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Welcome to Week 18

This is an important week for you and your baby. Your baby’s major organs are all developed and fully functional by now. As for you, it’s almost time for another ultrasound (in the next few weeks) and another glimpse of your baby.

Update on Your Body

By now, your uterus is about the size of a cantaloupe and reaches just below your navel. Your heart is working 40-50% harder than before to adjust to the new requirements of your body and baby. This may cause bouts of low blood pressure, resulting in dizziness. Your body will have changed considerably by now and you must have a visible baby bump too. You have likely already felt your baby move, and as your baby grows, you will feel these movements more often.

Update on Your Baby

Your baby’s nerves are beginning to be covered by a protective layer known as myelin. This process will continue until your baby turns a year old. If you are having a little girl, her uterus and fallopian tubes are positioned in the correct place by now, whereas if you’re having a boy, his genitals should have already formed and developed by this point. Your baby can suck, swallow and even hiccup this week. He or she is capable of facial expressions like frowning and yawning and responds to light by moving away. Your baby can also recognise sweet and bitter tastes, as the taste buds are well developed.

Your Baby’s Size

5.6 inches, or the size of an artichoke.

Tips for an Expectant Mom

Dos

You may be advised by your doctor to seek an anomaly scan between weeks 18 and 20. This scan checks if all your baby’s organs are in shape and functioning. It also monitors the heartbeat and checks if all the chambers of the heart are developed.Try and get an afternoon nap to tide you through the day. If you have older children, take your nap when they nap. If you work, try getting a short nap at your desk or in your cubicle after lunchtime.Some women experience round ligament pain during the second trimester due to stretching of the round ligament that connects the uterus to the groin. This pain is described as a sudden jabbing, often felt in the lower abdomen or groin area, and usually triggered by sudden movements, coughing, sneezing, or during exercise. Although this pain is normal during pregnancy, it is wise to discuss it with your doctor. Stretching exercises or yoga may give you relief.

Tips for an Expectant Dad

Dos

Your partner likely feels exhausted and sleepy, and might need time to rest. You could help her by doing some of her chores or looking after your older child.Accompany her to her upcoming ultrasound scan. Your baby will look more ‘normal’ this time, a far cry from the previous scans. You will get to hear the heartbeat and watch him or her kicking and stretching.

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