18 Weeks Pregnant
Time to switch things up. Starting around 18 weeks pregnant you should begin to sleep on your side instead of your back. That’s because baby (and your uterus) is getting big enough to press against large veins in the back of your abdomen, which can reduce the amount of blood going to your heart, making you feel lightheaded—or worse, lowering your blood pressure. Sounds scary, but it’s totally preventable by simply sleeping on your side. Of course, your veins aren’t the only things that are prone to pressure—you are too! At pregnancy week 18, there’s a lot going on. Be sure, in your hectic schedule, that you plan some time to take breaks and unwind. Great excuse for a date night or a prenatal massage!
How Big Is Baby at 18 Weeks?
At 18 weeks pregnant, baby is as big as an artichoke. Baby's about 5.6 inches long and about 6.7 ounces now and keeps growing quickly. That's why you're probably feeling so hungry!
18 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months?
At 18 weeks, you’re about four months pregnant. Since pregnancy is 40 weeks long, at 18 weeks pregnant you're nearly half-way there!
Not only are you super busy preparing for baby, but you might be having some not-so-fun 18 weeks pregnant symptoms, like swollen feet or hands, backaches, leg cramps and nosebleeds. And the stress and discomfort can keep you up at night around week 18 of pregnancy. Here’s the scoop on the 18 weeks pregnant symptoms you may be feeling:
- Swollen feet and/or hands. Swelling can be an annoying pregnancy symptom. It’s nothing to worry about as long as the swelling isn't sudden or severe. If it is, tell your doctor right away.
- Backaches. Baby is putting a lot of pressure on your insides, causing aches and pains in your back.
- Leg cramps. Cramps can be a sign of dehydration, so drink up!
- Varicose veins. These visible purple or blue veins are swollen due to all that extra pressure on your circulatory system. To deal with them, change positions often, prop your legs up when you can, get plenty of exercise and avoid tight clothes and shoes.
- Trouble sleeping. Your mind is working overtime and you're getting more and more uncomfortable. This can wreak havoc on your ability to catch the ZZZs you need.
- Nosebleeds. Bet you never expected these! Increased pressure on the veins in your nose may be making it bleed more than usual. If you have a nosebleed, apply pressure by pinching your nose for five to ten minutes. An ice pack can also help stop the bleeding.
- Baby kicks. Whether you’re 18 weeks pregnant with twins, triplets or a single baby, you’re probably feeling not just tiny flutters but more definitive sensations resembling actual kicks. They’re getting stronger!
Your 18 weeks pregnant belly is rapidly expanding—all the stretching and pressure it’s causing are what’s prompting those symptoms.
Weight gain at 18 weeks pregnant is recommended to be about 1 to 2 pounds per week for women of average BMI, whether you’re having one baby or you’re 18 weeks pregnant with twins. Let your doctor know if you have any concerns with your weight gain so far. Drastic or sudden weight gain or weight loss could be signs of a problem.
If you’re 18 weeks pregnant and not showing much, everything’s probably a-okay. Remember: Every pregnant body is different, and your uterus will grow up and out of your pelvis at a slightly different time as another pregnant woman’s does.
What the heck is baby doing inside your 18 weeks pregnant belly? A lot! Your 18- week fetus is working their muscles and practicing all kinds of moves. Can you believe baby is yawning, hiccupping, sucking and swallowing? They’re twisting, rolling, punching and kicking too—and are big enough that you might be able to feel them doing it!
If you’re 18 weeks pregnant with twins, there’s a membrane that separates your two 18-week fetuses. As they wiggle around in there, they’ll push fluid around and the membrane will shift slightly—you’d probably be able to see that on an 18 weeks pregnant ultrasound.
At 18 weeks pregnant, the big ultrasound is on your calendar for sometime in the next few weeks. The mid-pregnancy ultrasound (a.k.a. anatomy scan or level-two ultrasound) is a detailed examination of baby’s entire body. It’s a pretty cool peek inside! Your 18-week fetus will be measured to make sure their growth is on track. Major organs will be checked for proper development. And amniotic fluid, placenta location and fetal heart rate will all be examined as well, to be sure baby is thriving.
For moms-to-be who are 18-weeks pregnant with twins (or other multiples), both (or all) babies’ anatomy will be scanned at one appointment.
If you want to know whether you’re having a boy or girl, the technician will be able to tell you with about 95 percent certainty at the mid-pregnancy ultrasound—as long as baby moves into a position where their organs are visible. Some babies don’t exactly cooperate!
Reminders for the week:
Medical content was reviewed February 2020 by Patricia Pollio, MD, a New York-based ob-gyn and director of the department of obstetrics & gynecology at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York.