Pregnancy Week By Week : 18 Weeks Pregnant - What To Expect
Is your back beginning to hurt severely? It is quite an unavoidable situation right now. But there i...
During week 18 of your pregnancy, your little one has perfected another important skill that will help you understand t need to sleep. Your baby has mastered yawning and has also started hiccupping. All these can be witnessed, if you are lucky and if your baby is in the mood to display its newly acquired skills during your ultrasound scanning.
You can feel your baby's movements
If you have been waiting eagerly to feel those tiny arms and legs kicking and punching, your wait is almost over this week. You may feel sudden movements in your womb as your baby is now big and strong enough to make its presence felt.
Myelin covering on nerve cells
Your baby's nervous system is undergoing rapid development this week. It is maturing at a rapid pace. The nerve cells are now able to form complex connections to send messages across the body, thanks to the myelin sheath. This is a covering on the nerves that enable the exchange of messages to and from the nerves and muscles in the body.
Along with the nervous system, the brain is also maturing. The five primary human senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing are becoming more prominent. By week 18, your baby's hearing has become sharper and it can listen to your voice and get startled at loud noises.
Your baby who was a just a bunch of microscopic cells a few months ago has grown quite big now. It is almost the size of a sweet potato. The little one measures 5 to 6 inches this week and weighs anywhere between 5 ounces to 6 and a half ounces.
Body Changes & Common Symptoms
The size of your uterus: Your pregnancy is now fully visible to the world around you. People are no more mistaking your weight gain for overeating. Thanks to your uterus, you look bigger than your usual size. Your womb has grown to the size of a cantaloupe or a melon by this time. You can feel your uterus easily if you hold two fingers an inch and a half below your belly button.
Pain in the lower back: As explained at week 17, this week as well you may experience a severe lower back pain because of the pressure exerted by your uterus. There is a shift in your center of gravity and your lower back takes the burden. Hence the back pain. It is advisable to always have a back support while sitting and to avoid standing on your feet for long.
The heartburn returns: If your acidity and heartburn were at bay for the last few weeks, they may make a comeback now. The hormone relaxin tends to loosen the ligaments and muscles around your pelvic area and stomach. Therefore the earlier digestive problems recur causing heartburn. Pregnancy–friendly antacids are recommended but always speak to your gynecologist before gulping down any medicine.
Swelling in the feet: At this stage of your pregnancy, sometimes earlier or later for some women, there is swelling in your ankles and feet. This is called edema and it is caused due to fluid accumulation in the extremities. As the body requires more fluid during pregnancy, a lot of it often gathers around the feet because of gravity. This pool of fluid causes the swelling. A good way to combat this is to keep your feet up on a stool or leg rest while sitting. A relaxing oil massage may also help.
- Avoid quick movements: As pregnant women tend to have lower blood pressure, there is a feeling of dizziness. In order to avoid losing balance or fainting, it is advisable to be careful about sudden movements such as getting up from the chair, sitting up from a supine position, walking fast, and sitting on the ground and so on.
- Oil massage: You would have already noticed the appearance of stretch marks on your belly. This is totally expected. So instead of feeling distressed about the marks, treat them as a badge of motherhood. However, if you want to combat them and make them lighter, start massaging the area with coconut or olive oil regularly. You can also consult with your doctor and apply oil that is specifically meant for stretch marks. There is no guarantee that you will get rid of them completely, but the severity will definitely be lesser than if you don't apply anything. Also, regular oil massage will make you feel relaxed and the warmth will provide the comfort for your stubborn cramps and back pain.
- Don't panic if you can't feel fetal movements: Many women do not feel baby movements until the 23rd week of their pregnancy. So do not get worked up if you cannot feel the kicks yet. At this phase of your pregnancy, the movements, if any will be less in frequency. You may miss it a few times amidst your daily chores. As long as your ultrasound for the month shows healthy growth, there is no need for any worries.
Savor this special time in your life and enjoy every single day of your pregnancy.
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