Congratulations! You're now 18 weeks on your pregnancy journey. By this point, you may have already experienced changes in your body and emotions. But even more exciting is that your baby is starting to go through rapid development. So let's look at the incredible things happening as your baby matures, plus what physical and emotional changes you can expect during this stage of pregnancy too.
Your Baby’s Development at 18 Weeks Pregnant
Exciting news for expectant parents this week - your baby's sense of hearing is rapidly developing! Not only can they hear your voice, but they may also pick up on loud noises from outside. This milestone helps to establish the bond between mother and child, as the little one begins to recognize and become familiar with the sound of their mother's voice. In addition to these sensory developments, if you have an upcoming ultrasound, you may even be able to find out the sex of your baby. The genitourinary system is fully formed, and most commonly, ultrasound technology can reveal whether you are having a boy or girl. Alternatively, you may have already found out via a non-invasive prenatal test. With the growth of your baby's brain and nerves, this is an exciting time as they prepare for life outside the womb!
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As your baby develops, their ability to move becomes more pronounced. This is due to the formation of the part of the brain that controls movement. You may start to feel your baby's kicks and flips as they become more active in the womb. Along with this newfound movement, your baby's digestive system is also taking shape. They can now swallow and hiccup, which you may feel frequently. It's both exciting and amazing to see your baby's development unfold before your eyes.
Ultrasound at 18 Weeks
As you progress through your pregnancy, your prenatal visits become progressively more critical. At around the 18-week mark, you may have the opportunity to schedule an ultrasound to ensure that your baby is developing correctly. However, it's important to note that not all doctors will schedule an ultrasound at this point in your pregnancy. This is because some places have longer intervals between visits, providing women with written or digital material to educate themselves on prenatal care. These resources empower expectant mothers to take their own blood pressure and weight at home. Regardless of whether or not you have an ultrasound scheduled, your prenatal care visits provide crucial information to ensure the health and safety of both you and your developing baby.
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Your Symptoms at 18 Weeks Pregnant
You are now 18 weeks pregnant and have officially entered the second half of the second trimester. This stage of pregnancy is often referred to as the honeymoon phase, which means that you may feel more energetic and less plagued by morning sickness than in your earlier weeks. However, as your baby continues to grow and develop, you may begin to experience new symptoms. Don't worry, though - these symptoms are normal and will likely stick around for the rest of your pregnancy. Remember to take care of yourself and listen to your body as it adjusts to the changes ahead.
Changes in Blood Pressure
During the second trimester of pregnancy, it is common for changes in blood pressure to occur. Although these changes are regular, it is crucial to keep an eye on things, especially with the help of a doctor. Monitoring blood pressure during this time is critical because some individuals may develop pregnancy-induced hypertension or preeclampsia, both of which cause high blood pressure and can interfere with the baby's growth by reducing placental blood flow. Therefore, taking the necessary steps to monitor blood pressure and address any issues with your doctor can help ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.
All Sorts of Swelling
During pregnancy, your body goes through many changes, some visible while others not, one noticeable change that may occur during this time is weight gain or swelling, commonly called edema. Most commonly, edema can be seen in the hands and feet, making it difficult to perform certain activities that require balance. However, putting your legs up in the evenings may relieve this condition. Moreover, with the redistribution of weight in your body, your sense of balance may also be affected. So, it's necessary to be cautious while performing any activity that requires balance to prevent any injury to you or your baby.
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Eyes being Dry
As if the mood swings and constant cravings weren't enough, pregnant people often experience another symptom: dry, itchy, or uncomfortable eyes. Hormonal changes can result in this discomfort, which usually arises around this time and can worsen throughout the pregnancy. You may notice yourself blinking more often than usual, but don't worry; you're not alone. Rest assured that this is a common issue among those expecting, and there are ways to ease the discomfort.
What to Expect at 18 Weeks Pregnant
As you journey through the 18th week of pregnancy, know that the experience is different for everyone. Every woman experiences pregnancy a little differently, and that’s normal! If you have any concerns or questions about your baby's development, consult your healthcare provider for guidance and advice. Remember, focusing on diet and exercise, as well as getting plenty of rest over this particular period will ensure both you and your unborn child stay healthy. And in no time, it will be time to welcome your little one into the world!
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