18 Weeks Pregnant

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5-5½ inches

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 ounces

Weight of your baby

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18 weeks pregnant

Size of your baby

What’s new this week?
Your Body

Haven’t yet felt your baby wiggling around? This could be the week! Many moms-to-be notice their child’s first movements -- called quickening -- between their 16th and 20th week of pregnancy. Believe it or not, this used... Read more

Your Baby

Up until this point, your baby’s bones were soft structures. They begin the hardening, or ossification, process. Among the first ones to firm up are the bones in the legs and inner ear -- and as the latter part develops, something amazing... Read more

Your Life Right Now

At 18 weeks pregnant, many women find themselves with a real pain in the back -- even if they haven’t had back troubles in the past and haven’t gained a lot of weight yet. Back pain is extremely common during pregnancy. In fact,... Read more

Moms Like Me/ I wish I had known

"I’m keeping a journal, not only for my baby, but for me to remember this special time in my life and what it was like to be able to be pregnant! I highly recommend it. Also, always talk to a “been there, done that”... Read more

18 Weeks Pregnant: Your Body

Haven’t yet felt your baby wiggling around? This could be the week! Many moms-to-be notice their child’s first movements -- called quickening -- between their 16th and 20th week of pregnancy. Believe it or not, this used to be the first time women in the olden days were sure they were with child! It may take a little time to key into the sensation, especially if this is your first baby -- so don’t worry if you don’t pick up on her kicks and squirms for several more weeks. Those initial fetal movements often feel like soft tappings or “butterflies” just above your pubic bone. In fact, they’re subtle enough at this point that you may mistake them for gas or indigestion. But later they become more regular or rhythmic enough that -- wow! -- they’re an unmistakable and goosebump-inducing sign that your baby is truly in there. (Be on alert for them after meals and at bedtime -- occasions when many moms say their babies are especially active.)

As your pregnancy progresses, those flutters will turn into full-blown karate kicks and jabs. And as your baby tumbles around in there, you’ll actually be able to see the outside of your belly move and change shape. It’s an odd sensation to get used to, but one that’s also wildly amusing and reassuring.

18 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby

Up until this point, your baby’s bones were soft structures. They begin the hardening, or ossification, process. Among the first ones to firm up are the bones in the legs and inner ear -- and as the latter part develops, something amazing happens. Further connections are made between the brain and ears and your baby will begin to hear! So dust off a few of your old children’s books and start reading aloud to her. It’s hard to know what might make it though, but soft voices and music can’t hurt. By the time your baby is born she’ll know the sound of your voice by heart -- and respond to it. So cool! (Speaking of heart, that’s one of the first sounds she may hear: The strong, steady thump of yours beating.)

Your Life Right Now

At 18 weeks pregnant, many women find themselves with a real pain in the back -- even if they haven’t had back troubles in the past and haven’t gained a lot of weight yet. Back pain is extremely common during pregnancy. In fact, it’s hard to find a mom-to-be who hasn’t had it by the end of her third trimester. You might notice anything from a mild twinge to a major ouch -- particularly after doing something strenuous, like lifting or exercising or when you get out of bed first thing in the morning and are still kind of stiff. How could you be so achy this early in your pregnancy? A lot of it likely has to do with the pregnancy hormone relaxin which contributes to your joints and ligaments relaxing and becoming more elastic to prepare for childbirth. Your growing uterus also shifts your center of gravity forward, which can affect the joints around the pelvis and create pain along your back. Also less support from the ligaments can make it easier to strain your back. Applying heat -- and that includes soaking in a nice, warm bath -- can help ease pain (just make sure the temperature is not too hot and avoid actual hot tubs). Good posture can help too, and although it may seem counterintuitive, certain exercises (within your doctor’s guidelines) can also work wonders by keeping you strong and healthy. Watch your diet too, as excessive weight gain can exacerbate symptoms. If the pain is bad enough that you feel like you need to take something for it, talk to your doctor to get her input on what your best options are.

Moms Like Me/ I wish I had known

"I’m keeping a journal, not only for my baby, but for me to remember this special time in my life and what it was like to be able to be pregnant! I highly recommend it. Also, always talk to a “been there, done that” mom before making a baby purchase that’s not absolutely necessary. I often ended up buying stupid stuff with no purpose because of marketing and cute packaging when we really could have used that money for more clothes and diapers." --amyh411

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We had our big ultrasound yesterday, and lo and behold -- it’s a girl! Even though everyone and everything suggested it would be a girl, I was adamant that this was a boy. I am shocked!  Oh, well, another girl is great. As long as she’s healthy and happy, that’s all that matters. --jjediknight

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