baby size of sweet potato at week 18

Hey mom-to-be, you're almost halfway through your pregnancy. This week awaits you with beautiful moments. Your baby is developing rapidly, and most of your pesky symptoms have subsided. Moreover, you might feel those baby flutters soon. Are you excited?

Read below to know all about this week!

18 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby's Development

Your 18 weeks foetus is now the size of a sweet potato. Your baby will be about 225 gms in weight and 5.5 inches in height, from crown to rump. Here's how he continues to develop:

Yawn and hiccups

Your little one has mastered the skill of yawning and hiccupping, which you might experience soon too. If you're lucky enough, you might catch a glimpse of this adorable yawn in the ultrasound scan.

Sleep

Your baby is also practising the skill of sleeping. As your baby grows, the internal clock regulating the sleep cycle throughout the day will also develop, becoming more organised.

Nervous system

At 18 weeks pregnant, your baby's nervous system is maturing rapidly. The nervous system has a network of nerves that are forming more complex connections. These nerves are covered in a substance called myelin that boosts the transfer of messages from nerve cell to nerve cell. Moreover, the nerves in the brain are developing to serve the senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.

Reproductive system

Although your baby's reproductive system is still developing, the doctor will be able to determine the gender of your baby at 18 weeks pregnant ultrasound with accuracy.

18 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms

As your 18 weeks pregnant belly grows bigger, you might experience different symptoms like:

Dizzy spells

As your heart works 40 to 50 per cent harder than during pregnancy, it puts pressure on the blood vessels along with the growing uterus. This can occasionally make you feel faint, especially when you get up quickly. Low blood sugar can also add to your dizziness. Resting frequently, lying down on your side, or eating a piece of fruit can help increase blood sugar levels and reduce dizzy spells.

Mini moves

Most expecting moms first experience foetal movements between 16 weeks and 20 weeks. So, if you missed it during the 16 and 17th week, you could feel more of a gentle flutter in your belly at around 18 weeks pregnant.

Leg cramps

You may experience leg cramps at night. Stretch your calf muscles before sleeping and try to stay well hydrated. You can also try a warm bath or shower or a massage to help relieve the pain.

Backaches and pain

You may experience aches and pains in your lower back area due to your growing belly and increasing hormonal changes.

Nasal problems

During pregnancy, a surge in hormones and increased blood volume can cause your mucous membranes to swell up. This might result in nosebleeds and congestion.

Things to Consider at the Eighteenth Week of Pregnancy

You might want to consider the following things this week:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: It is important that you and your baby get the essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids that are a crucial part of a healthy diet. Omega-3 acids help develop your little one's nervous system. Include foods like salmon or other fatty fish, flaxseed, broccoli, or walnuts in your diet.

  • Calorie intake: It is quite necessary that you increase your calorie intake healthily. Your body needs some additional calories to support your developing baby. However, you need not eat for two. Once you enter the second trimester, you can add an extra 300 calories by eating half a sandwich and a glass of skim milk, on top of an average of 2,000 calories a day.

  • Say thanks and move on: When you share the news of your pregnancy, everyone, right from your mother-in-law to office colleagues, will want to offer you pregnancy advice. We understand that unsolicited opinions can be annoying but try to take them in stride. Avoid explaining yourself to anyone; just say, "Thanks, I'll keep that in mind" and move on. Keep in mind that people wish you well and are excited for you.

  • Placenta problems: Although a rare case, the mid-pregnancy ultrasound could reveal a problem associated with the placenta. Your doctor will inform you if he suspects either placenta accreta or placenta previa. Worry not; he will advise you on the care you will be given to lower any risks associated with these conditions.

Precautions & Tips at 18th Week of Pregnancy

Here are some quick tips to pass through your 18th week smoothly:

  • Move slowly: The increased levels of progesterone increases the blood flow to your baby. This results in lower blood pressure and decreased blood flow to your brain, making you feel dizzy. Make sure you move slowly when getting up from a lying or sitting position.

  • Know your paediatrician: Utilise this time to find the best paediatrician and interview him/her. There's a good chance that the paediatrician will see your baby within 24 hours of his birth. So, make sure you ask a lot of questions related to appointment availability, hospital affiliations, vaccines, etc.

  • Prepare for relaxin: As your body releases relaxin, it loosens the ligaments that hold your bones together, resulting in pelvic and hip pain. It may even expand your feet. Although you may be cursing it now, remember this hormone will help you while pushing your baby during birth.

  • Increase iron: Getting enough iron can be difficult even for meat-eaters. So, if you are a vegan or a vegetarian, it can be more difficult. So, you can rely on foods like soy products, beans, barley, pumpkin seeds, oat bran, dried fruits, seaweed, spinach, artichokes, and blackstrap molasses.

  • Be wary of herbal supplements: Although herbal supplements look promising, avoid taking them as they may not be tested. Certain ingredients can be harmful to your baby. Make sure you avoid basil oil, clove oil, sassafras, wild yam, black or blue cohosh, and many others as they dangerous during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor before taking any pill.

  • Avoid certain workout moves: Not all exercises are pregnancy-safe. Upside-down bicycles, shoulder stands, flat-on-your-back positions, deep-knee bends, backbends, bouncing, and jumping are not safe during pregnancy.

  • Prepare for tiny kicks: Get ready for experiencing your baby's first little kicks between 18 and 22 weeks. Sometimes, it can also be as late as 23 or 24 weeks in case of first-time pregnancies. You may simply feel flutters, the most insistent slug, or gas bubbles when your little one kicks, punches, or rolls over.

  • Pamper yourself: Taking some time off during pregnancy is essential. Try spending few hours of your day with your partner and friends. You can book an appointment for a spa or nail salon. Get some prenatal massage, a nice haircut, manicure or pedicure to feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Make sure you talk to your doctor before getting any nail or hair treatment done to know which chemicals are risky.

At Your Doctor's Office

Here's what you can expect at the upcoming prenatal visit:

  • Ultrasound: The big, mid-week pregnancy ultrasound is known by different names, like second-trimester ultrasound, anatomy screen, foetal anatomy survey, structural ultrasound, or level 2 ultrasound. It will provide detailed information about your baby to your doctor. It consists of examining the baby's body – head, brain, face, neck, arms, chest, heart, spine, abdomen, kidneys, bladder, reproductive organs, and legs. It also measures the umbilical cord, the placenta, and amniotic fluid. Your doctor will also determine the gender of your baby in this ultrasound.

  • Questions: It is crucial to ask your doctor questions related to your pregnancy. Here's what you can ask:

  • Is your baby's position and movement level on track at 18 weeks pregnant?

  • Do the genetic tests offered in this trimester have any benefits and risks?

  • Is the maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (MSAFP) screening test recommended for me?

  • When is the mid-pregnancy ultrasound exam scheduled?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • At 18 weeks pregnant, you might experience dizzy spells, leg cramps, nasal problems, back pain, and baby flutters.

  • Yes, 18 weeks pregnant is considered as 5 months pregnant.

  • At 18 weeks, your baby will be about 1.5 inches below your belly button.

  • After the first trimester, the chance of miscarriage gradually minimises.


    As your baby is growing, he is moving all around inside your womb. So, be prepared to feel some of those moves soon. If didn't get a glimpse of your little one moving through the ultrasound this week, worry not; you will get the chance in the next few weeks.