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Week 18 Pregnancy (2nd Trimester): Symptoms, Baby Development (Size & Weight), and More

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It is the 18th week of your pregnancy, and this week, your baby’s unique fingerprints are ready to be imprinted. With the new movements of the baby, such as hiccuping and yawning seen, the baby’s movements are first recorded or experienced by the mother this week.

The baby’s tiny nerves can transmit messages faster from now on. Thanks to the myelin coating around them. In the case of a to-be-mother, you can experience low blood pressure due to the expanding circulatory system and blood vessel dilation.

This article will give you insights on things to be considered while we deeply scout into the pregnancy symptoms and fetal developments this week. 

Also Read: Week 17 Pregnancy (2nd Trimester): Symptoms, Baby Development (Size & Weight), and More

Baby’s Development @ Week 18 of Pregnancy

At week 18 of pregnancy, the baby is as big as a sweet red bell pepper, not weighing less than 185 gms, and the baby’s height from the head to bottom is around 14 to 14.2 cm. 

Let’s understand more about the other developments of the baby taking place this week.

Unique fingerprints 

For every parent, their child is unique and one-of-a-kind. The curls and wrinkles of the baby’s palms-its fingerprints are finally formed this week, assuring the parents-to-be that their child is truly unique. 

Also Read: Leg Pain During Early Pregnancy: What does it indicate, and how can you reduce it? 

Nerves get myelin covering.

The nerves of the baby’s nervous system are covered by myelin. Myelin speeds up the message transmission between the nerve cells. However, this activity of myelin coating is a long process that continues even after birth

Baby’s reflexes are getting stronger.

The baby learns new movements such as yawning and hiccups. The other reflexes such as swallowing, sucking, feeling, hearing are seen this week, and the mother can feel a few of these movements. 

The other development seen in your baby is the prostate glands development (in baby boys), and the baby girls will be developing their uterus and fallopian tubes. 

Also Read: NT NB Scan During Pregnancy: What is It, When is It Done, What Will You Find Out from the Scan?

Mom-to-be @ Week 18 of Pregnancy

This week, you can feel the bubbling and fluttering movements within you. This can probably be the baby’s arms and legs moving inside the womb. But, do not panic even if you do not feel any of these movements. You can experience them in the weeks to come. The pregnancy symptoms to-be-mothers are likely to deal with this week are;

  • Increasing appetite and unpredictable food cravings
  • With the changes within the circulatory system, increasing blood volume, and expanding blood vessels, the blood pressure can fall, causing dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • The feet can seem bigger due to swelling and water retention, known as edema
  • The pregnancy hormone relaxin can lead to loosening of the ligaments of the feet, causing a spread of foot bones.
  • Leg cramps and backaches
  • Increasing blood volumes and surging hormones cause the swelling up of mucus membranes, and you may experience nosebleeds and congestion. 

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Things to consider at Week 18 of Pregnancy

As pregnancy advances, the uterus, the baby grows, and even the pregnancy belly becomes evident. Not to forget that every pregnancy is different, and the baby bump size depends on the weight gained by the baby, the mother’s height, build, and many more. However, irrespective of how big the popping baby bump is, ensuring a healthy pregnancy and growth is essential. Some of the aspects to be taken care of this week include;

  • Consider having warm baths, hot showers, keeping your leg at an elevated position, or having a massage to alleviate the leg cramps.
  • Rest frequently, lie down when you feel dizzy or lightheaded, take more frequent meals, fruits, juices to help manage low blood pressure.
  • Diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as flax seeds, broccoli, walnuts, fatty fish, or salmon is essential to help improve immunity, support fetal nervous system development, and help manage depression. 
  • Do not make sudden moves; Get up slowly from a sitting or lying position.
  • Foods such as soy products, spinach, fruits, barley, oats, pumpkin seeds are packed with iron. Iron supplements and foods with iron can help decrease the risk of iron deficiency or anemia in pregnant mothers and the fetus. 
  • Be wary of supplements. Dietary and herbal supplements are natural, effective, and a great nutrient-supplier. But, when it comes to pregnancy, certain natural herbal products can lead to complications or risks. And so, it is always advised to check with your doctor before you self-medicate or use any external non-prescribed supplement during pregnancy. 

How do I understand if the baby is moving or a gas?

Sometime between week 16 to week 20 of pregnancy, you can begin to feel the small momentary actions of your baby. You may feel fluttering butterfly-like movements entirely different from a gas uneasiness. 

Conclusion

At week 18 of pregnancy, the nerves and nervous system get in shape. You will need to ensure a good amount of nutrient and mineral intake for the baby. This week you can record the initial movements of the baby, and from now on, you can officially feel your baby moving within your uterine cavity. For any assistance or abnormalities, contact your doctor as early as possible.

Reference

Overview |NHS

Pooja N Swamy (M.Sc Biomedical Sciences)
Pooja Holds Master's Degree in Biomedical Sciences from Vellore Institute of Technology. She believes in strong research and clear understanding over the subject. Always determined and focussed with a thirst to learn new things. Hardworking, flexible and grounded to align with the goals.

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