Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week: Week Eighteen

Your baby is now similar in size to a bell pepper. She’ll weight about 200g and measure 14cm long.

 

Your baby

Her lungs are developing air sacs, which will help your baby to take in oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide once she is born and is breathing by herself.

She is moving around, somersaulting and crossing and uncrossing her legs. But there are also now periods when she is resting so you’ll find there are quiet and busy times. If you are feeling your baby’s movements already you might start to notice a pattern as to when these quiet and busy times occur.

Her bones are ossifying, which means the flexible cartilage scaffolding is continuing to be filled in with calcium, which makes them hard. The bones in her legs and the tiny bones of her inner ear are among the first to develop.

If you are having a little girl, she will already be developing eggs in her ovaries at 18 weeks, and if you’re having a boy, his genitals are now formed and in place.

 

You

As mentioned above, you might start feeling your baby as she practises kicking and flexing her tiny limbs. It can be very reassuring to feel your baby move but don’t worry if it’s not happening yet – it may be up to six more weeks before you do especially if this is your first baby.

You’ll probably have the date for your anomaly scan, which will take place in next couple of weeks. The sonographer will make sure your baby’s organs are as they should be, and that your placenta is healthy and in the correct place. You should be able to find out the sex of your baby at the scan. If you don’t want to know, make sure you tell the sonographer!

If you see yellow stains in your bra, don’t worry – it is probably a little colostrum. This is the first milk you will produce, and your breasts can make it as early as week 14. It’s time to buy some absorbent breast pads!

Leg cramps: If you’re finding yourself being woken up at night with shooting pains in your claves, rest assured this is also normal. Experts aren’t sure what causes this, but recommend trying calf stretches before bed to alleviate the symptoms.

You are more susceptible to colds and flu now so make sure you keep hygiene at the forefront of your mind – wash your hands often, avoid sharing drinks and keep away from people with colds.

Many migraine sufferers notice a huge improvement in pregnancy and women who have frequent headaches find they often disappear in the second trimester. However, some unlucky mums-to-be continue to get them well into the third trimester. You can take paracetamol but speak to your midwife about medications as many can be harmful to your baby.

 

Your partner

It’s such an exciting time – if you attend the anomaly scan, you’ll be able to see your baby on the screen. Don’t miss out on the experience!

Has your partner thought about her hospital bag yet? Research what she needs and make a list to discuss with her.

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