Here’s what you need to know about your body and your baby at 18 weeks

For a lot of expecting mothers, reaching their 18th week of pregnancy is an exciting time, mostly because they’ve reached the half-way mark. Your baby is growing more than ever before, and there’s an excellent chance that you are beginning to see significant changes in your own body, too.

Sweet baby potato

While there’s no doubt that every pregnancy is different, at this stage, there’s a good chance that your baby is approximately five inches long and about five ounces in weight. In other words, it’s as big as the chicken parmesan that you had for dinner the other night. That, or a sweet potato!

What’s very exciting about this stage is that your future bundle of joy is beginning to develop his or her unique characteristics, like its fingerprints. The little pads of fat that accumulate on the fingertips and toes will start to develop its own small lines.

Movement and sounds

And while there is still plenty of time ahead before your little Picasso creates his or her own fingerprint masterpiece, at 18 weeks, your child’s ears will begin to stand out from the sides of his or her head. In some cases, your child might even be able to start registering sounds. Now, that doesn’t mean you should start preparing them for greatness with the sounds of Mozart, but that hasn’t stopped many parents from doing so anyway!

Pixabay

Now, as far as mom is concerned, there’s no doubt that she’s beginning to feel a lot of changes, too. This might even be the first week that you feel your baby move inside your belly. Before you know it, you will also feel your baby kick within no time, as well. However, it’s noted that even if you don’t feel any movement, there’s no need to worry.

Heartbeats and heart flutters

If you are feeling like you are working harder than ever before, there’s a good reason for it. A lot of moms at this stage admit to having dizzy spells, headaches, and fatigue. That’s because your heart is working at least 50 percent harder than it did before you were pregnant. As a result, this can make you feel faint, especially if you are working throughout the day or merely trying to keep busy or active.

If you thought that dizzy spells were bad, a good number of women also say that they begin to get leg cramps at this stage of their pregnancy.

This often happens at night, or when you least expect it. If you find your muscles tightening, try doing a few stretches or some light exercise or movement before you go to bed. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, and if the problem persists, try a warm bath or hot shower.

I’ll take those fries on the side, please

There are also a few changes pregnant moms should consider at the 18-week mark. If you haven’t already done so, try increasing your daily calorie intake. Now, that’s not because you need to “eat for two,” as the saying goes but rather because your body is indeed working harder than it ever was before.

Also, get all of the nutrients you need, which includes omega-3 fatty acids. A well-balanced diet will help give you that boost of energy you need, and if you are looking to continue your workout routine, make sure you consult with your doctor or trusted health professional first.

It’s nothing but love from here on out

With that said, you are now going to be more noticeable than ever before, and as a result, friends, family members, and even strangers will try to give you pregnancy advice. While no doubt hearing everyone’s opinions about your body and your pregnancy can be time-consuming, if not also bothersome, try to maintain a positive attitude. Remember, everyone wants what is best for you and your baby.

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