Once you hit week 18 of pregnancy, you will probably feel more excited than ever, as you will probably start feeling your little one moving about in your belly. After all, at this point, he will probably be around five and a half inches in length as well as somewhere between five and seven ounces. Also, he is not only growing in size, but developing in terms of motor abilities as well. He may not only start stretching about, but also begin yawning. You may even feel him hiccupping at 18 weeks of pregnancy!
You’re not the only one who is starting to feel more signs of life during this stage of pregnancy. At 18 weeks, due to progress made in your baby’s nervous system, his different senses will also start to develop. He will start to have a sense of taste, smell, and sight. He will even be able to detect sounds coming from outside the womb! If you want to start playing music to him at 18 weeks of pregnancy, there’s no guarantee that he will become a musical prodigy, but by all means feel free to do so. In addition, as your baby’s reproductive organs are starting to form, there is a small chance that you will be able to determine his sex during an ultrasound. Oftentimes, though, results at week 18 of pregnancy may not be accurate, so hold off on the shopping spree for pinks or blues until you know or sure.
The most exciting highlight of your pregnancy at 18 weeks may be the “quickening,” or the movement you feel in your belly as your little one swims around. It’s highly probable that no one else will be able to feel these little taps or butterflies at first, but these will get stronger in no time at all. Another thing that you will probably appreciate is that many women feel much better during week 18 of pregnancy than in the first trimester. You may start feeling more energetic and develop a healthy appetite — things that you may have missed during the first several weeks.
Another symptom of pregnancy at 18 weeks is lightheadedness, especially if you try to stand up too quickly from a seated or lying position. Give yourself some time to get up safely if you find that this is something that affects you, and make sure you don’t forget to breathe deeply to avoid passing out. This is a great time to try breathing exercises. Not only will they help you feel better during such situations, but they will also come in handy for combatting pregnancy stress and come delivery time.
At week 18 of pregnancy, you may also start feeling some aches and pains, particularly in the back area. This is because as your belly grows, your center of gravity also changes. This, together with weight gain, puts a strain on your back. The loosening of joints due to hormonal changes at week 18 of pregnancy may also contribute to muscle pain or soreness. If you are tempted to get a massage at this time, make sure you find therapists who have been trained in prenatal massage. In fact, several prenatal massage practitioners may ask you to wait until after the 24th month to get a massage. If in doubt, nothing replaces asking your doctor for advice.
Something that can make you feel better during week 18 of pregnancy, whether you believe it or not, is getting the right nutrition. If you are well-nourished, you will have the energy you need to cope with the physical changes taking place. This will also help ensure healthy weight gain. Fill up your diet with whole grains, vegetables, fruit, as well as adequate sources of protein. Steer clear of empty sugars, which will only lead to excessive weight gain as well as dips in energy level.
If this is your first pregnancy and you’re feeling a bit antsy, then you can go to prenatal classes as early as week 18 of pregnancy. You can also read up and consult with mothers you trust at this point. Simply being exposed to the necessary information can do wonders for your peace of mind. Thus, doing your research can contribute greatly in reducing pregnancy stress and, at the end of the day, a more pleasant and meaningful pregnancy experience than you would have imagined.
Lastly, enjoy yourself. You are nearly halfway there, so take this time to enjoy week 18 of pregnancy, before moving around starts becoming much more challenging!