Join the next Smart Parenting Giveaway and get a chance to win exciting prizes!

Join Now
  • Pregnancy Symptoms Week 18: Start Talking to Your Little One!

    On Week 18, you are officially four months pregnant (just five more to go)!
    by Rachel Perez .
Pregnancy Symptoms Week 18: Start Talking to Your Little One!
PHOTO BY iStock
  • At Week 18 of your pregnancy, you are officially four months pregnant or a month into your second trimester. There are five months to go until your baby arrives. Your body has been working overtime, maybe even more so now that your baby is growing faster. Have you decided if you want to know if you're having a boy or a girl?

    Pregnancy signs Week 18

    Your baby bump is noticeably bigger and heavier at 18 weeks. You may distinctly feel it about one and a half inches below your belly button. It’s now more important to watch your weight. Gaining too much weight may lead to pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, which may put you and your baby's health at risk.

    Depending on your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI), your total pregnancy weight gain could be higher if you're underweight. The typically recommended weight gain during the entire pregnancy is only about 25 to 35 pounds. That's just about an additional 300 calories per day, so make then count. Low impact exercises — yes, they're good for preggos without any pregnancy complications — can help you fight off a lot of the new pregnancy symptoms you may be experiencing at this stage.

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
    More from Smart Parenting

    With your belly getting rounder and heavier, the skin on your abdomen will start to stretch and itch. If you haven’t started yet, now is an excellent time to lather on moisturizers not just on your belly but also all over your body to help prevent stretch marks. Keep in mind though that it could still be down to your genes if you get stretch marks or not.

    While managing your weight gain and trying to prevent stretch marks, focus on the positives. Don't mind so much the skin discolorations you might already have now, which should disappear after you give birth. Just embrace your curvier body, enjoy your cleavage, flaunt your thick and shiny locks, and smile — you may already have that pregnancy glow!

    Pregnancy symptoms Week 18

    Consider yourself lucky if you don’t experience any unfortunate and uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms at all! Here are some of the typical pregnancy symptoms you may have on Week 18. They involve managing extra fluids and your growing tummy.

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

    1. Swollen feet and/or hands

    The reason behind edema or the swelling of ankles, feet, and hands is your body's increased production of blood and other bodily fluids. Prevent water retention in your ankles and feet by avoiding standing or sitting for long periods. Try to elevate your legs when you can. Exercise during pregnancy also helps promote better body circulation. It's not a worrying symptom, but if it’s severe, alert your doctor.

    Increased fluids tend to accumulate in your tissues, which is also the culprit behind increased vaginal discharge, vision problems, swollen gums, stuffy nose, and nosebleeds.  

    2. Leg cramps

    Experts aren't sure why preggos get waken up in the middle of the night by painful cramps on their calves, but it is a common pregnancy symptom that starts in the second trimester. Prevent leg cramps by doing calf stretches before going to sleep.

    More from Smart Parenting

    3. Hemorrhoids

    If you're noticing visible veins on your chest or abdomen and varicose veins on your legs and feet, you may also get hemorrhoids. Veins in your rectum can also swell up and cause discomfort. Keep them at bay by drinking lots of fluid, staying active, and avoid straining when you empty your bowels.

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

    The muscle contractions that move food along through the intestines are also slower, so expect to burp, pass gas frequently or get constipation. Combat constipation with added fiber. 

    4. Sleep issues

    Your growing belly is getting in the way of you a comfortable sleeping position. You should also be sleeping on your left side to promote better circulation of newly oxygenated blood to your body and your baby. Many preggos have sworn that a pregnancy pillow helps manage this. It also doesn't help to have a lot of things in your mind, which seeps into your dreams. Drink relaxing tea like chamomile before bedtime to help you relax

    5. Backaches

    Backaches are partly due to the hormone relaxin, which loosens the ligaments and joints in your body in preparation for childbirth, and the extra weight you're carrying on your belly that shifts the center of your gravity and may affect your posture. Backaches can be remedied by watching your posture and doing stretching and low-impact exercises.

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

    6. Bleeding gums

    Preggos are prone to have swollen gums, which may lead to bleeding or gingivitis when brushing or flossing. Gingivitis can quickly escalate to infection of the bones, so better see your dentist and take care of your pearly whites.

    7. Heartburn and indigestion

    The relaxed muscle valve between the stomach and esophagus and your growing uterus pressing on your stomach are to blame for your heartburn. Eat slowly and drink after you've finished your meal. Avoid eating spicy, greasy, and fatty food.

    More from Smart Parenting

    Your baby's development on Week 18

    At 18 weeks pregnant, your baby is as big as a sweet potato or a cantaloupe melon, measuring about five and a half inches long and weighing nearly seven ounces. Your baby's development is just about complete, and the main item on his to-do is to grow, grow, and grow.

    Your baby is now big enough for you to feel his movements. His bones are already strong! Apart from thumbsucking, your little one may have also been yawning and hiccupping inside your womb.

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

    Your little one's nervous system is also maturing rapidly. His nerves are now covered by a substance called myelin, which helps nerve cells make connections and send messages to each other more efficiently. As a result, your baby's five sense are all up and running now. His sense of smell is fully developed. Your baby can now taste his food, feel the amniotic fluid around him, "see" light, and hear your grumbling stomach and voice!

    Along with your baby's fingerprints, his sex organs are almost done forming. If you're having a girl, her fallopian tubes and uterus are now in place. If it's a boy, you may already see his penis, depending on his position in your next ultrasound.

    More from Smart Parenting

    Your to-do list on Week 18 of your pregnancy

    Continue doing low-impact exercises, eating healthy, and taking your vitamin supplements as directed. Remember to take it easy once in a while.

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

    Prep for birth and baby. 

    Discuss birth plans with your doctor. Read up on baby care and scouting for potential pediatricians for your baby. You can also book birthing and newborn care classes! You may also want to start listing baby essentials for a registry or nursery. 

    Go shopping!

    Make your more significant bump and bigger breasts an excuse for a bit of retail therapy! Don't forget to get yourself a good maternity bra for support. You may also find yourself gravitating nursery and baby items but hold your baby purchases after your baby shower. 

    Don't stress! 

    Book a prenatal massage! Go on a babymoon. Just try not to overthink birth or the daunting role of motherhood. Your baby can feel your stress, too. If you're feeling of sad and hopeless, don't hesitate to talk to your doctor about it.

    More on your week-by-week pregnancy:

    Pregnancy Symptoms Week 17: Prepare for Itchy Skin and Stretch Marks!

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

    Pregnancy Symptoms Week 19: Get Ready For Some Aches and Pains

    More from Smart Parenting

View More Stories About
Recommended Videos
View more articles