Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 18th Week
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We have prepared a great article for you about the 18th week of pregnancy. We wish all mothers-to-be a pleasant reading.
It’s been months since you first found out you were pregnant. As the 9 months and 10 days, adventure is almost halfway through, your baby continues to grow, develop and acquire new skills. While you and your baby continue to change, with all these changes, you should take care to spend the process in the best way for both you and your baby. The first condition to achieve this is to have sufficient information about what awaits you and your baby with the 18th week of pregnancy.
Baby at 18th Week
Even in as little as a week, your little baby will grow and develop enough to surprise you. Each new skill, each growing gram, each developing organ is another small step for him to be born healthy. So what do we need to know about the 18-week-old baby?
How Big Has My Baby got?
Your little one, who fascinates you with its ultrasound image even when it is the size of a bean, is now almost the size of an artichoke. You will easily notice the increase in weight and height of the 18-week-old baby, even on ultrasound examination, and you will once again feel that you are the happiest person in the world with the fact that you are raising a human baby in your womb. Expected fetal length and mass values are approximate as follows.
It is natural that there are individual differences at each stage of development. For this reason, the above values are not expected to be the same in every baby. If your baby shows height/mass development below or above the limit values in the table, even though he is 18 weeks old, it should not bring to mind that there is a problem in his development. This difference is due to the fact that the fertilization date is not exact and is estimated as an estimate.
In other words, your baby’s biological week may deviate up or down from the calculated one. If height and mass increase in normal amounts in the following weeks, there is nothing to be afraid of.
Development of Systems and Newly Acquired Skills
Development of Systems and Newly Acquired Skills In order for a baby to be born healthy, first of all, organs and systems that perform their vital activities must grow and develop in the best way in order to maintain their vitality. Your little one’s systems and organs that make up these systems began to form in the first weeks and continued to develop with each passing week. The organ and system development of the 18-week-old baby also took a long way in this process.
The skull is cartilaginous and continues to grow rapidly. The growth of the skull provides the space in it for the brain to grow. Thus, the brain produces new neurons (nerves) every minute.
cells) can continue to grow rapidly.
With the development of the brain, which is an important control center of the body, the baby will begin to make voluntary muscle movements over time; sense organs will perform their functions much better. The development of the spinal cord along with the brain strengthens the baby’s communication between the brain and other organs. Again with the spinal cord, sneezing, swallowing, chewing, and sucking reflexes continue to develop.
The heart successfully performs its function of pumping blood into the vessels. The heart, which beats about 140-150 times per minute, successfully pumps the blood formed in the veins to the body. As the baby grows, the veins develop transversely and longitudinally, and the volume of blood flowing in the veins also increases. Thus, by 18 weeks of pregnancy, the veins begin to appear under the baby’s skin, which is almost transparent.
18 weeks of pregnancy is a very busy period for the digestive system. The structure and organs of the system were formed in the previous weeks, and this week it continues to develop in order to perform its functions in the best way.
With the development of the swallowing reflex, the baby swallows the amniotic fluid. Urea, protein, lactic acid, citric acid-like substances in the swallowed liquid are digested in the stomach and intestines. The wastes formed as a result of digestion gradually accumulate in the intestines. This deposit will form the dark-colored and dense-consistent meconium, which will be the baby’s first poop in the future.
The last system to complete its development is the respiratory system. At 18 weeks, the baby’s lungs have developed enough to breathe. However, your little one does these practices with the amniotic fluid in the placenta, not the air. The bronchioles in the lungs fill and empty with fluid, the baby activates the breathing mechanism to fulfill this behavior, and his chest rises and falls just like an adult breathes.
Support and Movement System
Bones, muscles, and joints are the structures that together form the support and movement system. Most of the baby’s skeleton is made of cartilage. In the 18th week, the cartilage structures continue to ossify by hardening with the calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium taken from the mother. These minerals are obtained from the foods that the expectant mother eats. The expectant mother should pay attention to her nutrition because if she does not get enough minerals, she will have to give from her own reserves. This can cause skeletal system diseases in the future.
Fingers and toes, nails formed earlier. With the development of the joints, he can now move his fingers much more easily. He can grasp and play the umbilical cord with his fingers. With strong muscles, it moves the legs and arms more forcefully. Facial muscles are developed enough to make facial expressions. It opens and closes its mouth and moves its eyes in its sockets.
The kidneys have developed structures that can filter the blood. Thus, the baby filters the amniotic fluid he drinks through the kidneys and can form urine. The resulting urine mixes with the amniotic fluid, then it will be re-swallowed continuously and filtered in the kidneys, and turned into urine again.
In male babies, reproductive system organs have formed, but have not completed their development. The testicles have formed, but they are still in the groin area within the body, they have not descended to the outside of the body, that is, to the scrotum. Vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes begin to form in female babies, but they do not reach sufficient maturity at 18 weeks of pregnancy.
Sex-determining reproductive system organs in male and female babies are evident enough to be evident from ultrasound. Then, “Is the sex of the 18-week-old baby known?” We can answer yes to the question. If you have an examination appointment for the 18th week of pregnancy, your doctor will try to find out the gender.
If you are lucky and your baby will give you a clear position, you may learn the answer to this question that you have been waiting for. If you can’t find out the gender, no need to worry, it will show itself more clearly in the coming weeks.
The baby creates the first immune system with the dendritic cells it produces. These cells develop defenses against foreign substances entering the body. Apart from this, a white and creamy layer begins to appear on the baby’s skin. This layer, called the vernix caseosa, acts as a barrier between the amniotic fluid and the skin. Preventing the contact of the liquid with the skin prevents the substances that can cause infection in the amniotic fluid from entering the baby’s body through the skin. So this creamy layer is part of the baby’s natural immune system.
18 Week Baby Movements
At 18 weeks pregnant, the baby is quite active. Bone, muscle, and joint structures are developed enough to kick, make sharp turns and somersaults. Since the height and mass have not increased much yet, there is enough room in the placenta for mischief. However, the 18-week baby movements are still not strong enough for the expectant mother to feel.
Although rare, expectant mothers who do not have a first pregnancy may feel these movements as small rumblings. But in women who are pregnant for the first time, it is much more difficult to feel it and distinguish movement from gas movement.
Sense Organs and Developmental Characteristics in 18 Weeks Baby
With the development of the brain, the sensory organs under the control of the brain continue to develop. What about the baby’s senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell at the 18th week of pregnancy?
Eye and Sight
The eyes kept getting closer to each other and finally, as of the 18th week of pregnancy, the nose got closer to the nose and took its place on the head. The eyelids still cannot open and close, but the eye muscles have developed enough to move the eyes freely in their sockets.
Ear and Hearing
The auricle has already formed. It continues to grow and becomes more pronounced outwardly. The ears are not yet where they should be on the head. Although the sense of hearing is not yet developed enough to hear its mother’s voice, the hearing receptors continue to increase in number and mature rapidly.
Skin and the Sense of Touch
It creates chubby baby skin by continuing to store fat in the subcutaneous layer. The adipose tissue accumulating on the fingertips creates ring-ring lines here. These rings will create the fingerprint that will make your baby different from all other people in the world. The nails that start to grow on the hands and feet continue to grow and become evident.
Veins begin to appear under the transparent skin layer. The fat layer accumulated under the skin is not yet sufficient to obtain energy and heat. For this reason, the increase in the number of lanugo hairs, which serve to insulate the baby’s body and start to grow in the previous weeks, continues. As the number of tactile receptors increases and continues to develop, temperature, pressure, and similar stimuli can be perceived in larger parts of the baby’s body.
Tongue and Taste
The taste buds on the tongue continue to mature, increasing in number. While the 18-week-old baby swallows the amniotic fluid, he can now taste the acids and proteins in the fluid. With the foods that the expectant mother eats mixed with the amniotic fluid, your baby can even taste the foods you eat.
Nose and sense of smell
The senses of taste and smell work in coordination. For this reason, the smell of the substances in the amniotic fluid entering the nose can be partially perceived by the baby.
Mom at 18 Weeks Pregnancy
While your baby continues the growth and development process without slowing down, the 18-week pregnant will also be affected physically and mentally by this process. So what happens in the mother’s body and psychology at 18 weeks of pregnancy? Let’s examine the curious details together.
Frequent urination and urinary tract infections:
As the baby grows, it takes up more space in the womb. The baby, who wants to make room for himself, puts pressure on the bladder as well as other internal organs. This pressure causes the need to go to the toilet if even a small amount of urine accumulates in the bladder. The heavier baby can close the urethra as well as the bladder. Obstruction of the pipe may cause urinary tract infections by increasing the possibility of disease-causing microorganisms multiplying on the road.
Pregnancy stretch marks:
At 18 weeks of pregnancy, your belly has grown enough to show that you are pregnant from the outside. Of course, with the abdomen, there will be enlargement in other parts of the body, especially in the chest, hips, legs. Sometimes the skin cannot keep up with this rapid expansion, and as a result, pink, purple, or white cracks may form on the skin surface. Stretch marks are not a problem that will put the health of the mother or baby at risk. However, since it is usually permanent, it can cause an undesirable appearance.
Swelling and growth in the feet:
“I went into labor with the number 42.” You can be sure that your friend is not exaggerating. It is not correct to attribute the reason for this only to the weight gained during the routine period of pregnancy and the payment.
Pregnancy hormones relax the muscles in the pelvis area, where the uterus and ovaries are located, and bring the uterus to suitable conditions for the growing baby. However, it also relaxes the muscles between the bones of the pelvis and the bones of the feet. The weight on the loose muscles inevitably causes an enlargement in the foot structure.
Pain in the lower back and legs:
With the growth of the baby, the weight gained by the mother can increase the load on the waist and legs and cause pain.
Heartburn and indigestion:
Pregnancy hormones have a slowing effect on muscle movements. This effect also slows down digestion in the intestines and stomach. Slowed digestion produces symptoms of heartburn and heartburn.
Hemorrhoids are one of the most common and most annoying symptoms at 18 weeks of pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are a condition that occurs as a result of the growing baby pressing on the intestines and the slowing of the bowel movements by the effect of pregnancy hormones, causing constipation.
Breast enlargement and tenderness:
Increasing pregnancy hormones stimulate the mammary glands and initiate milk production in the ducts. The ducts that accumulate milk swell, causing tension and tenderness in the breasts.
Tips to Minimize Annoying Pregnancy Symptoms!
You have finally come to the period when you can enjoy pregnancy. Because the 2nd trimester is a relatively easier period in terms of symptoms compared to the 1st and 3rd trimesters. However, some symptoms may still bother you. In order to minimize pregnancy symptoms, it will be useful to be careful about the following points.
- You can minimize back and leg pain by being careful not to gain more weight than expected at 18 weeks of pregnancy.
- To prevent stretch marks, pay attention to controlled weight gain, keep the skin moist by using stretch creams or natural oils with herbal ingredients.
- In order to minimize bone pain and edema, try not to stay up long and sit and even lie down whenever possible during the day.
- Feed frequently and little by little. In this way, you can minimize digestive system complaints.
How Much Weight Should You Gain?
If you are wondering how much weight can be gained at 18 weeks of pregnancy; It will be good to gain about 3-5 kilos. However, some expectant mothers may lose weight instead of gaining weight due to symptoms such as nausea and loss of appetite. Some, however, think that they are two living things and feed more than they need. In this case, the weight gain may be below or above the specified range. In both cases, it is useful to discuss with your doctor specifically about nutrition.
Your baby will eat and drink everything you eat and drink during pregnancy. Therefore, it is necessary to be conscious about nutrition while pregnant. So, it is necessary to know what you should pay attention to about nutrition at 18 weeks of pregnancy.
- Eating as much as before the 18th week of pregnancy is sufficient for the development of the baby. There’s no need to eat for two just because I’m pregnant.
- Be careful about controlling your weight gain by avoiding fried foods, pastries, sweets, white bread and similar low-nutrient and high-carbohydrate foods.
- Consume calcium-rich foods such as poppy, sesame, almond, sardine, salmon, beans, lentils to support the baby’s bone development without tooth loss and skeletal system pain.
- Drink more than 2 liters of water per day.
- Make it a habit to eat small and frequent meals.
- Consume fibrous foods.
- Eat a balanced and adequate diet.
As in every period of life, sports and exercise are important in pregnancy. Within the knowledge of your doctor, options such as light-paced walking, stretching movements, swimming, pilates, and yoga are suitable for 18 weeks of pregnancy exercises as your health allows.
Read more about Exercise during Pregnancy.
18 Weeks Pregnancy Checklist
- Once you have learned the gender of the baby, you can start shopping now.
- If you have not yet had a triple screening test that measures the possibility of genetic anomalies, the 18th week of pregnancy will be your last chance for this test.
- You are in a week where you can have tests that calculate the probability of genetic anomalies in the baby, such as the quadruple screening test or amniocentesis.
- Be aware of what awaits both you and your baby during and after the pregnancy week you are in.
- If you have learned the gender, you can now start searching for a name.
In order for the pregnancy to continue in a healthy way for both mother and baby, it is your greatest power to have information about the process. For this reason, you can make the best investment for both yourself and your baby by knowing all the details about the 18th week of pregnancy.
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 1st and 2nd Weeks
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 3rd Week
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 4th Week
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 5th Week
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 6th Week
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 7th Week
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 8th Week
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 9th Week
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 10th Week
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 11th Week
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 12th Week
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 13th Week
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 14th Week
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 15th Week
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 16th Week
- Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 17th Week
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