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Pregnancy Week 18

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Fetal Development Images - Pregnancy  18
Week 18 fetal development image showing the fetal growth of your baby to date. Medical Illustration Copyright © 2008 Nucleus Medical Art, All rights reserved

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Your Baby's Development This Week

The baby's nervous system continues to become more refined and detailed in development, with this week the myelin, or protective covering over the nerves, forming. This aids in messages traveling across the nerve pathways. The myelin continues growing until the baby is one year old. Other not so easily seen development includes the formation of the alveoli, or the tiny air sacs in the lungs. The vocal chords are formed, but without air, the baby is just going through the motions without the sound now. If the baby is a girl, the fallopian tubes and uterus have settled into their permanent position now. The baby's skin is being protected from the watery environment of the uterus, by vernix-a cheesy, greasy substance, and the lanugo-a fuzzy hairy growth on baby's skin. The baby is now between 5 and 6 inches long and between 5 and 6 ounces.

Pregnancy Symptoms You May Feel During Week 18

One symptom becoming more problematic is low blood pressure. Rising from a seated position will make it worse. Make certain that you avoid lying on your back now, and try to lie on your side. Another common complaint at this point is backaches. The center of gravity has now shifted and the muscles and ligaments have loosened, only making the problem worse. Try to be mindful of your posture and don't allow yourself to be slumped or slouched if possible. Also, if you work a sedentary job, be sure to get up and move around every hour at least. Look into yoga stretches to help alleviate the pain, and keep your movements pain-free.

Visit With the Obstetrician

At this point in your pregnancy, your doctor might perform a level II sonogram. This type of sonogram will not differ greatly in the experience for mom, but yields much more detailed information for the doctor. This sonogram may last longer than the typical sonogram done earlier in the pregnancy. The test will give a more in depth look at the organs and the development, as in seeing the chambers of the heart, blood circulation throughout the fetus, and how the brain is developing.

Preparing for Baby

When the baby comes home from the hospital, it will be a huge accomplishment to just keep up with the burdens of daily life. To ease the struggle some, look now at how you might simplify your surroundings. Pick up some books on how to organize and de-clutter your home. Don't try to implement all the ideas, and certainly not by yourself. However, figure out what things might give you the best results and try to get those done over the next several weeks, not being too shy to ask for help in getting those things organized. The pay off will come once your little one is home and you have a better handle on your time because you've streamlined your environment a bit better.

Pregnancy Lifestyle

The burden of weight, the hormones, the big changes in mom's body, all add up to fatigue. To fight the fatigue, you surrender to it. Make certain you are getting plenty of sleep at night, which can become increasingly difficult with the symptoms you might be contending with, such as aches and pains, gas, heartburn, and leg cramps. Besides an adequate amount of bedtime zzz's, try getting some little naps or rest periods worked into the rest of your day. If you can, go ahead and lie down and nap. If you are at work, then do your best to take a little time to put your feet up, close your eyes and do some relaxation exercises. Even just a few minutes here and there can add up to some relief, so don't neglect the signals that your body is sending you.

Ouch! The One Pregnancy Symptom You Must Know About


Pregnancy Week 18 Comfort Meter

I feel absolutely wonderful!
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I could be feeling better
UGG I feel terrible!


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Comments

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Shannon Jun 8, 2014 11:44:38 AM ET

I'm 18 weeks 4 days. i have a lower backache, sciatic nerve ache, and my hands fall asleep while i'm sleeping. this is baby #3. i started out at 214 lbs, dropped to 206 and am now at 210 lbs. this pendant has been so different from my girls. i'm hoping for a boy.

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maryleanner Apr 19, 2014 01:48:35 AM ET

I am 18 weeks and 4 days pregnant today!! i am 32 and this is my 3rd pregnancy. i have 2 girls so we hoping for a boy, but either way as long as the baby is healthy that is really all that matters. starting to feel the baby move!!! i go in a week to find out if we are having a boy or girl. i can't wait!!

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Guest Nov 29, 2013 12:04:09 AM ET

I'm 39 years old and pregnant with my fourth child. because of my age i was told to get tested for down symdrome. is that normal? i'm scared to get the procedure done. they have to put a needle in my stomach to get some fluid from the baby.

Georgina Dec 12, 2013 11:49:09 AM ET

I'm 46 and pregnant. i've had 3 chromosomal tests so far. all blood tests, nothing invasive. i feel satisfied with the results. the amnio test is voluntary. i chose not to do it because it carries risks that i was unwilling to take.

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Guest Oct 26, 2013 06:49:45 PM ET

I'm 18 weeks tomorrow. i feel the baby's movement most times but not all the time. gonna find out the sex in 2 weeks time. i can't wait i want a boy but i don't mind whatever god gives me i will be happy.

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Seqouia Oct 7, 2013 07:39:08 PM ET

So far this is a simple pregnancy. it's my first and i feel amazing. i feel the baby so much it's amazing!! i find out on wednesday if it's a boy or girl. i have lost 14 lbs since i got pregnant yet you can big time see i'm pregnant. haha only real symptom i have is i get abit dizzy and tired. but nothing i can't handle. anyone else have a simple pregnancy so far? i never got morning sickness either. i would have never known i was pregnant if my 6 year old niece didn't randomly ask me if i was.

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advanced age Aug 17, 2013 08:23:23 AM ET

I'm 42 and pregnant with my 4th. yep, he's a surprise and yep,its a boy. i know already bc the gift of being a mom of advanced maternal age is that they do chromosomal testing to rule out problems. in doing that, they saw there was a y chromosome. i was so nervous about my age but i'm 18 weeks and i feel great! i've gained more than i should (15#) but i can't complain. i'm so blessed and can't wait to welcome this little guy into our crazy family:-)

Georgina Dec 12, 2013 11:55:52 AM ET

I'm 46 and pregnant! also a surprise. at first, i was quite overwhelmed, but now i'm very excited too! what a blessing!! and i enjoy being a woman of advanced maternal age because my docs make such a fuss over me. it's cute! my baby is a perfectly healthy baby boy!!

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stacy Aug 14, 2013 01:52:35 PM ET

Im 18 weeks and 4 days i wanna know when did i conceive

anon Nov 3, 2013 06:19:05 PM ET

Probably around when i did..i'm 18w2d and i conceived july

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tara.parker Aug 13, 2013 10:45:48 AM ET

I am 18 weeks 1 day. feel great minus the back pain. :) starting weight 189 and today 193. started out heavy but am okay with what weight i've gained thus far. also have a 15 month old son and am hoping for a girl!!

Kristy Aug 16, 2013 04:46:00 PM ET

Im 18 weeks 2 day and we find out the ex next friday! i can'wait! as of my last appointment i had only gained 4lbs so i was happy about that. :) good luck!

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Kays Aug 7, 2013 04:14:08 AM ET

I am 18 weeks 2 days and we are so excited, 2nd child with our 1st 4ys and she cant wait for a new friend in the house. i feel terrible upper backaches when l sleep and some abdorminal pains during the day. a lot of headaches too. i wonder why l have such upper backaches in contrast to everyone feeling lower backaches. will find out gender in our next visit in a few weeks. thanks for your posts, makes me feel better knowing lm not alone and all the best

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Bvardiman Jul 16, 2013 06:27:17 PM ET

So why shouldnt i be laying on my back? this is my first pregnancy i'm 18 wks and 3 days with our little boy, and haven't had any symptoms during this entire time. my husband and i had been trying for about 6 months to get pregnant, so we were just waiting for the positive pregnancy test...i'm not showing at all i still fit into my jeans and it kinda makes me mad. i want a cute pregnant belly! :(

JJM Jul 21, 2013 02:51:34 PM ET

When you lay on your back, your uterus now falls onto some important blood vessels that your placenta needs to continue creating nutrients. it can also make your blood pressure drop. don't freak out if you have been doing so. :) but spending too long on your back can be bad for giving your baby enough nutrients.

Mykis Aug 2, 2013 09:56:45 AM ET

Try to avoid laying on your back because that can cause your oxygen to the baby to slow down and your blood flow to the heart, it is important to lay on your side. with my first child i was about 30 pounds smaller than i was with this one and i didn't really start showing until about 5-6 months so your belly will come. :) i am 18 weeks and a day and i am showing and have been for a month, the baby is always on my lung so if i walk down the hall at my job i get out of breath fast, i am having a girl this time and i still have nausea on and off.

Carly Aug 11, 2013 04:40:37 PM ET

Since this is your first pregnancy, that may be why your not showing yet. with my first pregnancy i didnt start showing until around 20-25 weeks...im 18 weeks and 4 days into my second pregnancy and i've been showing since week 10!

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