Your Baby is the size of a

Bell Pepper

About the size of a bell pepper, your baby’s skeleton is almost completely hardened bone. And … your little one’s genitals are noticeable! If you have an ultrasound scheduled this week, and if your baby isn’t curled up or otherwise hiding their private parts, you’ll be able to discover if you’re having a boy or a girl.

Week 18

Length : 14.2 cm

Weight : 190 g

Week 18
Length : 14.2 cm
Weight : 190 g

Your Baby is the size of a

Bell Pepper

About the size of a bell pepper, your baby’s skeleton is almost completely hardened bone. And … your little one’s genitals are noticeable! If you have an ultrasound scheduled this week, and if your baby isn’t curled up or otherwise hiding their private parts, you’ll be able to discover if you’re having a boy or a girl.

Once upon a time, your baby's skeleton was made of flexible cartilage. But by week 18, their skeleton has evolved, and the bone is almost completely hardened. Their nerves are acquiring a protective sheath of myelin, a whitish mixture of proteins and phospholipids that cover and insulate nerve fibers – the nervous system's "wires" – increasing the speed of communication between neurons and the rate at which impulses are controlled.

Your baby's thin, transparent skin is also developing a protective layer of vernix caseosa, which is a naturally occurring biofilm that looks a bit like white, greasy, creamy cheese. This substance shields your little one's developing epidermis and dermis from the amniotic fluid and provides a little slip-and-slide support for an easier delivery!

This week, your little one's genitals are noticeable! If you have an ultrasound scheduled and your baby cooperates and isn’t curled up or hiding their private parts, you'll be able to discover if you're having a boy or a girl! It depends on the fetal position and whether the organs are visible during the ultrasound. If you’re having a boy, his little business will be visible. If you are having a girl, her uterus is fully formed and in the proper place, along with her fallopian tubes. On the ultrasound, her lady bits might look like three lines or like a tiny hamburger.

In addition to possibly distinguishing your baby's gender, this ultrasound will examine the fetal heart rate, placenta location, and amniotic fluid. Your little one's organs and growth rate will be looked at, too, making sure all fetal development is on track. The ultrasound might show a membrane separating the two fetuses if you're having twins. You may even see how their little stretches and squirms push fluid around, shifting the membrane!


​​Are you comparing your belly to other pregnant bellies? Remember every body and every pregnancy is different. Height, shape, genetics, and pre-pregnancy weight all play a role in determining the size, placement, and timing of your baby bump. At each prenatal appointment, your midwife or doctor should be tracking growth and development. They will let you know if there’s anything to be concerned about.

At 18 weeks, the extra fluids you’re carrying around all day are supporting your pregnant body … and possibly causing a bit of swelling in your feet and ankles. This phenomenon, called edema, is caused by the fluid collecting in your body’s cavities and tissues and – thank you, gravity – amalgamating at the ground. Keep your feet elevated whenever possible. Propping your feet up with a pillow every now and again can work like magic to bring the swelling down. 

Another magic trick would be if your partner put their hands on your ankles and feet with a little rub-a-dub-dub action. While this puffy inconvenience is totally normal, you should keep an eye on it. If you are concerned at all, talk with your midwife or medical practitioner about it.

This week you may also contend with finding a comfortable position to sleep in. If you are not getting a good night’s sleep, grab that same pillow you’re using for your feet and prop yourself into restful slumber. Many women find pregnancy pillows and body pillows exceptionally helpful for side-sleeping. Stretch your body, before getting in bed, to relax your mind and muscles. Calming poses, like child’s pose, can also help to alleviate any lower back or hip pains.          

Your mind is busily preparing for your new arrival, your body is busy growing a human being, and in the middle of all that are aches, pains, pimples, and... gas. The ups and downs of pregnancy are exhausting, but once you're holding that bundle of joy and staring into those perfect, trusting eyes, it will all be entirely worth it. Below is a list of symptoms you might experience this week.

Baby kicks: your baby’s movements are becoming less responsive and more purposeful! As the part of their brain responsible for movement develops you may notice more patterns in when and how your baby moves. 

Sleep complications: between getting up to use the bathroom, leg cramps, shortness of breath, and even heartburn– you may be struggling to get a decent amount of sleep during the night. 

Swollen ankles and feet: some swelling is normal and expected during pregnancy, but it’s best to keep an eye on any sudden changes so your healthcare provider can ensure there isn’t anything to be concerned about.

Backaches, headaches, and hip pain (oh my!): aches and pains are an uncomfortable, albeit normal, part of pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about safe pain relief options that may offer some comfort.

Clumsiness: if you find yourself falling off-balance a little more than usual, you are not alone! Your expanding belly causes a dramatic shift in your center of gravity, which can cause increased clumsiness. 

Heartburn, indigestion, and/or gas: as your baby continues to grow and press on internal organs, your digestive system is likely to feel the impact of cramped quarters. This, paired with continuing hormone fluctuations can result in heartburn or indigestion. Talk to your medical care provider about options for relief if you’re feeling too uncomfortable.

Pregnant dreams: vivid dreams can be some of the more interesting pregnancy symptoms. While the cause is unknown it may have something to do with hormones, or the fact that nausea or frequent urination means you are not sleeping as deeply and can remember your dreams more easily. 

Acne: while some individuals are basking in clear skin and pregnancy glow, others may be experiencing Increased acne. Even though you may not have had a break-out since high school, acne is common during pregnancy for the same reason it’s often seen during puberty– hormones!

Stretch marks: there are many skin changes throughout pregnancy, and itchy stretch marks is just one of them! As your baby continues to grow and your body grows to accommodate, your skin may experience stretching, leaving marks and causing discomfort. You can utilize lotions and creams to soothe irritated skin; but stretch marks are largely genetic and not something you should feel guilty for not “preventing”. 

Weight gain: it is impossible to sustain a growing baby without some degree of weight gain. If you are concerned about whether or not your weight gain is in the normal range (or too much/little) talk to your doctor so they can advise you.

Sensitive and/or itchy skin: hormone fluctuations and stretching from growth can both cause itchy skin. Staying hydrated and using moisturizer are the best ways to combat this symptom during pregnancy. Avoid being in the sun for extended periods of time, and wear sunscreen when you are outside.          

Have you signed up for a childbirth class yet? If you are thinking about it, it's not too soon to start looking at what's offered near you. Limited class sizes tend to fill up more quickly than you'd expect. Some classes will last a couple of days, while others span over a couple of weeks or months. Do your research before deciding which birthing style is best for you. There are many techniques, such as Hypnobirthing, water birthing, the Alexander Technique, and the two most common types: the Lamaze Technique and the Bradley Method.

The Lamaze Technique teaches that childbirth is a normal, natural, and healthy process. It empowers individuals and families through education and support. This method should help you approach childbirth with confidence and explores ways to find strength, or comfort, during delivery, using various techniques for relaxation and eliminating counterproductive responses (like tensing up).

The Bradley Method emphasizes having a natural childbirth alongside the active participation of your partner. Traditionally, this course is given in 12 sessions and focuses on nutrition, exercise, and techniques for relaxation, and highlights the importance of trusting your instincts during childbirth. The Bradley method also encourages and is highly supportive of breastfeeding.

Write in your pregnancy journal - what do you think you are having? A boy? A girl? Write down your prediction!

By week 18, you’re probably anxiously awaiting your upcoming prenatal appointment. An ultrasound is usually scheduled sometime between weeks 18 and 20. Your OB will use this time to check your baby's growth, fluid levels, heart rate, and movement, look for any abnormalities, AND determine the gender of your little one! You should be able to bring your partner, or any one person, with you. You should also be able to get photos and/or a video of the ultrasound. Check with your midwife or doctor to see what the office policies are, regarding this special, revealing ultrasound.

Should you find out the gender? There are reasons for and against finding out the gender at this point in time. Knowing ahead of time can allow for nursery personalization, gender-specific name selections, toys, and clothing, and gives you the ability to genuinely picture what life after childbirth might look like. Alternatively, keeping your little one's gender a surprise builds suspense and gives parents something truly exciting to look forward to, which could color the delivery of baby number two or three pretty. You and your partner should come together when determining which path is right for both of you. And it's possible your baby will make the decision for you, because if he or she isn't ready to reveal their private parts, the most practiced sonographer won't be able to uncross those little legs.

If your baby is uncooperative, or if you just want to see more, you might choose to get a private, 3D ultrasound. This more expensive photoshoot can be tempting, especially if your doctor-ordered ultrasound revealed less than you'd hoped for. Speak with your doctor about your options before investing money in a keepsake like this.

At a Glance

  • See the light: Your baby’s eyes are moving to their final position in the front of their face. They may even begin to detect light!
  • Put your feet up: Some swelling in your hands and feet is normal, but you will want to be sure your healthcare provider is aware.
  • Pack some snacks: Eating small, frequent meals will ensure you keep a healthy blood sugar level and don’t get too hungry!
  • Baby face: You may now be able to identify facial features such as eyelashes, fingernails, and even hair on your baby’s ultrasound.
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2nd Trimester

Louise Broadbridge

Expert Midwife

Hi, my name is Louise, I am a registered senior midwife, founder of Let's Talk Birth and Baby antenatal classes and the face behind instagram's The Honest Midwife. I have taught over 100,000 expectant parents since starting my antenatal classes which have 5* reviews.

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The information on the Your Baby Club website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always discuss any health concerns with a qualified healthcare provider and carefully review all guidance that comes with any medications or supplements before taking.