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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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Comments

Showing 1 - 10 out of 74 Comments
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Rochelle Jul 23, 2015 09:19:04 AM ET

I'm 30 and 18 weeks and 3 days pregnant with my first child, and very excited. i find out in 2 weeks what i'm having!

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Elaine Feb 3, 2015 10:41:54 AM ET

I'm 32, 18 weeks and 4 days pregnant with my 3rd baby. i find out in 2 weeks weather it's a boy. we are blessed with one of each already!

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TaWana Jan 19, 2015 09:24:17 AM ET

I'm 37, and i am 18 weeks today! i am excited, but i'm worried that i haven't felt my baby move yet. this is my second child. with my first, i felt it early, but that was eleven years ago! i'm starting over and i'm nervous, but excited at the same time.

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Erin Sep 18, 2014 11:59:02 AM ET

I am 29, and 18 weeks 4 days into my 4th pregnancy. my husband and i found out yesterday that we are having our 3rd boy! i have only gained 5 pounds, but tons of inches. i was worried, but doctor says that everything looks ok, so all is well. very excited!

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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.

Guest Dec 18, 2014 07:02:56 AM ET

They do blood work first before doing that exam. only if the blood work shows anything that could lead to down syndrome. then, they do the needle in your belly procedure. but, it is all optional. you don't have to do any of it if you don't want to.

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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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