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18 Weeks Pregnant
Updated on
October 30, 2023

18 Weeks Pregnant

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18 Weeks Pregnant.
18 Weeks Pregnant

You’ve made it to week 18 of pregnancy, and you’re almost at the halfway point. The bad news is that by now, sleep might be getting a little more uncomfortable. But something to look forward to is that if you’re finding out baby’s sex, you may be able to do that via ultrasound soon. Here’s what else is on deck at week 18 of pregnancy.

How Many Months Is 18 Weeks Pregnant?

Eighteen weeks pregnant is just over four months pregnant, which is part of the second trimester of pregnancy.

Your Baby at 18 Weeks

Your baby is developing its sense of hearing and signs of baby’s sex will soon be visible. The nervous system is also coming along.

“Baby’s sense of hearing is rapidly developing this week,” says Dr. Jessica Madden, board-certified pediatrician and neonatologist, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and Medical Director of Aeroflow Breastpump. “They can definitely hear their mothers’ voices and can also hear loud noises coming from outside.”

If you have an ultrasound scheduled, you could know the sex of baby soon. “The genitourinary system is developed and, in most cases, you will be able to find out your baby’s gender on ultrasound,” Dr. Madden adds. However, you may have already learned this information via non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), a blood test that screens for certain disorders and can tell you baby’s sex earlier in pregnancy. Plus, the brain and nerves are rapidly growing, especially those of the motor nervous system.

How Big is a Baby at 18 Weeks?

Baby is almost six inches long and weighs about 5.5 ounces at 18 weeks. That’s the size of a Nintendo NES classic controller.

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18 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound

Pregnancy-Ultrasound-week-18

You may or may not have an ultrasound scheduled at this point in your pregnancy.

“Prenatal visits usually occur every four weeks during this time,” says Dr. Lauren Demosthenes, an ob-gyn and Senior Medical Director with Babyscripts. “Many places are now lengthening the time between in-person visits because women are provided an app or written material with daily education and take their own blood pressure and weight at home.”

Eighteen weeks is the earliest point at which many doctors will do a second trimester anatomy scan, Dr. Madden says.

18 Weeks Baby Movement

As the nervous system develops, your baby is now able to do some serious gymnastics. That’s because, as Dr. Demosthenes explains, the part of the brain that controls movement is formed.

This is also the point at which the baby’s digestive system is forming. “Babies are able to move, kick, swallow and flip around at this stage,” Dr. Madden says. “You might also feel when they get the hiccups, which can happen frequently.”

Your Body: 18 Weeks Pregnancy Symptoms

At 18 weeks, you’re still in the honeymoon phase of your pregnancy with several weeks left of the second trimester. As baby grows, your body is adapting and you’ll start to see a ton of new symptoms here for the long haul.

18 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms

Welcome to week 18 of pregnancy, where you may be greeted by swollen feet, dry eyes and changes in blood pressure. Sometimes it’s hard to understand why they say the second trimester is the easiest one, but the good news is these symptoms are common and no cause for concern.

Swelling

You might notice signs of weight gain or swelling during this stage. The swelling is known as edema and it is very common to see it in your hands and feet during this time. “Pregnant people may find some relief from this if they put their legs up in the evenings,” says Dr. Madden.

As your weight changes, so will your movements. “Your sense of balance will change as your weight is redistributed,” Dr. Madden says. “Activities that require balance may become more difficult.”

Dry eyes

You might find yourself blinking more often these days. This is another common symptom in pregnant people: that feeling of dry, itchy or uncomfortable eyes. “Dry eyes are common during pregnancy due to hormonal changes,” Dr. Madden says. “They typically start around this time and can worsen as pregnancy progresses.”

Blood pressure

While changes in your blood pressure are very common during the second trimester, you should still keep an eye on things with your doctor. “It’s very important for blood pressure to be monitored during this part of the second trimester,” Dr. Madden says. “Some people develop pregnancy-induced hypertension or preeclampsia around this time—both conditions cause high blood pressure and can affect the growth of one’s baby by affecting placental blood flow.”

Real Baby Bumps at 18 Weeks Pregnant

18 weeks pregnant belly @cparran fitmom

18 weeks pregnant bump @gracechalgren

18 weeks pregnant belly pictures @mrslampkin1908

18 weeks pregnant belly size @gheeful

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18 weeks pregnant woman @notasouthernbell

pictures of pregnant belly at 18 weeks @ruufiooo

18 weeks pregnant belly @colormekenna

Pregnancy Symptoms Coming up in Week 19

In week 19 of pregnancy, it’s common to experience dizziness due to changes in blood flow. These changes might also cause leg cramps. Dehydration can also play a role here, so be sure to drink your fluids.

Commonly Asked Questions About 18 Weeks Pregnant

Having trouble sleeping? Experiencing discomfort in your legs and feet? Just because these symptoms are common doesn’t mean they’re any easier to deal with. Here are some things you can do to help.

Can I do something for my swollen feet?

While it’s nearly impossible to avoid the swelling that comes at this stage, also known as edema, you might find some relief from elevating your feet at the end of a long day. Some of this is caused by general fluid retention, but Dr. Demosthenes says it could also be from the hormone relaxin, which loosens the pelvic joints and can also affect the feet.

How can I improve my sleep?

Difficulty sleeping is another common problem at this stage as your uterus grows, and Dr. Demosthenes suggests sleeping on your back or side to alleviate any discomfort. A pregnancy pillow may make sleep more comfortable as your body grows and changes.

Side sleeping also might offer some relief. “Ob-gyns recommend starting to sleep on one’s side around this time to optimize blood flow from placenta to baby,” Dr. Madden says.

Top Tip for Week 18 of Pregnancy

Struggling to sleep? Who can blame you. You’re not supposed to sleep on your back anymore, belly sleeping is definitely out and your bladder feels about the size of a pea. But don’t give up hope for a good night’s sleep. Here are seven tips to help, plus some tips on the best sleeping positions.

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Recommended Products for Week 18 of Pregnancy

Time to start reading up on what to expect in the coming weeks. We have suggestions. Plus, an exercise ball is a great way to work out now that your back is bearing the brunt of the work carrying baby, and a pregnancy pillow might help you sleep better at night.

18 Weeks Pregnant Checklist

  • Since baby can hear now, consider making a baby Spotify playlist of some of your favorite songs or tunes that are soothing, like classical music.
  • Make sleep a priority. Consider buying a pregnancy pillow and experiment with a regular bedtime if you don’t already have one.
  • As your belly starts to show, it’s a good time to coach older siblings-to-be about the baby joining the family.
  • Brainstorm baby names. Right now, anything goes! Fun places for inspiration: Family names, places, nature and religion/spirituality.

Sources

  • Dr. Jessica Madden, board-certified pediatrician and neonatologist, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and Medical Director of Aeroflow Breastpump
  • Dr. Lauren Demosthenes is an ob-gyn and Senior Medical Director with Babyscripts, the leading remote monitoring platform for managing obstetrics

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and the Babylist Health Advisory Board.


Babylist Staff

Babylist editors and writers are parents themselves and have years of experience writing and researching, coming from media outlets like Motherly, the SF Chronicle, the New York Times and the Daily Beast, and the fields of early childhood education and publishing. We research and test hundreds of products, survey real Babylist parents and consult reviews in order to recommend the best products and gear for your growing family.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and review products, as well as the Babylist Health Advisory Board.