Your Guide to Being 18 Weeks Pregnant:
How did you feel in week 18 of your pregnancy?
At 18 weeks, your baby’s legs are now longer than her arms. She’s looking ever more like a proper human being. Now that she’s roughly in proportion, her body will grow at a slower rate. Most of her weight gain from now on will be fat. Her bones are still hardening, too. She has far more bones than an adult, but many of these will fuse together before birth. Pads of fat are growing on her fingers and toes.
The development of your baby’s digestive system is well underway now. Her intestine is now anchored inside her abdomen, and her digestive glands are growing. Her immune system is also beginning to mature, ready for life outside the womb.
What’s happening to you
The top of your uterus is halfway to your belly button, giving you a noticeable bump. To accommodate this bulge, your right and left abdominal muscles will start to separate in the middle. This sounds painful, but is usually unnoticeable, although you might develop a corresponding brown line running down from your belly button (the linea nigra).
If you haven’t felt your baby move yet, chances are that magical moment isn’t far away. Waiting for the first kicks can be nerve-wracking, and you won’t be the first woman to worry that something is amiss. But there are many reasons why you might not feel anything until later – women who have very toned tummies or are very overweight tend to have a longer wait for those first movements, as do those whose placenta is at the front of the bump (anterior) rather than the back.
Hormonal outbursts are common from the first day of pregnancy to the last (and beyond, to be honest). Feeling stressed and tired will make you feel more fragile emotionally, so make time to unwind with a bath, a few yoga moves or a massage from your other half.
When to check it out
If you’re feeling permanently low, irritable and anxious, can’t sleep or concentrate and have lost your appetite, you could be suffering from antenatal depression. Speak to your GP, who may recommend counselling or pregnancy-safe anti-depressants.
‘To do’ this week
Planning a last pre-baby holiday? Then get on the case now. Once you hit your third trimester, most airlines will refuse to carry you, just in case you have mid-air complications.