Your Pregnancy: Week 18

Pregnancy week by week: You are 18 weeks pregnant


Your Body

It may be difficult to comprehend but your uterus is about the size of a cantaloupe! Your pregnant belly is more pronounced now and probably eliciting attention from many people, including well-meaning strangers. Touchy-feely interest in your burgeoning tummy will only intensify in the coming months so you’re well within your rights to politely say, “Hands off” if you feel uneasy.

Have you felt baby move yet? It may take some time for you to recognize the sensation, particularly if you are a first-time mom: fluttering (“butterflies”) or gentle tapping above your pubic bone, referred to as “quickening,” are sometimes so faint they are confused for gas or muscle twitches. Give it a couple more weeks and by then you will feel the bona fide proof that a life is growing inside of you!

As the fetus’ soft cartilage hardens into bone, it is especially important to eat a pregnancy diet rich in calcium (1,000 milligrams/day) and vitamin D (it’s essential for proper absorption of calcium). Whole milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, fatty fishes and fortified soy beverages are excellent sources.

Don’t be alarmed: pins-and-needles or numbness in your hands and feet — short-lived carpal tunnel syndrome — could mean swollen tissue is pressing against key nerves in your extremities.

Baby’s World

From the top of her head to her bottom, she measures 12.5 to 14 cm. (4.9 – 5.5 in.) and weighs 150 g (0.33 lb.); she’s the size of a pepper. She’s building her reflexes by blinking sucking, swallowing and yawning. Loud or sudden noises startle her, and she can hear her noisy internal world: mom’s rumbling stomach, powerful heartbeat and blood running through the umbilical cord. By this week, a girl’s uterus and Fallopian tubes are full-grown and a male’s genitals can be seen in an ultrasound. Meconium, her first stool after delivery, is being made in her intestinal tract and collecting in her bowels.

Fun Fact

Vernix, a pasty, white substance coats baby around week 18 and forms a protective barrier against the wrinkling effects of amniotic fluid. Without it, her skin would be chapped and wrinkled at birth.

Week 17     Week 19

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