The changes you get to experience when you are 18 weeks pregnant.
At 18 weeks pregnant, there are already a lot of changes that you will notice. The size of your uterus is about the same size as that of a cantaloupe. In fact, this can be felt below your belly button. In addition, this is also a great time to check if you are having a boy or a girl. Aside from these changes, you will feel several pregnancy symptoms as well at 18 weeks.
Back pains and aches
For instance, you will most likely feel backache at this stage of the pregnancy since your uterus is growing and will shift your center of gravity. This means that your lower back is being pulled forward while your abdomen is thrust out. In addition, back pain during pregnancy is also associated with the production of the hormone relaxin, This hormone relaxes your ligaments and loosens your joints, causing back aches and pains.
There are several ways that can help relieve this pregnancy symptom. In fact, a good way to do this is to use a foot rest when sitting. Using a foot rest to elevate your feet can reduce the pain on your back. When standing up, on the other hand, you can place one foot on a stool whenever possible. This way, you can take some of the pressure off your lower back. Taking long warm baths can also do wonders when it comes to back pains. When these remedies will not work and you can feel that the pain is intense, you can seek consult from your health care provider.
Heartburn is a rather common pregnancy symptom. This symptom can actually persist throughout the entire duration of the pregnancy. A good way to relieve heartburn would be to eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. It is also ideal to eat small frequent meals with snacks in between instead of eating a full meal three times a day. After eating your meals, you need to avoid lying down. You can sit upright for a few hours after eating to avoid heartburn. Lastly, you should also sleep with your head elevated, as this can help relieve heartburn and prevent snoring episodes.
Fetal Movement at 18 weeks pregnant
Most pregnant women will notice an unusual rumbling in their abdomen when they reach the 18th week of the pregnancy. There is nothing to worry as you may actually be starting to feel the movement of your baby. However, if you have not felt anything yet, you should not worry, as there are cases that it would take a few more weeks for you to feel and pinpoint your baby’s first kicks.
The appearance of varicose veins are common during this stage of the pregnancy. Varicose veins will appear mostly on your legs. If they start to ache or itch, you should consider wearing a support hose. A support hose will apply pressure to the affected area and this will push blood towards your heart. It is ideal to wear them before getting out of bed in the morning, as this is time when blood is not yet pooling on your lower extremities.
Increase in appetite and low blood pressure
An increase in appetite is very common when you are 18 weeks pregnant. Since you are hungry most of the time, you should take advantage of this and choose meals and snacks that are nutritious. Since you waistline is growing, it may be best to find bigger and more comfortable clothes to accommodate such changes.
Aside from the dramatic changes that your weight is experiencing, your cardiovascular system also experiences the same thing. As a result, your blood pressure may be lower than usual. To prevent dizziness, you should avoid springing up too fast from sitting or lying position. It is also ideal to lie on your side instead of lying flat on your back. Lying flat on your back can compress a major vein which will lead to decreased blood flow to your heart. Another way to address this is to place a pillow under your hip or upper leg, whichever you find comfortable.
Leg cramps and bleeding gums
Leg cramps are also common during this phase of pregnancy. In fact, you may actually find yourself woken up at night by a shooting spasm sensation in your calves. Even though it has not been established what causes this, you can relieve this by doing calf stretches before sleeping.
Another common symptom at 18 weeks is bleeding gums. This is often caused by pregnancy hormones. The increased production of hormones in your body causes the mucous membranes to swell and become irritated, which eventually leads to bleeding. It is important to continue dental hygiene throughout the pregnancy.
Stretch marks and edema
Stretch marks will start to appear at 18 weeks. This is a common symptom of pregnancy. A good way to reduce their appearance is to make use of moisturizers over your belly. Moreover, you should also watch your weight gain and make sure that you are gaining weight slowly and healthily.
Edema is common during pregnancy and this often affects the feet and ankles. This is caused by your body tissues accumulating fluid. You can prevent this from appearing when you avoid sitting as well as standing for long periods. You should also try to keep your legs elevated most of the time.
Your baby’s growth and development at 18 weeks pregnant
At 18 weeks pregnant, your baby will measure 5 1/2 inches long and weighs about 7 ounces. At this stage, your baby will already start flexing his or her arms and legs. Your baby’s blood vessels will already become visible through his or her thin skin. If you are having a baby girl, her reproductive organs are already formed and in the right position. However, if you are having a baby boy, his genitals will be noticeable and may be detected through an ultrasound. In addition, your baby will already have mastered the art of yawning at 18 weeks.
When you are 18 weeks pregnant, your baby’s nervous system will start to mature rapidly. His or her nerves are covered with myelin and they are forming complex connections. Your baby’s brain will also develop and specialize areas according to the different senses which are the sense of taste, touch, sight, smell and hearing.