18 Weeks Pregnant: The 18th Week of Pregnancy
What changes are occurring with your body?
Your figure is continuing to change, and most people can recognize that you are pregnant, especially if you are wearing maternity clothes. However, there are many other changes that are occurring that no one can see. Your cardiovascular system is affected by your pregnancy, and you may experience low blood pressure. This is why it is important to make sure you go from a lying/sitting position to a standing position slowly. This decreases the amount of dizziness that you may experience.
How big is your baby?
Your baby is now about 6.29 inches (16 cm) long and weighs 5 ½ ounces (.16 kg).*
What is happening with your baby?
A protective covering called myelin is beginning to form around your baby’s nerves. This covering will continue to form up until your baby’s first birthday. If you are having a little girl, her fallopian tubes and uterus have positioned themselves into the correct place. If you are having a little boy, his genitals may be noticed on your next ultrasound. However, it is oftentimes difficult to see the genitals, so don’t be surprised if you can’t see them yet.
What should you plan for this week?
Many of you are looking forward to your third prenatal visit. This visit will consist of a couple of different procedures. You may be offered a regular sonogram or a level II sonogram. A level II sonogram is simply an ultrasound that looks at a particular part of the baby’s development. It allows your healthcare provider to visualize more details like the chambers of the heart. Aside from the advanced technology, it is similar to a level I sonogram. You will also most likely have a Maternal Serum Alpha-Fetoprotein Screening (MSAFP) or Alpha-Fetoprotein Test (AFP) during this visit. MSAFP is a screening test that examines the level of alpha-fetoprotein in the mother’s blood during pregnancy. This is not a diagnostic test. It is often part of the triple test screening that assesses whether further diagnostic testing may be needed.
Tips for making your pregnancy better:
Many pregnant women find it difficult to get through the day without a nap. If you are a stay at home mom, take advantage of when your other children are napping. If your children are older and no longer take naps, try scheduling “down” time in the afternoon when you can get a few minutes to rest. If you are working, try to squeeze in a few minutes when you can take a short nap. If you have a private office, shut the door for 15 minutes for some privacy. Other people find it easier to go into a conference room or even their cars to get a quick cat nap. Just set an alarm so you do not oversleep.
Tips for mom’s partner
The pregnant woman in your life is probably feeling the strain of nourishing and growing another human life inside her. If she is working or caring for other children, remember that she may need a 30-minute break just for herself each day. Offer to watch the other children or fend for yourself for dinner so she feels she can take some “obligation free” time alone each day. She may use this time to meditate, sleep, bathe, or exercise, but just knowing that she will have time to rest can make the day seem a little easier to handle.
Last Updated: 07/2015