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18 Weeks Pregnant—Symptoms For Baby & Mom-To-Be, Self-Care & More

18 Weeks Pregnant

At 18 weeks pregnant, you’re almost halfway through your pregnancy journey! 

Navigating your pregnancy, especially your first, can sometimes be overwhelming. 

Fortunately, you can let go of some of that worry with the right information. 

Staying informed about your pregnancy’s progress is the best way to ease your worried mind and get the mental rest you need to have a healthy and stress-free pregnancy.

What to know at 18 weeks pregnant?

How are mother and baby doing in pregnancy week 18? How much is your baby growing, and what can you expect to experience in your body now and over the next few weeks? 

Symptoms usually change around this time, but don’t be surprised if you still get some early pregnancy symptoms occasionally. 

Your baby is growing fast, and they’re undergoing significant changes week by week.

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Your baby at 18 weeks pregnant

At 18 weeks pregnant, your baby is now around 5.5 inches long (from crown to rump) and weighs approximately 7 ounces. 

Here are some of the key developments your baby is undergoing.

Baby hair

Your baby’s hair is starting to grow on their scalp. The color and texture of the hair will typically be visible on an ultrasound.

Tiny taste buds

Your baby’s taste buds are starting to develop, so they can now taste the amniotic fluid surrounding them.

Hearing

Your baby’s ears are now fully formed, and they can hear sounds such as your voice, heartbeat, and digestive system sounds.

Face

Your baby’s face has formed; you may see it during your mid-pregnancy ultrasound in a couple of weeks.

Reflexes

Your baby is now developing reflexes such as sucking and swallowing, which will be necessary for feeding after they are born.

Protective coating

A white, waxy substance called vernix caseosa is forming on your baby’s skin. This substance will protect their skin from the amniotic fluid and prevent it from becoming too wrinkled.

Your baby’s organs and body systems mature rapidly at 18 weeks pregnant. Your body is also enduring major shifts, from pregnancy hormone fluctuations to growing in size to contractions.

Let’s check out some common pregnancy symptoms you may experience around week 18.

Your body at 18 weeks pregnant

At 18 weeks pregnant, your body undergoes many changes to support the growing baby. 

Here are some of the changes you may experience.

Growing bump

Your uterus is now about the size of a cantaloupe, and you may start to notice a visible bump – your pregnant belly.

Increased appetite

As your baby grows, you may feel hungrier than usual. Eating healthy, nutrient-rich foods supports your baby’s growth and development.

Stretch marks

As your skin stretches to accommodate your growing baby, you may notice stretch marks on your belly, breasts, or other body parts.

Back pain

As your belly grows, your center of gravity shifts, which can put extra strain on your lower back. You may experience back pain or discomfort as a result.

Braxton Hicks contractions

These mild, painless contractions may occur as your uterus prepares for labor. They are usually nothing to worry about, but you should talk to your healthcare provider if Braxton Hicks contractions become frequent or painful.

Increased vaginal discharge

You may notice an increase in vaginal discharge during pregnancy. This is due to increased blood flow to the pelvic area and is usually normal, but if you notice any unusual odor or discharge, you should talk to your healthcare provider.

Listening to your body and taking care of yourself during pregnancy is important. Get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.

18 weeks pregnant

Self-Care at 18 Weeks pregnant

Taking care of yourself during pregnancy is essential for your and your baby’s health. Here are some self-care tips that might be helpful at 18 weeks pregnant:

1. Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated is crucial during pregnancy. 

Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. 

2. Eat a healthy diet

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is essential during pregnancy. Focus on eating whole foods, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.

3. Get plenty of rest

Getting enough sleep and rest is crucial during pregnancy. Aim to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

4. Exercise regularly

Regular exercise during pregnancy can help improve your energy levels, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote better sleep. Consult your healthcare provider to determine what type and level of exercise is appropriate for you.

5. Take prenatal vitamins

Prenatal vitamins can help ensure you get all the nutrients you and your baby need during pregnancy.

6. Manage stress

Pregnancy can be stressful, and managing stress is essential for your and your baby’s health. Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, yoga, a warm bath, and meditation.

7. Practice good hygiene

Practicing good hygiene, including washing your hands regularly, can help protect you from illness and infection during pregnancy.

8. Stay informed

Stay up-to-date on your pregnancy progress and consult your healthcare provider regularly to address concerns or questions.

Remember that every pregnancy is unique; what works for one person may not work for another. Always consult your healthcare provider for personalized recommendations and advice.

What is healthy pregnancy weight gain?

Weight gain during pregnancy is natural and necessary for your baby’s development. However, gaining weight at a healthy and appropriate rate is vital to avoid complications.

The risk of complication has decreased by the second trimester, but the journey is only halfway through. 

If this is your first pregnancy, weight gain may be challenging. Your pregnant body is going through a lot of changes to support the physical development needs of your little one, so you need that extra weight and strength.

The weight you should gain during pregnancy depends on several factors, including your pre-pregnancy weight, body mass index (BMI), and overall health. 

Women who have a healthy weight before pregnancy should gain between 25-35 pounds during pregnancy.

Here is a breakdown of the recommended weight gain during pregnancy based on pre-pregnancy BMI:

  • Underweight (BMI less than 18.5): 28-40 pounds
  • Normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9): 25-35 pounds
  • Overweight (BMI 25-29.9): 15-25 pounds
  • Obese (BMI 30 or higher): 11-20 pounds

These are general guidelines, and every woman’s pregnancy is unique. Some women may need to gain more or less weight depending on their circumstances.

Additionally, gaining weight gradually and steadily throughout your pregnancy is essential. A sudden increase in weight can be a sign of gestational diabetes or other complications.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your weight gain during pregnancy. They can provide personalized recommendations and monitor your progress to ensure you and your baby are healthy.

18 weeks pregnant

FAQs at 18 Weeks pregnant

Is 18 weeks considered 5 months pregnant?

Pregnancy is typically divided into trimesters, with each trimester lasting approximately 12-14 weeks. Therefore, by the end of the 4th month of pregnancy, weeks 17-18, a woman has completed almost half of her pregnancy. 

At this point, she is starting the 5th month of pregnancy. However, some healthcare providers may consider the start of the 5th month at week 19 since that is the midpoint of pregnancy. 

Others may use different methods of counting weeks and months. 

Ultimately, what matters most is that both the mother and healthcare provider are on the same page regarding the timing and progress of the pregnancy.

How much weight should you have gained by Week 18?

The amount of weight a woman should gain during pregnancy depends on her pre-pregnancy weight and body mass index (BMI). 

However, on average, a woman should have gained between 5-10 pounds by 18 weeks pregnant. Remember that weight gain during pregnancy is not always steady and may fluctuate weekly. I

n general, a healthy weight gain during pregnancy is around:

– 1-4 pounds in the first trimester

– 1 pound per week in the second and third trimesters

However, your healthcare provider may recommend a different weight gain goal if you carry multiples or have a pre-existing medical condition. 

It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about your weight gain goals and any concerns about your weight or your baby’s growth and development.

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How can I avoid gaining too much weight during pregnancy?

Here are some tips to avoid gaining too much weight during pregnancy:

1. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Maintaining a healthy and consistent diet is important to avoid low blood sugar and keep your body a nourishing environment for your growing baby.

2. Avoid processed and high-calorie foods, such as sugary snacks, fast food, and fried foods.

3. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding sugary drinks.

4. With your doctor’s approval, exercise regularly by doing low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or prenatal yoga.

5. Get enough sleep to help regulate your appetite and metabolism.

6. Keep track of your weight gain and discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.

7. Avoid smoking, alcohol, and drugs, which can harm your baby’s health and contribute to excessive weight gain.

Remember that weight gain is a natural and necessary part of pregnancy. Still, by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can minimize the risks of complications and have a healthier pregnancy overall.

When do flutters turn into kicks?

Flutters during pregnancy are usually felt between 16-20 weeks, often described as a feeling similar to butterflies in the stomach. 

As your baby grows and develops, those flutters will eventually turn into kicks. 

Typically, you can expect to feel your baby’s first kicks between 18-25 weeks of pregnancy. However, it’s important to remember that every pregnancy is different, and some women may feel their baby’s movements earlier or later than others. 

Additionally, suppose you have an anterior placenta (a placenta that is located at the front of the uterus). In that case, it can act as a cushion, making it harder to feel those baby movements until later in the pregnancy.

If you have concerns about your baby’s movements, speaking with your healthcare provider is always best. They can advise on what to expect and when to seek medical attention.

Conclusion

Effective and loving self-care is so important during your pregnancy.

On the rest of your beautiful journey, remember to manage stress, practice good hygiene, and stay informed about your pregnancy progress.

Don’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider for any concerns or questions. They can provide personalized recommendations and monitor your progress to ensure you and your baby are healthy. 

Enjoy a happy and healthy pregnancy by prioritizing self-care and staying informed.

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