Pregnancy Week 18
Pregnancy week 18 is the most important period in the life of the fetus and the mother. Pregnancy as is well known lasts 9 months or about 36 weeks. The pregnancy week 18 is the proverbial half way mark in the process. This is a crucial period in the child’s growth, as even though the fetus would be little more than 6 inches long, its body parts start forming during this period. Ears sticking out, arm and legs start flexing (though for the mother, it will be still a few weeks till it becomes noticeable). The baby’s skin is so thin at this stage that its blood vessels are visible. Myelin a protective covering starts forming around its nerves, which would take a year to complete after the child’s birth.
If it’s a girl then her uterus and fallopian tube start forming in their respective places, and if it is a boy then his genitals would be noticeable, but would not show in an ultra sound test. The baby’s heartbeat can be heard by the doctor with a stethoscope. The baby may start sucking fingers. Eyebrows and eye lashes appear, nails appear on fingers and toes, and the baby fetus becomes more active. Once Pregnancy Test Accuracy is done, time to know more about pregnancy fact.
During pregnancy week 18
Lanugo starts covering the whole body. Lanugo is a soft & fine hair on the body of a baby. It is the first hair to be produced by fetal hair follicles and is normally shed before the birth, if present after birth it usually disappears completely after a few weeks.
CHANGES THAT A WOULD BE MOM COULD EXPECT DURING PREGNANCY WEEK 18
A sudden increase in appetite is common, and it is advisable to eat nutritious foods, instead of tucking into fast foods with empty calories like chips, French fries, chocolates or sweets. Instead it is advisable to eat more fruits and vegetables, which provide the needed minerals and vitamins, which are so essential for the baby’s growth. Clothes get bigger as the waistline increases. Ordering large comfortable clothes is recommended.
Dramatic changes take place in the cardiovascular system and the blood pressure would be lower than normal. But this is due to the physiological changes taking place, and undue panic must be avoided.
One can expect nausea and feelings of dizziness during this period. One is strictly advised not to spring up from a supine or sitting position. Instead while getting up from the bed from a sleeping position, rise slowly up to the sitting position, with the feet on the floor, and then stand up slowly. When rising up from a chair, use of the arms for support in getting up is advisable. Because of low blood pressure, the blood from the legs do not reach the other vital organs fast enough, so any sharp movement of the body while moving might induce a dizzy feeling. While lying back, ensure that one is not sleeping flat on one’s back, rather recline towards the left side with a pillow under the head, and possibly another under the hips for greater support. Lying flat on the back makes the uterus compress the major vein which in turn leads to restricted blood flow to the heart.
SECOND TRIMESTER ULTRASOUND
During pregnancy week 18, the doctor usually recommends a second trimester ultrasound. Through this painless procedure the doctor checks the baby’s growth, checks out birth defects if any, has a look at the placenta & umbilical cord, checks the accuracy of the due date and finally checks if the mother is carrying more than one baby. During the examination it is normal for the baby to move around a bit.
Pregnancy week 18 signals women to start exercises, with due caution and modifications, as the stomach protrudes a bit. Also it is best to avoid sudden changes of positions, bouncing & jarring motions, sharp movements and lying flat on the back.
Those who are starting off with exercises, may do so by starting slowly for 15 minutes a day and then gradually increasing the time period.
WHAT TYPE OF EXERCISES ARE ADVISABLE?
Walking is the best option for wannabe mothers, as it is the least complicated type of exercise which only require a pair of good sneakers or walking shoes.
Swimming is also a good way to work out, as the water helps in supporting the extra weight.
Prenatal Yoga is also advisable for stretching and strengthening the body, while relieving bodily aches and pains.
Pregnancy week 18, signals the start of Kegel exercises. These are aimed at strengthening muscles in the pelvic area, those which provide support to the bladder, urethra, uterus, vagina and rectum. These exercises prevent involuntary urine leaks during and after the pregnancy, and are also helpful during labor pains. These exercises are designed to improve circulation to the rectal and vaginal area, which help in keeping hemorrhoids away, and speed up the healing after the birth of the child.
HOW TO DO KEGELS?
This is a fairly simple exercise which requires tightening of the muscles around the vagina. The walls of vagina need to be squeezed and simultaneously lifted. Care should be taken to make only the pelvic muscles work, while keeping the abdominal and leg muscles relaxed throughout. Care must be taken not to hold breath as disruption of oxygen supply may lead to discomfort to the baby in the womb. The muscles must be kept tightened for about 8 to 10 seconds and then released. These may be done in sets of 10 and may gradually be increased to 4 sets a day.
Pregnancy week 18 is the time when pregnant women experience the feeling of motherhood. Till this period the fetus is so small that its existence is noticeable simply by the bump on the stomach, but pregnancy week 18marks the signs of development of the baby’s features. It is essential for women to be extra careful during this pregnancy week 18, as any minor injuries or accidents can have an impact on the baby’s growth. Women are generally advised not to smoke or drink alcoholic beverages during this period, as these are known to cause harm to the baby fetus.