Week by Week

What pregnant women need to know in week 18 of pregnancy?

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le.

msBahasa Malaysia

Baby Development

How is my baby growing?

You are now 18 weeks! Your baby is now about the size of a bell pepper, weighing about 200 grams and is about 14 cm long from head to toe.

Your baby is starting to move around a bit. You can feel your baby rolling, twisting and kicking. You may also feel your baby yawning and know when he or she have the hiccups. Your baby is reminding you that he’s growing strong. His or her ears are also developing and will be able to hear your voice. It is a great time for you to start talking to your baby. Your little one will find comfort if he or she hears your voice as well as your heart’s beat and the sound of the your blood moving through the umbilical cord.

Your baby’s eyes are developing well and now they are moving forward and not looking to one side as before. At this time, baby’s retinas can detect light if you hold a flashlight right in front of your abdomen.

Body & Life Changes

How is my body changing?

Your back pain is probably becoming more severe. This is a normal sign of pregnancy. As your belly gets bigger, you will feel more pain in your lower back. The reason for your pain is that your center of gravity is changing, putting more stress on your lower back. Another reason for your back pain is that your pregnancy hormones are causing your pelvic bones and ligaments to loosen.

Here are some tips to help you avoid the typical back pain of pregnancy:

  • You should avoid sitting for longer than an hour without rest and don’t forget moving your joints and muscles. Ideally, you should stand up and move around every hour to get your blood circulating. If your job requires you to sit in one place for a prolonged time, you should use a low stool to lift your legs up that can reduce the pressure on the back.
  • You also have to avoid standing for too long. If you have to stand on the cold kitchen to wash dishes or cook, stand on the thick and smooth carpet to reduce pressure on your body and back.
  • Don’t forget to avoid heavy lifting. If you must do this, do it slowly. You should be standing two feet wide shoulder – length to balance well, then bend down at your knees instead of bending over to pick up heavy objects. If you have heavy shopping bags, evenly divide the weight on both sides by using both your hands.

What should I be concerned about?

Sometimes the urge to eat during pregnancy will cause you to eat more spicy and hot dishes that can increase your risk for heartburn. If your stomach is sensitive, you should rethink about getting extra chilli peppers in your soup. During pregnancy, your digestive system is less efficient due to hormonal changes in the body. Your metabolism will decrease and the muscle contractions in your stomach and intestines will slow down, making it hard to digest your food. It is recommended to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. This will help prevent your heartburn.

Doctor Visits

What should I tell my doctor?

Have you been seeing any spots or floaters? This is normal. You can blame your pregnancy hormones. During pregnancy, your tear production will decrease, making your eyes dry and your vision burry. You should let your doctor know if your blurry vision worsens or interferes with your daily routine. Your blurry vision may be a sign of fluid buildup, which is a serious condition and should be medically treated. Other reasons for blurry vision may include gestional diabetes or high blood pressure.

What tests should I know about?

If you have not scheduled a doctor visit this month, it may be time to go. Your doctor may suggest you getting second trimester ultrasound, also known as the level 2 ultrasound. This is usually performed between 18 and 22 weeks of your pregnancy. The second trimester ultrasound gives you and your doctor a great way to see how your baby is developing whether it’s in 3-D or 4-D. You will also be able to see a more real picture of your little angel as well as get a video to capture his or her movements. The more detailed level 2 sonogram, also called an anatomy scan, can measure the size of your baby and his organs, the amount of amniotic fluid and evaulate the location of the placenta to make sure your baby is getting the blood supply. It’s an exciting ultrasound that will make your feel closer to your baby.

Health & Safety

What should I know about staying healthy and safe during pregnancy?

Here are a few things you should know to be healthy and safe:

Hazardous substances in seafood

You can still eat fish and other seafood but remember to eat moderately. Seafood is a great source of nutrients but it can also contains toxic substances including dioxins and mercury and pesticides. When the amount of toxins you get from the seafood is too high, it can affect your baby’s development.

However, there is no reason to avoid eating seafood all together. You should be aware of what fishes have the most toxins to eat the fish with the least toxins. These fish may include fish, especially shark, mackerel, swordfish and tilefish.

Exhausted

If you have trouble breathing or is easily exhausted from walking, stop and take some rest. Work until you drop is not a good idea. During pregnancy, this is particularly harmful because the work will make both you and your baby tired, leading to poor health. Remember that you may not be able to move as you did before your pregnancy. If you work long hours, make sure to take mini breaks. Let your work pile up and inform your boss. Your health and your baby’s health should always come first. Try taking a day off to rest. You will see that you may become more productive during working hours.

See you next week in week 19! We get to see how you and your baby is doing.

Hello Health Group does not offer any advice, diagnosis or medical treatment.

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