18 Weeks Pregnant - Symptoms, Baby Development, Tips - Babylist

18 Weeks Pregnant

May 16, 2019

18 Weeks Pregnant

18 Weeks Pregnant
18 Weeks Pregnant

At 18 weeks pregnant, your baby is 5.6 inches long and weighs 6.70 ounces. That’s about the size of a Nintendo NES Classic Controller.

Your Baby at 18 Weeks

  • Hearing: Baby can hear! Your beating heart is the loudest sound they hear. 💕 By week 25, they’ll be responding to particular voices.
  • Gender: When you have your ultrasound (it usually happens between 16 weeks and 20 weeks), the tech can tell you if you’re having a boy or a girl. The accuracy of this is really dependent on baby’s position, so don’t go running to get that tattoo until your babe arrives—and maybe have a backup baby name. If it’s a girl, their fallopian tubes and uterus are now where they need to be. If it’s a boy, their little parts are (usually) visible on an ultrasound.
  • Nervous system: Your baby’s nerves are starting to develop myelin, a fatty substance that insulates them. This fancy process is called “myelination.”

Baby’s Brain at 18 Weeks

What’s the deal with myelination? It’s a mouthful, but the gist is that it protects nerve cells and speeds up communication between them. This is super important in baby’s developing brain.

Scientific studies suggest that nutrition may help with healthy brain development—specifically, iron, choline and folate. So keep munching on leafy greens, eggs, beans and other nutrient-rich foods and take your prenatal vitamins to help boost baby’s brain power.

18 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound

Photo by Tommy’s

Pregnancy Symptoms at 18 Weeks

  • Weight: By this point most women are gaining around a pound a week. Since a baby weighs seven to eight pounds at birth, where is it all going? Well, two pounds is placenta and four pounds is blood, but here’s a full breakdown.
  • Balance: With all this extra mass, your center of gravity will change. You might find yourself tripping more than usual as your balance catches up, so remember to slow down. This can also cause back pain, but keeping your feet elevated will calm this.
  • Dry eyes: Pregnancy can dry out your eyes, which is especially irritating if you wear contacts. Try some preservative-free artificial tear drops that do not have cyclosporine (this helps treat dry eye, but there’s not enough data around if it’s safe or not to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding).
  • Aches and pains: They’re normal during pregnancy, but around week 18, you might find some super uncomfortable feelings in your lower abdomen. Round ligament pain may be to blame. These annoying pains are caused by all the growing your baby is doing, which stretches the (yep) round ligaments and pulls at some pretty sensitive nerves in the groin. There’s not much you can do for round ligament pain except stretch, switch positions and take acetaminophen (Tylenol), if your doctor gives the OK. Of course, aches and pains in the belly can be for other reasons, too, so let your OB know if you’re concerned, or if you have other symptoms, like bleeding, fever, chills or painful urination, or if the pain is severe.

Blood Pressure 411

Blood pressure during pregnancy is a tricky thing. Low blood pressure can cause lightheadedness and dizziness, like if you stand up too quickly. Usually this is considered normal and will go away after your baby’s born.

On the flip side, high blood pressure is not great news. It can lead to a host of problems including preterm birth and issues with the placenta, as well as preeclampsia, which can be dangerous for mom and baby. This is why your healthcare provider checks your blood pressure at every prenatal visit. And if you do have high blood pressure, you and your baby will be monitored closely.

Your 18 Weeks Pregnant Belly

Expected weight gain is about 1 pound per week in the second trimester. At your first prenatal appointment, your healthcare provider probably gave you a weight gain range to try to stay within, based on your BMI (body mass index). It may be tough to stay on track—and it’s kinda no fun getting on a scale so often—but OBs say slow and steady weight gain is important for your and your baby’s health.

At 18 weeks, some pregnant bellies look, well, pregnant, and other women are just starting to show. You may be feeling baby’s movements on the regular or might just start to feel a flutter or two. Pretty soon those kicks will be unmistakable.

💛 Congratulations 💛

You are 45% of your way through your pregnancy.

Six Things to Do for Better Sleep

Pregnancy Sleep Photo

Exhaustion is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy. So it’s normal if you feel more tired than usual—or like you’ve never felt so tired in your life! One National Sleep Foundation poll found that 78 percent of women reported more sleep trouble during pregnancy than other stages of their lives.

If sleep trouble is an annoying but somewhat rare occurrence, you can try any number of techniques to more effectively power down. Some ideas:

  • Establish a regular bedtime. The same time, every day. Even weekends.
  • Eat a little, not a lot, before bed. And if you do drink caffeine, save it for the morning.
  • Create a sleep haven. You want cool, dark and comfortable.
  • Ditch the screens before bedtime. The work, too. Take a bath instead.
  • Watch out for heartburn. It’s a common ailment during pregnancy. If you’re suffering, avoid spicy, greasy and fried foods and wait at least an hour after eating before going to bed. If it’s bad, talk with your healthcare provider.
  • Nap when you can! Grabbing an hour here and there is great, as long as you can still fall asleep at night.

How will your sleep change during your pregnancy, and what to do about full-on insomnia? Here are the details.

Mid-Pregnancy Ultrasound

You’re probably gearing up for the mid-pregnancy ultrasound—a.k.a. the anatomy scan, which happens around 20 weeks pregnant. And it really is just that. Baby’s whole body will be checked out to make sure development and growth are on track.

The highlight for many parents-to-be is finding out baby’s sex, but you’ll probably find it really amazing to see everything, from baby’s brain, to the heart and to those teeny little fingers and toes. If baby kicks while they’re on camera, you’ll see what those baby movements look like as you feel them.

Your due date will be confirmed based on baby’s size too. There’s a small possibility the date could change (despite what that due date calculator told you). But only around five percent of babies are born on their due dates, so it’s not set in stone.

Fun Fact

Your body is making 50% more blood than when you’re not pregnant to nourish the baby.

Think About Baby Names

While you still have a lot of time to choose a baby name, it’s fun to start thinking about names you like. Consider a few sources of baby name inspiration:

  • Family names: Your favorite grandma’s first name, or mom’s maiden name could be a good moniker.
  • Place names: Does the city or state you grew up in—or a nearby river or street—have a nice ring to it?
  • Religion or spirituality: Many parents-to-be look to sacred texts for baby name inspo.
  • Nature and seasons: Autumn, Daisy, August, Lily, Forest—nature is full of beautiful baby names.

18 Weeks Baby Bumps from Real Moms

18 weeks pregnant belly @cparran fitmom

18 weeks pregnant bump @gracechalgren

18 weeks pregnant belly pictures @mrslampkin1908

18 weeks pregnant belly size @gheeful

18 weeks pregnant size @autumn.ferreira

18 weeks pregnant pictures @jayceegatwood

18 weeks pregnant woman @notasouthernbell

pictures of pregnant belly at 18 weeks @ruufiooo

18 weeks pregnant belly @colormekenna


Do you think this content is helpful? Let our editors know!


Week 18 Pregnancy Checklist

  • Since baby can hear now, consider making a baby mixtape/Spotify playlist of some of your favorite songs, or tunes that are soothing, like classical music.
  • Remember to start sleeping on your side—or even better, sleep on your left side. This can help increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and baby.
  • Consider buying a pregnancy pillow for sleeping.
  • As your belly starts to show, it’s a good time to coach older siblings-to-be about the baby joining the 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.