During Week 18 of pregnancy, your baby continues to grow and develop at a steady pace. Here are some key developments and milestones happening during this stage:

  1. Size and appearance: By Week 18, your baby measures around 5.6 to 6.7 inches (14.2 to 17 centimeters) in length and weighs approximately 7 ounces (200 grams). The body is becoming more proportionate, and the head is aligning with the body.
  2. Developing senses: Your baby’s senses are further developing. Their hearing is more refined, and they can detect sounds both inside and outside the womb. They may even respond to familiar voices or music.
  3. Eyes and eyebrows: The eyes are fully formed, and the retinas are developing. The eyelids, which were fused shut until now, may start to open partially. Eyebrows and eyelashes continue to grow, enhancing the appearance of the eyes.
  4. Vernix caseosa: A protective coating called vernix caseosa covers your baby’s skin. This waxy substance helps to protect their delicate skin from the amniotic fluid and aids in temperature regulation.
  5. Rapid brain growth: The brain is growing rapidly, forming new connections and increasing in complexity. This development is crucial for various cognitive and sensory functions.
  6. Limb movements: Your baby’s movements are becoming more coordinated and purposeful. They can flex their limbs, kick, and even do somersaults in the womb. You may start to feel these movements more distinctly.
  7. Lung development: While the lungs are still maturing, your baby’s respiratory system is developing further. The air sacs, known as alveoli, are forming, getting ready for breathing after birth.
  8. Swallowing and digestion: Your baby continues to swallow amniotic fluid and practice their swallowing reflex. The digestive system is maturing, with the intestines absorbing more nutrients from the fluid.
  9. Sensitivity to light: Your baby’s eyes are becoming more sensitive to light. If you shine a light on your belly, they may respond by moving away or turning their head.
  10. Developing immune system: Your baby’s immune system is developing, producing white blood cells to help fight infections. This process is crucial for building their immunity before birth.
  11. Growth of nails and hair: Nails are growing on your baby’s fingers and toes. Additionally, fine hair called lanugo covers their body, providing warmth. This hair will shed closer to their due date.

Remember that these milestones and changes are general guidelines, and the exact timing and progression of development can vary slightly from one pregnancy to another. Your healthcare provider can provide more personalized information about your baby’s growth and development during your prenatal appointments and ultrasounds.

Elevate Your Legs to Reduce Swelling and Fluid Retention!

During Week 18 of pregnancy, you may experience swelling and fluid retention, which is a common occurrence due to hormonal changes and increased blood volume. Here are some tips to help address swelling and manage fluid retention:

  1. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can actually help reduce fluid retention. Aim to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day. Staying hydrated can help flush out excess fluids and prevent dehydration.
  2. Elevate your legs: Elevating your legs whenever possible can help improve circulation and reduce swelling. Prop up your legs on a pillow or footrest while sitting or lie down with your legs raised.
  3. Avoid prolonged standing or sitting: Try to avoid staying in one position for too long, whether standing or sitting. Take breaks and move around to improve circulation and prevent fluid buildup.
  4. Gentle exercise: Engage in regular, low-impact exercise to promote circulation and reduce swelling. Activities like walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga can be beneficial. Consult with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise routine.
  5. Wear comfortable clothing and footwear: Opt for loose-fitting and breathable clothing that doesn’t constrict your body. Wear comfortable shoes with proper arch support to minimize foot and ankle swelling.
  6. Avoid excessive salt intake: Consuming excessive amounts of salt can contribute to fluid retention. Limit your intake of processed and packaged foods, as they often contain high levels of sodium. Opt for fresh and whole foods instead.
  7. Compression stockings: Consider wearing compression stockings or socks, which can help improve circulation and reduce swelling in your legs and feet. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate level of compression.
  8. Cool compresses: Apply cool compresses to swollen areas to provide relief. Use a cold pack or a damp cloth and apply it to the swollen areas for a few minutes at a time.
  9. Avoid tight jewelry: Remove any tight rings, bracelets, or other jewelry that may restrict circulation and contribute to swelling.
  10. Rest and elevate: Take regular rest breaks throughout the day to relieve pressure on your feet and legs. Whenever possible, elevate your legs above the level of your heart to encourage fluid drainage.
  11. Consult your healthcare provider: If you have concerns about swelling or if it suddenly becomes severe or accompanied by other symptoms such as severe headaches, blurred vision, or high blood pressure, contact your healthcare provider promptly.

Remember, some swelling during pregnancy is normal, but sudden or excessive swelling can be a sign of a more serious condition. If you’re unsure or have any concerns, always reach out to your healthcare provider for guidance and advice.

Choose a Comfortable Bra!

Choosing the right maternity bra is essential for comfort and support during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Here are some tips to help you find the right maternity bra:

  1. Get measured: As your breasts change in size and shape during pregnancy, it’s important to get measured for a proper bra size. Visit a lingerie store or maternity boutique where the staff can help you find the right fit. Remember that your bra size may change throughout pregnancy, so periodic measurements are beneficial.
  2. Opt for a supportive design: Look for maternity bras that provide adequate support. Choose bras with wide and adjustable shoulder straps to help distribute the weight of your breasts evenly. A wide underband can also offer additional support and help alleviate pressure on your back and shoulders.
  3. Choose soft and stretchy fabrics: Maternity bras made from soft and stretchy fabrics, such as cotton or bamboo blends, can provide comfort and accommodate the changes in your breast size. Avoid bras with rough or scratchy materials that may irritate sensitive skin.
  4. Consider wire-free bras: Wire-free or non-underwire bras are generally recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding. They provide comfort and flexibility while accommodating the natural changes in your breasts. However, individual preferences may vary, so choose what feels most comfortable for you.
  5. Look for adjustable features: Look for maternity bras with adjustable closures, such as hooks or clasps, that allow you to customize the fit as your breasts change. Bras with multiple closure options provide flexibility and adaptability throughout your pregnancy and breastfeeding journey.
  6. Easy access for breastfeeding: If you plan to breastfeed, consider bras designed with easy access for nursing, such as drop-down cups or front-opening clasps. These features make breastfeeding more convenient and discreet.
  7. Nursing pads compatibility: Some maternity bras have pockets or built-in slots to hold nursing pads. This can be helpful for managing any leaking or breast milk drips that may occur during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  8. Comfortable and secure fit: Ensure the bra cups fully cover and support your breasts without causing any discomfort or compression. The bra should fit snugly but not overly tight, and the straps should stay in place without digging into your shoulders.
  9. Try different styles: Explore different styles of maternity bras, such as seamless bras, sports bras, sleep bras, or full-cup bras, to find the ones that suit your needs and preferences. Consider trying on a few options to see which styles and designs offer the best comfort and support for you.
  10. Consult with a specialist: If you have specific concerns or unique requirements, consider consulting with a maternity bra specialist or a lactation consultant. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your individual needs.

Remember, finding the right maternity bra is a personal choice, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important to prioritize comfort, support, and functionality while considering your own preferences and body changes.

Categorized in: