In the 18th week of pregnancy, you may notice an increase in energy levels and a decrease in nausea compared to previous weeks. This newfound energy can be used to plan your baby’s nursery and make necessary preparations.
It’s normal to experience some discomfort as your body continues to change, but you may start to feel more at ease as you become accustomed to these changes. Here are some of the common symptoms and milestones that you may experience during this stage of pregnancy.
Pregnancy Week 18 Quick Facts
- At 18 weeks, you’re five months pregnant
- You have 22 weeks until your due time “Calculate your due date”
- You’re in the second trimester
Your Unborn Baby’s Size at 18 Weeks
At 18 weeks, your unborn baby measures about 14.2 centimeters and weighs about 190 grams. That’s the size of a sweet potato!
Pregnancy Symptoms Week 18
This is the sweet period of pregnancy, when many common symptoms from the first half of pregnancy have eased up, but you may start feeling new sensations such as hip and back aches, fetal movement, and lower body aches. It can help to make adjustments to your normal routine, such as finding more comfortable seating options.
It is possible for pregnant people to feel their unborn baby move at this point, especially if this is a subsequent pregnancy.
It can feel like a flutter in the lower abdomen, but if this is a first-time pregnant person, you will likely feel movement in the coming weeks.
Prenatal Tests and Doctor’s Appointments
You may have completed your genetic screenings, including blood tests, by now. If you have decided to undergo amniocentesis, your healthcare provider will likely schedule it between the 18th and 20th week of pregnancy.
During this procedure, a small amount of amniotic fluid, which surrounds the fetus, will be removed using a small needle. The amniotic fluid contains cells with genetic information that can help diagnose genetic disorders and neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. An amniocentesis can also detect inherited gene defects and metabolic disorders. The results of the test may take up to two weeks.
A healthcare provider may recommend an amniocentesis during the second trimester if there is a family history of genetic disorders, a previous pregnancy with birth defects, an abnormal prenatal screening test or ultrasound, or if the patient is 35 years old or older, which increases the risk of chromosomal disorders.
An amniocentesis may also be performed in the third trimester to check for fetal lung maturity, infections, and health conditions in the unborn baby.
– Risk in the 18th week of pregnancy
Although the 18th week of pregnancy is generally considered to be a low-risk period, there are still potential risks that can arise, including preterm labor, birth defects, gestational diabetes, infections, and placental issues. Preterm labor can require specialized care and pose risks to the baby’s health. Birth defects can include structural abnormalities, genetic disorders, or other developmental issues.
Gestational diabetes can develop during the 18th week and require monitoring and management to prevent complications. Infections, such as urinary tract infections or vaginal infections, can also occur during this time, potentially harming both the mother and the baby. Placental issues, such as placental abruption or placenta previa, can also arise and affect the baby’s growth and development.
It’s essential to have regular prenatal check-ups with your healthcare provider, follow their recommendations for a healthy lifestyle, and report any unusual symptoms or concerns. This will help ensure the best possible outcome for both you and your baby.
During the 18th week of pregnancy, both single and twin pregnancies may experience similar developmental milestones, although twin pregnancies may have some variations. Here are some common developmental milestones that may occur during the 18th week of pregnancy:
Digestive system functioning: Both single and twin babies’ digestive systems start working during this time, as their intestines begin to contract and relax.
Eye movement: Both single and twin babies may start to have their eyes facing forward, allowing them to focus on light and dark.
Ear development: The bones and nerves in both single and twin babies’ ears are starting to function, causing their ears to protrude from their head.
Limb movements: Both single and twin babies’ limbs are becoming more flexible, allowing them to move more easily.
Weight gain: Both single and twin babies are growing rapidly, and they may gain weight during this week. Twin pregnancies may have a higher weight gain compared to single pregnancies due to the presence of multiple fetuses.
Development of multiple placentas: In twin pregnancies, by the 18th week, each fetus may have its own placenta, and the placental circulation may be fully established.
It’s important to note that the development of each fetus in a twin pregnancy may vary, and regular prenatal check-ups with your healthcare provider can help ensure that both babies are developing normally and healthily. Your healthcare provider will monitor the growth and development of each fetus individually and provide appropriate care and recommendations based on their unique needs.