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18 weeks pregnant

Katie de Klee
All you need to know at this pregnancy stage, what changes to expect, and some great tips for the week ahead.
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5 things to look forward to at 18 weeks pregnant:
1.     You can now really feel your baby kicking!
2.     Leg cramps.
3.     Swollen feet and hands.
4.     A second trimester ultrasound.
5.     A massage from your partner.
How your life will change this week:
Your baby will probably be moving around a lot in your belly and you’ll really be able to feel it. You might also find that your baby is most active in the evenings (particularly when you feel like resting). This might be something that continues well in to childhood…

Water retention might be causing your ankles and feet to swell. Your body needs extra fluid to support you and your baby, so water retention is one of those things you’re going to have to learn to live with during pregnancy. Try not to sit for long periods of time, and raise your feet whenever you can – a good reason to put your feet up. If you get dehydrated, the muscles in your legs may cramp, so make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids.

It is a good idea to try sleeping on your side from now on. When you lie on your back the weight of your baby can put pressure on your blood vessels. This results in slow blood flow to your heart which  rops your blood pressure and can make you feel dizzy. Putting a pillow under your hip or between your legs can help make sleeping on your side more comfortable. 

Your baby’s development this week:
Your baby is moving all around in your womb: kicking, rolling, flexing elbows and even sucking their thumb. Your baby is practising breathing movements, sucking and swallowing, and may even be hiccuping and yawning inside you.

The skin on your baby’s body is still thin enough to see the veins, but they are growing fast and now  easure about 12cm long from crown to rump. Your baby’s genitals are now all in place and if you are having a little boy, his genitals will be distinct and recognisable on your next ultrasound. 

This week’s To Do list:
  • Get used to lying on your side, on the left is best.
  • Ask your partner to give you a massage – you deserve it!
  • Make sure you are staying hydrated.
  • Book an appointment for your next scan.
If you have 5 minutes…
Read what to do when: ultrasound scans.
Look at our top 10 ways to stay active during pregnancy.
Find out the top 10 South African baby names.

Pregnancy top tip.
Flex and stretch your calves before you get into bed – it can help prevent midnight cramps.

Curious about next week?  
Click here to find out what happens next week… And the week after.

Share your thoughts and concerns
Chat with other Moms-to-be in your area or at the same developmental stage as you in BabyGroup Forums.

BabyGroup says:
This article has been checked by Andrea Klinkenberg, Midwife. A member of the BabyGroup Medical Council.

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