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 5½ inches long, or about the length of a large tomato.
- Your baby’s skeleton continues to harden during the 18th week of your pregnancy. His leg bones and inner ear bones are the first to ossify (harden).
- Your baby now can hear! He might hear your heart beat or your tummy gurgle.
- He 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 baby start to move — little flutters — as early as the 18th week of pregnancy. This is called quickening. The next time you see your doctor, let him or her know about any fetal 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 skin 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 doctor for another prenatal visit.
- Your doctor will check your weight, blood pressure, urine, and other vitals.
- Your doctor 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 doctor know when quickening began.
- Knowing when your baby started moving and the frequency of his kicks can help your doctor do two things. Your doctor can better estimate your baby’s fetal age and better estimate your due date.
- Depending on your medical history, age, and other information, your doctor might talk to you about amniocentesis around the 18th week of pregnancy, a test that checks for genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome.