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Your pregnancy at Week 18

Highlights: #

Your Baby at Week 18 #

Tiny fingerprints
Your baby is now one-of-a-kind with unique fingerprints on their fingertips and toes.

Nerve protection
Myelin, a protective insulation, is starting to form around your baby's nerves and will continue to grow until their first birthday.

Girl and boy parts defined
For girls, the fallopian tubes and uterus are now in the correct position. For boys, genitals may be visible on the next ultrasound.

Baby is yawning
Your baby has mastered the art of yawning and may also hiccup, which you may feel soon.

Your Body at Week 18 #

Quick growth
At 18 weeks, your baby is about the size of a cucumber, and your uterus is approximately the size of a sweet potato.

How Big Are 18-Week Bumps?
At this stage, your pregnancy belly may be noticeably pregnant as your baby and uterus are growing rapidly. Bump size can vary among women and pregnancies.

Your back aches
The shift in your center of gravity due to your growing uterus can cause lower back pain. The pregnancy hormone relaxin also loosens ligaments, leading to backaches and posture changes.

Reducing heartburn
Heartburn can be a common symptom during pregnancy. To alleviate it, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and avoid spicy or large meals. Sitting upright after eating and sleeping with your head elevated can also help.

Pregnancy Symptoms in Week 18 #

Fetal movement
You may start to feel your baby's movements in the womb around week 18. It could feel like flutters, kicks, or gas bubbles.

Bloating and gas
Tension and swallowing air can lead to bloating and gas during pregnancy. Try to relax and eat slowly to reduce discomfort.

Leg cramps
Some women experience leg cramps during pregnancy, which can be alleviated with calf stretches and, if necessary, magnesium supplements (consult your doctor first).

Bleeding gums
Pregnancy hormones can cause gums to swell, leading to bleeding. Continue regular oral hygiene practices but be gentle with your technique.

Edema (swelling in feet and ankles)
As your body accumulates extra fluid to support you and your baby, you may notice swelling in your ankles and feet. Avoid prolonged standing or sitting and elevate your legs when possible.

Stretch marks
Stretch marks may appear during pregnancy. Moisturizing lotion and gentle massages can help soothe your skin.

Things to Take Care in Week 18 #

Don’t make any sudden moves
To avoid dizziness caused by lower blood pressure during pregnancy, stand up slowly from sitting or lying down positions.

Interview pediatricians
This is a good time to interview potential pediatricians, as your baby may see the doctor shortly after birth.

Time for relaxin?
Relaxin, a hormone released during pregnancy, loosens ligaments, which can cause pelvic and hip pain.

Pump iron
Ensure you're getting enough iron in your diet, especially if you follow a plant-based diet, as iron-deficiency anemia can be a risk.

Be wary of supplements
Herbal supplements are not tested or approved by the FDA during pregnancy and may pose risks. Consult your doctor before taking any supplements.

Avoid some workout moves
Certain exercises are not suitable during pregnancy, including upside-down "bicycles," shoulder stands, deep-knee bends, back bends, jumping, and bouncing.

Get ready for tiny kicks
You may start feeling your baby's first kicks between weeks 18 and 22. The timing and sensation can vary based on several factors.

FAQs #

Question: When will I feel my baby's first movements?
Answer: You may start feeling your baby's movements between weeks 18 and 22, although some first-time moms may feel them later.

Question: How can I reduce bloating and gas during pregnancy?
Answer: Try to relax and eat slowly to reduce swallowing air, which can contribute to bloating and gas.

Question: Can I take magnesium supplements for leg cramps during pregnancy?
Answer: Before taking any supplements, including magnesium, consult your doctor to ensure they are safe for your pregnancy.

Question: Why are my gums bleeding during pregnancy?
Answer: Pregnancy hormones can cause mucous membranes to swell, leading to inflamed and bleeding gums. Continue regular oral hygiene but be gentle.

Question: What can I do to reduce swelling in my feet and ankles during pregnancy?
Answer: Avoid prolonged standing or sitting and elevate your legs when possible to reduce edema (swelling).