Pregnancy week by week

Baby

Toddler

Week 18 of Pregnancy

This week you may be offered an anomaly scan. This is to check that your baby is developing normally. It is usually done between 18 and 22 weeks of pregnancy. This scan checks that the baby has developed normally and does not have a major “anomaly” or problem. The scan also checks the position of the placenta. Remember, scans will not detect every problem and sometimes suggest that there might be something wrong when there isn’t.



Your body

You are in the middle of the second trimester. At this time, your friends and family will tell you how good you look and that being pregnant suits you. The morning sickness has passed for most women by now and they are able to enjoy being pregnant.

Around this time, some women will experience an increased appetite. This is because your baby needs lots of nourishment for its growth and development. Make sure you eat healthy foods that are rich in fibre. Refer to our pregnancy nutrition section to get a better idea of what to eat. To ease your hunger pangs, you should have a supply of nutritious snacks on hand, such as nuts, crackers and cereal bars. This way you will be sure your body is getting the nutrients the baby needs instead of loading up on junk food that has no nutritional value.

You may be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat when the doctor examines you. Your waistline is probably expanding greatly during this week. If you take two fingers and place them just below your belly, you can feel your uterus. Not all the weight you are gaining is your baby. In fact, most of the increase is because parts of your body, such as your breasts, are getting bigger and your blood volume is increasing.

You may feel light-headed as the growing uterus presses against large veins in the back of your abdomen. Start sleeping on your side and don’t get up suddenly from the bed or chair. Other symptoms that you may experience this week are nose bleeds, leg cramps, backaches, or swollen hands or feet. Many women get indigestion, heartburn, constipation, or haemorrhoids that persist for the rest of their pregnancy. These symptoms may be keeping you up at night. Refer to our section on second trimester symptoms to get tips on how to alleviate these symptoms.

If this is your first pregnancy and your anxiety levels are up due to waiting for movements or signals from your baby, try to relax. Most women do not feel their baby’s movements until later when the baby is a bit bigger. As the following weeks come and go, you will start to feel little kicks and turns as your baby becomes bigger and more active.



Your baby




Your baby measures 14 cm and weighs 200g. Your baby is kicking, rolling, twisting, and crossing his legs, or doing somersaults. He may suck his or her thumb. His bones are still hardening. The bones of the inner ear and the nerve endings from the brain have developed enough so that your baby will hear sounds such as your heartbeat and blood moving through the umbilical cord. Your baby’s eyes are developing too. The retina may be able to detect the beam of flashlight if you hold it to your uterus. Your baby can pull complex facial expressions such as yawning and frowning. Your baby will also be able to move his hands quite intricately- clasping them together, touching the cord and sucking his fingers and thumbs.


Remember

You need to keep your blood sugar up in this condition with small snacks throughout the day. Always keep fruit juice or little snack close by. It would also be advisable to avoid standing or even sitting at one place for too long. It may make you feel like cramping. Keep changing positions frequently. If you ever feel dizzy, lie down and put your feet up. Try a simple exercise, like walking, for 20 minutes daily. You need to take special care for staying hygienic, wearing clean clothes, changing clothes if it is drenched in sweat and take more baths than before to prevent the infections.



FAQs

1) How can I help my child prepare for the new baby?

Your child may react in different ways. Some kids get excited when they hear the news while other kids get upset. It is probably because they are anxious about no longer being the centre of attention in the family. This may make them angry or jealous of the younger sibling even before he or she has arrived. There are certain things you can do to help prepare them for their new baby brother or sister.

Be honest with him so that he learns to accept the situation. Talk to him about his feelings and help him deal with them. Involve him in your pregnancy; for instance, ask him to help you out with daily chores. Make some special time to cuddle him. Encourage him to talk to the baby in your tummy. Give him some time so that he can get used to the idea of being a big brother or sister.

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