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Track Your Baby's Development Week By Week
Track Your Baby's Development Week By Week
..where little means a lot

Note: The length, weight and size mentioned below are only a guideline, as these vary from baby to baby and from one pregnancy to another.

What is going on with your baby during week 18?

  • From crown to rump your baby measures at 5-5½ inches, and weighs slightly above 5oz. Fetus is the size of a soap bar.
  • Your baby continues to have hiccups which you cannot hear but can probably feel especially if this isn't your first baby.
  • Brown fat has begun to form under baby's skin - this acts as an insulator after birth when baby adapts to change from the uterus to the outside world.
  • A good dose of amniotic fluid is being swallowed everyday by the fetus; interestingly, some scientists believe this act keeps the amniotic fluid at the appropriate level constantly.
  • This week the bones of the ear form completely along with the part of the brain that processes signals from the ears - therefore at this stage baby is able to hear your heart beating, your stomach rumbling or movement of blood through the cord.

Week 18 Fetus

Changes in you at this stage Week 18

During this week and the coming weeks the first fetal movements can be felt. Termed quickening, many cultures believe that this is when life begins.

  • You may experience aches and pains in your legs, tailbone and other muscles.
  • By 18 weeks into your pregnancy, your placenta, which means flat cake in Latin, is more than an inch thick; it contains thousands of blood vessels which carry oxygen and nutrients to your baby. Your skin may go through a color change - it will darken around the nipples, navel, armpits, inner thighs and perineum.

Good to Know in Week 18


  • Healthy fats are good for baby's brain development. Try to add foods such as almonds, walnuts, avocados and salmon in moderation to your diet. That way you are kept feeling full longer as well.
  • Women are more likely to crave sweets during the second trimester than at any other point in pregnancy
  • The most active time for many babies is the 2nd half of the 7th month and the entire 8th month.

Wholesome Advice in Week 18

  • If you haven't felt any fluttering yet, drink a glass of cold orange juice and lie down - the coldness and the sugar are known to get babies kicking. Give your heart a chance to slow down; breathe deeply and relax.
  • Studies indicate that babies will remember sounds that they have heard in utero and they have a preference for familiar sounds. Music you play now may help soothe him to sleep after birth.
  • Make sure your diet contains plenty of B vitamins and good fats to support your baby's developing brain cells.

Your actions can impact your baby's growth at this stage

Managing Migraines

Migraines are fairly common in women of childbearing age. While some women get better after the 1st trimester, others continue to get more frequent and intense headaches. Now that you are pregnant migraine medicines are not advisable.

  • Try sleeping it off in a quiet dark room and apply a cold compress to the forehead or neck
  • Splash cold water on your face and back of the neck if cold shower is not possible
  • Avoid offending foods such as MSG, chocolate, cheese, cured meats etc.
  • Keep your stomach full and blood sugar up but avoid sugary foods in excess as this may cause blood sugar to rise rapidly and then crash
  • Stay active, get plenty of rest (catnaps to feel rested and relaxed), stick to regular sleep timings and avoid stress

Herbal and All-Natural Supplements

Many pregnant women resort to herbal and botanical products taking them to be safe since they are natural or organic. However safety of such products is in question when it comes to pregnancy. Findings on herbal and botanical supplements are not conclusive enough to suggest that they are ok on a growing fetus and whether they are safe for consumption during pregnancy. Although all herbal and botanical preparations are questionable, a few popular herbs are particularly harmful during pregnancy. The list includes aloe, chamomile, eucalyptus, fenugreek, ginseng, juniper, licorice, St Johns Wort and willow and there are hundreds more on the market. You should check out each one and speak to your doctor before taking any.

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Common Concerns in in Week 18

What does small for dates mean?

  • This simply means baby is smaller than expected for the stage of pregnancy. Several reasons attribute to this. A lower amount of amniotic fluid will make the mother appear smaller although the baby is the right size. Maternal height, shape and abdominal muscles can also affect measurement.
  • The fact that babies grow at different rates but are measured against averages has to be considered too. Some babies appear small for a while and then go through a growth spurt.
  • Small for dates can also indicate IUGR, a problem in which the placenta is not doing its job well. Ultrasound will usually be conducted to measure different parts of the baby's anatomy and a rescan 2 weeks later to determine baby's growth pattern. Adequate rest is important as it increases placental blood flow.

What is fundal height measurement?

  • Fundal height measurement measures the upper edge of your pubic bone to the top of your uterus in centimeters. The measurement should equal the number of weeks of pregnancy, give and take 2 cm. However this can vary depending on maternal size and shape. Some women expecting 2nd or subsequent babies can measure slightly large for dates. If the measurement does not appear within the normal range, an ultrasound may be recommended.

Weekly Nutrition advice in Week 18

  • Iron is important during pregnancy; about 30mg a day is required to meet the increased needs caused by the increase in blood volume. Your baby draws on your iron store to create its own storage for the first few months of life.
  • Most prenatal vitamins contain sufficient iron to meet your needs. If you must take supplements take it with a glass of orange juice or grapefruit juice to increase its absorption.
  • Avoid drinking milk, coffee, tea or colas when taking iron supplement or when eating iron rich foods. They prevent body from absorbing iron it needs.
  • If you feel tired, have problems concentrating, suffer from headaches, dizziness or indigestion or if you get sick easily, you may have an iron deficiency.
  • An easy way to check is to examine the insides of your lower eyelid. If you are getting enough iron, it should be dark pink. Your nail beds should be pink too.
  • Only 10-15% of iron you consume is absorbed by the body. Your body stores it properly but you need to restock it daily to maintain the stores.
  • Foods that are rich in iron include chicken, red meat, organ meats (kidney, liver, and heart), egg yolks, dried fruit, spinach, kale and tofu.
  • Combining a vitamin C food and an iron rich food ensures better absorption by the body. A spinach salad with orange juice is a good example.
  • Your prenatal vitamin contains about 60mg of iron. If you eat a well balanced diet and take your prenatal vitamin daily, you will not need to rely on supplements. Still, discuss with your doctor if you have any concerns.

Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.

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