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Fetal Development: 18 Weeks


18 Weeks - Pregnancy

Baby

Week 18 shows your baby measuring about 5 ½ inches long, with a weight of almost 7 ounces. Along with the lanugo (downy-like hair covering baby’s body), your baby has accumulated vernix (a white cheese-like protective coating) on her body. This protects your baby’s skin by keeping it moisturized in your amniotic fluid.

Is your baby going to be the next American Idol? This is the time when her vocal cords are forming, and she begins to practice vocalizing. She will begin to cry, although without air, no sound will escape her. This is strictly for practice.

If you have a pregnancy ultrasound this week, the technician should be able to make out the baby’s heart well, including the ventricles and chambers. Her brain is growing rapidly as well, and all the major areas will be differentiated. She is starting to respond to stimuli, and in the coming weeks, she will love hearing your voice.

An ultrasound will also now reveal your baby’s sex, unless she is shy and has her legs crossed. A girl will have her uterus and Fallopian tubes formed, along with her genitals and a boy will have pronounced genitals as well, visible with an ultrasound.

Mom

Now that you’re at the beginning of your fifth month of pregnancy, it may be time to transition fully into those maternity clothes. Don’t worry. The tents that women wore in the past are not around anymore. You can find very attractive maternity clothes that will hide or accentuate your pregnant belly, whichever makes you more comfortable. Besides, wearing maternity clothes will make you look pregnant, in case people haven’t figured it out yet.

Since you are starting to show, it may be a good time to let your boss know you’re expecting if you haven’t already. Before you tell your employer that you are pregnant, do your research. You should find out the corporate policies on maternity leave and leave for doctor appointments. You will have quite a few of those. Does your company offer unpaid or paid leave? How long are you able to be out before returning? Some other things to think about is whether or not you plan on returning back to work. If you know for sure that you will not return, you should tell them. They cannot fire you for that, as that is discrimination.

Some annoying symptoms you might be experiencing include heartburn, indigestion, and constipation. Heartburn is one of the most common complaints in the second and third trimester, and is often the result of an increase in the hormone progesterone. The increase in progesterone often loosens the normal sphincter between the stomach and the esophagus, causing the acid in your stomach to move up the esophagus. The result is a burning pain in your chest and upper stomach. Indigestion is also caused by the increase in progesterone, as the hormone slows the emptying of the stomach, leading to lingering acid. To counter heartburn, avoid fatty or deep fried foods and chocolate. Limit your intake of foods such as cabbage, broccoli, or lettuce. These foods can produce excess gas that can worsen heartburn and indigestion. Pop those antacids. TUMS is a popular choice AND it also has calcium, which your body needs anyway. As you suck on them, your esophagus will contract and acid will diminish quickly. Also, avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol (you know this is a given anyway) and sleep in a more upright position. See our recommended maternity pillows to increase your comfort.

Has your doctor scheduled your pregnancy ultrasound yet? An ultrasound is often scheduled between 16 and 20 weeks to check on your baby’s development. Sex can often be determined during the ultrasound as well, and your due date is double checked by the progress of your baby’s development. Your doctor will also check the placenta and umbilical cord, and he will take a lot of measurements of your baby, along with checking out the baby’s organs for any abnormalities. This is a painless procedure and is often a lot of fun. You finally get to see a beautiful profile of your little one. They will also give you some pictures to take home as well. Your first snapshot!

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PLEASE NOTE

This should be used as a general guideline and is for general information and educational purposes only. Please remember that all pregnancies develop at different rates. If you have questions about your baby's development, please contact your doctor or midwife.



 
   

 

 

 
   
 
   
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