Days are moving rather fast; its eighteenth week, almost halfway your pregnancy! The baby is now approximately 5.6 inches long and will be weighing 7 ounces by close of the week.
Baby’s growth and development in week eighteen
By the 18th week, the baby is now outgrowing the placenta. Even though the placenta is still growing the baby is outdoing it day by day.
Heart development: By the 18th week, the baby’s heart has developed so much and can be checked to establish whether there are defects. The heart chambers are developed completely while the blood vessels are maturing. Ultrasound in this week will be able to detect abnormalities so that corrective measures such surgery.
Genitals and nerves development: Though the genitals started to form as early as the 6th week, it is not until mid-17th week that genitalia will be distinguishable. Therefore, if you want, this is the earliest point when you can tell whether it is a boy/girl. Besides, a protective cover (myelin) is also developing the network of nerves and will continue until the end of pregnancy and after birth.
Fingerprints: Though the baby’s skin is still very thin, transparent, and softer than hands and foot are a little hardened. Notably, the fingerprints have started developing and will be visible by the end of the week. This is very critical because the fingerprints are unique to the baby and do not resemble anyone else, not even the twin baby.
Lungs development: While the lungs will remain immature until the last days of pregnancy, respective parts will keep developing at the same pace with the body. The trachea (windpipe) develops and branches further into different airways (bronchi). Starting from the 17th week to the 28th week, the two bronchi will keep developing further to form bronchioles.
Outer ear: By the end of the week, the outer ear is very developed, and the baby’s ear is developed and can easily pick surrounding sound. Because of this, you will notice the baby making very hard kicks in the event of very loud noises. The inner ear continues developing until the end of the second trimester.
Umbilical cord and bones: The umbilical cord continues to thicken and get stronger to intensify transport of nutrients and fluids. In addition, ossification (addition of calcium and hardening of bones) continues in week seventeen. The baby’s bones, jaws, and teeth buds keep hardening every day until the last weeks of the third trimester.
Changes to expect in Mom’s body during week 18
As the baby’s movements intensify, it is time to bond even more through touch and talking. Check with prenatal products’ stockiest for a baby listener to liaise more and enjoy every moment. Here are additional changes you can anticipate;
Increased libido: The elevated energy levels that started on the 17th week will drive your libido to very high levels. It will not be surprising to find yourself calling your partner and telling him how you really feel like having sex if only he could be around. Well, this is the time to enjoy more and get all the pleasure when your partner is around. Think of taking a romantic holiday and enjoy even more.
Elevated appetite: Since morning sickness has gone completely, your appetite is peaking, and you feel like eating everything close to you. While it is no doubt very tempting to get all those potato chips and candy, only go for the healthy alternatives.
Forgetfulness: Because of the elevated body activities and a lot of concentration on the developing baby, you will become very forgetful from the seventeenth week. You might forget meetings, important tasks, and even appointments which are very annoying at times. To address this, it is advisable to use technology and set reminders on your phone so that you can attend all appointments.
Dizziness: Because of the elevated quantity of blood and reduced pressure, you can expect to experience some dizziness. Though this is not as severe as you were experiencing in the first trimester, it could bring some high headedness. It is advisable to take enough rest and avoid stressful activities.
Crazy dreams: By the close of this week, you will start experiencing very crazy dreams at night that appear so real by the time you wake up. Often, many women tell tales of conversations with their babies, delivery experiences, and even their babies becoming big people. Well, there is no problem with these dreams, and you should enjoy them. This could continue to the last days of the third trimester.
Weight gain: By the end of the 18th week, you will have added about 10-11 pounds. Remember that the additional weight is not from the developing baby, but your body. All the growing parts including the uterus, amniotic fluid, elevated blood volume, enlarged breasts, and fat stores contribute to elevated weight. Always remember that weight gain is dynamic, and you can gain a lot in the first and second trimester and less in latter weeks or vice versa.
Things to do during the 18th week
- At work, get somebody to help you organize tasks, prepare, and remind you about them because of forgetfulness.
- Go for an ultrasound scan to establish whether it is a boy or girl. While this is a great time to check, it is absolutely up to you. For many parents, it is a great opportunity to know the sex of the baby in order to do the right shopping.
- Review your diet so that you only eat the healthy alternatives. A good way to do this is stocking the house with good food alternatives and clearing others such as high sugar crisps.
- After establishing the sex of the baby, start thinking of the baby shower themes. You might also follow up with an events planner to refine the party planning.
- Check for prenatal classes, birth classes, and postnatal classes. This will help you understand the right ones to attend. You should attend the prenatal classes physically, talk with the doctor about your worries, and enjoy the pregnancy. You can also follow the classes with online forums.
- Think of taking a holiday with your partner to a close destination to enjoy more and bond together the three of you.
- Continue updating the weekly pregnancy diary to make everything easier for the doctor to diagnose your progress.
- Continue shopping for more baby items and storing them well so that you baby will enjoy very moment after delivery.