18th Week of Pregnancy
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Baby's Growth and Development at 18 Weeks Pregnant
At 18 weeks pregnant, growing is your baby’s number-one priority. Take a look at some of the developmental changes:
- This week, your baby is about 14 cm long, or about the length of a large tomato.
- Your baby’s skeleton continues to harden during the 18th week of your pregnancy. Their leg bones and inner ear bones are the first to harden.
- Your baby can now hear! They might hear your heartbeat or your tummy gurgle.
- Your baby might hear loud sounds outside the womb.
Your Changing Body at 18 Weeks Pregnant
At 18 weeks pregnant, you’ll start to experience some important milestones in your pregnancy.
- You might feel your baby start to move — little flutters — as early as the 18th week of pregnancy. This is called quickening. The next time you see your Healthcare Professional, let him or her know about any foetal movement. He or she might ask you to keep track of your baby’s movements using a kick count chart. It might be early for you and baby yet, so if you’re not feeling flutters, that could be perfectly normal.
- By your 18th week of pregnancy, you are becoming more emotionally attached to your baby. Have you started making a list of baby names?
- Hormonal changes continue, which help your baby grow and impact your digestive and other systems.
- Digestion remains slower and you might experience heartburn or constipation.
- At 18 weeks pregnant, your skin might become blotchy or darken slightly on your face. It also might darken around your nipples or navel. You might have dry or itchy skin.
- You might experience difficulty sleeping. Check out body pillows — they’re great for extra comfort while you’re sleeping.
Wellness and Nutrition at 18 Weeks Pregnant
Around the 18th week of pregnancy, you probably are seeing your Healthcare Professional for another prenatal visit.
- Your Healthcare Professional will check your weight, blood pressure, urine, and other vitals.
- Your Healthcare Professional might check your uterus and measure the height of your fundus between the 18th week of pregnancy and the 34th week.
- If you have felt your baby move, let your Healthcare Professional know when quickening began.
- Knowing when your baby started moving and the frequency of his kicks can help your Healthcare Professional do two things. Your Healthcare Professional can better estimate your baby’s foetal age and better estimate your due date.
- Depending on your medical history, age, and other information, your Healthcare Professional might talk to you about amniocentesis around the 18th week of pregnancy, a test that checks for genetic abnormalities, such as Down Syndrome.
18 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Pictures
- During this month of pregnancy, you might have an ultrasound, sometimes called a sonogram (you might already have had one).
- These pictures of your baby let you see your baby’s heart, head, brain, arms, legs, spine, genitalia, and other developing parts.
- By your 18th week of pregnancy, the ultrasound can reveal:
- Whether you’re having a girl or a boy
- Foetal age of your baby
- Location of your placenta
- Foetal position, movement, breathing, and heartbeat
- Amount of amniotic fluid
- Number of foetuses
- Length of your cervix
Benefits of Ultrasound: Why measure your baby on an ultrasound?
- To estimate baby's true age. Ultrasound measurements can be more accurate than estimating the date of your last menstrual period to determine your baby's gestational age. Women don't always remember the date of their last period, and cycles vary from woman to woman. It's why your Healthcare Professional might adjust your due date after an ultrasound.
- To check up on your baby's health. Your Healthcare Professional can combine measurements of the baby's head, abdomen, and femur to estimate baby's weight and catch any problems before they become serious.