters while others call it an excitement in their belly. Some others mistake them with the wind moving which is less painful. You can call it tickling, whispering or butterflies moving and many others. If you want to be conscious of these activities, you need to be quiet and immovable. What I mean is just lie down or sit still for a while and observe carefully. You cannot help smiling and feel amazing with the most wonderful feeling of being pregnant.
Though, this week is common for women to observe their first baby movements but every baby shows individual developing patterns. Apart from that, not every mother could sense them so easily. So, just be calm down and wait for one or two weeks more. You will soon have the feeling of having a baby inside.
Care Tips for 18th Week
Still enjoying alcohol? If so, give it up immediately to ensure healthy baby and healthy mother. Though, some defend this by saying a certain amount of alcohol is at safe level. However, the safe level for pregnant women can only be the total abstention. Instead stack your freeze with healthy juices, mineral water, lemon juices etc.
You may suffer from pregnancy amnesia which can make you forget everything. So, jot down any queries, worries or problems before making a visit to the doctor. So, that you do not miss anything at your doctor visits.
Baby clothes and shops seem to be quite tempting. If you are trying to make a collection, remember that your baby will be gifted with a ton of tiny baby clothes. So, plan accordingly.
Healthy food and healthy lifestyle is a MUST in these weeks as the baby has developed physiologically and now, he or she will continually increase in weight. So, make sure that you increase protein content in your food as protein helps in adding mass to the body. Not doing so will result in weak baby.
Now when you have started showing and baby is increasing in size, you must develop a habit of sleeping on the left. Doing so will enhance the blood circulation to you and your baby. If not left always, try to maintain on side as lying straight may reduce blood flow to the heart making you feel dizzy.
It may be difficult for you to pass the day without a sleep. So, try to extract few minutes from your busy schedule and take that much needed power nap. Head for the conference room or some lonely place in lunch hours and use desk to nap for 15-20 minutes. This will refill you with energy and vigor.
Tip for the Partner
Just realize that growing another life is a thing of strain and your wife needs at least 30 minute in a day just for herself. Lend her your helping hand by taking care of your other children, to clean the house or to prepare dinner. She may utilize that time in the most needed activities like meditation, sleeping, reading, relaxing or exercising.
See your Options
Though, it’s too early to work on options for your delivery and type of birth but also remember it’s never too early. You must do research about the various birth options and arm yourself with lot of information.
- Try to explore two to three options of midwife led birthing centers or see if it’s the maternity nit of your hospital.
- Would you like to have home birth or water birth.
- Do you aim for vaginal delivery or C-section it’s your decision.
- Talk to your friends about their experiences of labor and birth.
- Discuss all the options with your midwife and ask for the best possible and best sited.
Just take care of yourself and monitor the signals your body is sending you. Lot more excitements are awaiting you!!