This is the week when it`s very possible for your appetite to start increasing considerably, and your waistline won`t fool anyone anymore because it will become clear that you are pregnant. Try to eat only healthy food and keep in mind that everything you eat or drink will reach the baby. Furthermore, this isn`t the right moment to think about your diet or losing weight. You should especially avoid consuming heavy food which isn`t good for the fetus.
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What to Do?
Unhealthy food can be replaced by a diet based on fruits and vegetables combined with physical exercises and walking. Try to avoid staying on your back in the last 2 trimesters of pregnancy because the uterus will sit on the inferior vena cava which ensures the blood circulation from the heart towards the inferior part of the body. It`s better when you lie on the bed to sit either on your right or left because this way you`ll improve your blood circulation and prevent the compression of the inferior vena cava.
During this week, the cardiovascular system passes through certain changes, and the blood pressure might be normal. Therefore, if you`ll get out of bed too quickly, you may feel dizzy. If you didn`t made an ultrasound yet, now will be a right time to do it because you`ll find out how well developed is the baby, if he has any health issues or if you have a multiple pregnancy.
Even if you are a future mother that is working, it`s important to take breaks to rest and eventually to take small naps every now and then to relax and avoid stress.
18 Weeks Pregnant: The Development of the Baby
During the 18th week of pregnancy, the baby continues to grow and develop layers of fat. Still, its development will be slower than during previous weeks. Now, possible heart issues of the baby can be detected with an ultrasound, and if there are any, there`ll be further investigations by making other tests.
Even though now he`s more developed, there`s still enough room in the uterus for the baby to be active and move freely, taking breaks in timeframes when he`ll rest. Moreover, when the baby is more active, he might stay with one leg over the other or he may even stir.
The fetus will become more sensitive to sounds once the bones of his internal ear will strengthen, and part of the brain responsible with the hearing will develop. The little one will become, step by step, more familiarized with the sounds that keep repeating around him, such as your heart beats, the voices of people around, sounds caused by daily activities or blood circulating through the umbilical cord.
If you have a stethoscope at your home, you can check your baby`s pulse on your own. Moreover, the little one is busy with folding his hands or legs, reason for which his movements will be much easier to feel. A protective layer of myelin starts to form around the nerves, a layer that will continue to develop for one more year after birth. If the baby is a girl, now the uterus and fallopian tubes are already formed and in their place.
Changes within the Mother`s Body
During this period you can feel your uterus at around 2 fingers below your navel. Because your uterus is now larger, your urination will be more frequent and it will be best if you make it a habit to go to the toilet before going to sleep. Due to delayed reactions of the vascular system, postural hypotension can cause dizziness. This situation can be improved by changing your position from time to time regardless if you sit or stand.
Your breasts will suffer significant changes and will become more sensitive, bigger and areolas will start to darken. Some women may have issues with their digestion or will be constipated. Indigestion can lead to burning around the chest or headaches. If you haven`t given up yet to tight clothing, you may experience itching. Also, you could also have stretch marks which can be treated with wrinkle cream.
What to Expect?
During this period you`ll be eager to feel your baby`s movements. You want to see if your baby starts to send you any signals, and most women consider the first movements of their baby as an encouraging sign that their baby is healthy. The first movements could start between weeks 18 and 22. However, if this doesn`t happen, this isn`t really a reason for concern since all pregnancies are different in their own way. On the other hand, if you have your abdominal muscles well developed or you have gained a lot of weight, these movements can become barely noticeable.
By now you have most likely made an ultrasound and you know if you have only one child or a multiple pregnancy. Some time ago, only 1 out of 100 women had a multiple pregnancy, while now the statistics show that 1 out of 50 women is in such a situation. A reason for this is mostly because of the many fertility treatments that there are today, but also because of the rising average age of women giving birth for the first time. But also teenagers are prone to multiple pregnancies, and premature births are more frequent at pregnancy with 2 or more babies.
To maintain your energy you should consume food rich in fibers, lots of dry fruits and snacks rich in proteins, such as vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, soy milk or low-fat cheese.