Congratulations, you’ve made it almost to the halfway point of your pregnancy. By the 18th week, your baby will have had his first growth spurt. You may start to be able to feel him moving inside your uterus. Changes are occurring throughout your body as well–some of them good, some of them rather unpleasant.
The Baby’s Growth
During the 18th week of pregnancy, the fetus usually weighs about 5 oz and is about 5 inches long. The baby will begin to be able to move at this point in the pregnancy, and you may even be able to feel him for the first time. Not only will he start to move, kick and twist, but he will be able to yawn and hiccup.
The Developing Senses
Midway through the second trimester, the fetus will begin to develop his senses. His ears will be connected to the brain, and he’ll be able to hear sounds, such as your heart beat, according to the Mayo Clinic. His taste buds will have begun to form, and he will be able to see light. He may also start to be able to react to things occurring outside the womb, such as light shining on your abdomen and loud noises.
Changes to Your Body
By the 18th week, your uterus will have swelled to the size of a melon, according to WebMD. You should be able to see it and feel it by placing a hand on your abdomen. You may experience a drop in blood pressure; as you begin to carry extra weight, your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your system. Be careful lying down. If you lie on your back, the uterus could put pressure on a vein and block the flow of blood to your heart, according to Baby Center.
In addition to changes in your circulatory system, you may notice some changes in your skin and digestive system. You may feel your appetite increasing and may have unpleasant reactions, such as gas and heartburn to foods you normally enjoy. Shifts in your hormone levels can cause stretch marks and acne to appear on your skin. You may also experience bleeding gums, swollen ankles and back pain from carrying around more weight.
18th Week Doctor’s Visit
During the 18th week, you may go to the doctor’s for an ultrasound. At this point in your pregnancy, you will actually be able to see the baby on the ultrasound. The technician may also be able to tell you the baby’s sex, if you want to know. The ultrasound will also make sure that your baby is developing at the right pace and does not have birth defects. If you are carrying twins or multiples, you will find that out during the ultrasound as well.
- pregnancy image by Dor Sela from Fotolia.com