Your Pregnancy at Week 18

Your Pregnancy at Week 18

Can you feel your baby dancing yet?

Week 18

your baby this week:

Once upon a time, your baby's skeleton was made of flexible cartilage. But by week 18, their skeleton has evolved and is almost completely hardened bone. Their nerves are acquiring a protective sheath of myelin, a whiteish 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 if your baby cooperates and 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! It just depends on the fetal position, whether or not 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 certain all fetal development is on track. If you're having twins, the ultrasound might show a membrane separating the two fetuses. You may even see how their little stretches and squirms are pushing fluid around, shifting the membrane!

your body:

You may have started to notice that your hands and feet are a little puffy - especially towards the end of the day or in hot weather. This is quite normal but shouldn't be excessive. This is down to the excess fluid your body will be holding onto. If you are worried that you may be swelling up more than is considered normal, contact your midwife.

This week may be also around the time that you start to experience some discomfort in your pelvic area, while your muscles and ligaments start to relax due to a hormone called 'relaxin'. In addition, as your bump grows, you may be altering your posture slightly and will be unable to comfortably lay on your back. Consider signing up to a prenatal Pilates or yoga class, which can really help strengthen your muscles and keep your joints functioning with ease.

If pain persists, it may be worth seeing a physiotherapist or osteopath to get some help with your skeletal alignment and muscle strain to ease your pain.

Louise Broadbridge - Our Expert Midwife

Hi, my name is Louise, I am a Registered Midwife, founder of Let's Talk Birth and Baby and the face behind Instagram's The Honest Midwife. I have worked in health settings for the past 30 years, the majority of which have been working in children and family settings.

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your tips & to do's:

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 women 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.

your symptoms

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
  • Sleep complications
  • Swollen ankles and feet
  • Backaches, headaches, and hip pain (oh my!)
  • Clumsiness
  • Heartburn, indigestion, and/or gas
  • Pregnant dreams
  • Acne
  • Stretch marks
  • Weight gain
  • Sensitive and/or itchy skin

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Our Top Rated Products to Buy This Week

Burt's Bees® Mama Pregnancy Lotion - pack of 3

Designed for mamas, nourish your belly before and after pregnancy with this rich, moisturizing Burt's Bees Belly Butter.

Momcozy Pregnancy Pillows

Momcozy maternity pillow is specifically designed to accommodate the contours of the pregnant body.

Pearhead® Gender Reveal Balloon Kit

Reveal the gender of your little one to your friends and family with the Pearhead Gender Reveal Balloon Kit.

Maternity Tank Tops for Women

The tank top is super soft and comfortable suitable for human skin which will care for you during pregnancy.

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Articles shown are a mixture of informative pieces, anecdotal accounts and professional advice from our panel of Bloggers, Writers and Experts. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official view of this site.