Welcome to the fifth month of pregnancy! At 18 weeks pregnant you’re ⅓ of the way through the second trimester and just entering pregnancy month five. Reaching pregnancy week 18 always feels like a milestone and you’re almost halfway through your pregnancy already!
Pregnancy Week 18 Guide
In this week’s guide we’ll take a look at what’s new with your baby, symptoms you might be having, and a few things to think through before your next ultrasound.
Baby’s Growth at 18 Weeks Pregnant
Your baby continues to grow at a rapid pace. In the past week she’s stretched out another half inch and put on over an ounce of weight. Baby’s currently 5.5 inches long and weighs about 6.5 ounces. That’s approximately the size of a bell pepper or artichoke.
By 18 weeks gestation, your baby is extremely active and you’ll begin feeling movements anytime (if you haven’t already). His recent skills include yawning, hiccuping, and continuing to practice his sucking and swallowing.
Baby’s ear bones are now formed and he can hear all sorts of sounds. Pregnancy week 18 is a great time for you and your partner to begin talking to baby. He’ll become accustomed to your voice and it will be familiar and comforting once he’s born.
Symptoms at 18 Weeks Pregnant
Solidly in the second trimester, you’re likely feeling a relief from much of the nausea and fatigue that plagued your first trimester. Currently pregnant with my sixth baby, I’ve felt a noticeable increase in daytime energy followed by extreme fatigue in the evenings. I combat this by doing essential tasks early in the day and heading to bed for the night shortly after my kids.
Here are some symptoms you may be experiencing this throughout pregnancy week 18:
- Increased Appetite
- Dizziness (upon standing too quickly)
- Constipation or Hemorrhoids
- Trouble Sleeping
- Round Ligament Pain
- Leg Cramps
While the above symptoms aren’t necessarily worrying, they can be bothersome. Try increasing your fluid intake, eating healthy snacks, and remember to make notes to chat with your doctor about how you're feeling at your next appointment.
Your Upcoming Ultrasound
Speaking of next appointment, you’re likely scheduled for your mid-pregnancy anatomy scan anytime in the next two weeks. This in-depth ultrasound will show you some amazing images of your newest family member. The ultrasound technician will be gathering information about:
- How your baby is growing.
- How your baby’s organs have developed.
- The development of baby’s spine and other bones
- Where the placenta is located.
- Blood flow through the umbilical cord.
- If your cervix is closed.
You’ll also have the opportunity to find out your baby’s gender (if she’s in a position to allow a peek). You’ll want to decide ahead of time whether you’d like to know if you’re carrying a boy or girl or if you want to wait until baby’s birthday.
Perhaps you want the ultrasound technician to write the news down or share it with a family member in preparation for a special gender reveal. Whatever you decide is perfect for your family, but try to know what you want before heading into your appointment.
Pregnancy Week 18 from Dad’s Perspective
The mid-pregnancy anatomy ultrasound is something you DON’T want to miss. If you were there for the first ultrasound you can forget anything you saw that resembled a small lima bean at 8-weeks in. This is now a baby that is definitely humanoid, complete with facial features that resemble what you will see in a few short months.
I never get over seeing the baby moving around on the screen, hands opening and closing, fingers and toes stretching. It’s awesome, so do everything you can to be there!
Pregnancy Week 18 Wrap-Up
This week of pregnancy has been exciting because I’m feeling more kicks and jabs as our baby moves more and gets stronger. While baby’s movement isn't consistent yet, I know within a month or so I’ll begin to recognize patterns in what portions of the day (or night) baby’s most active.
I hope you’ll join me, and my husband, on this pregnancy journey towards meeting our sixth baby.
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