Week 18 Ultrasound Image: http://www.pregmed.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/18-Weeks-Pregnant-Ultrasound-Picture.jpg
What to Expect This Appointment?
18 weeks and the uterus is the size of a cantaloupe. The baby is still measuring at about 5.5 inches and weighing 5 ounces. By this time in development, most mothers will feel the movements. Unfortunately, it might still be too early for anyone else to feel these movements. The fetus is moving around practicing yawning and sucking. Yawning is the preferred activity of the week and sometimes yawning can be caught on this week’s ultrasound.
What is Developing?
In the nervous system, some of the nerves that send signals are covered in myelin. Myelin is a substance that is composed of phospholipids and proteins that sheaths the nerve fibers. The myelin allows the nerve impulses to travel at a higher speed than the none myelinated nerve cells. Myelin is essential for a functional central nervous system.
The brain is continuing to develop and at week 18, the brain has started separating the senses. At 18 weeks, the senses of touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste are developing. The hearing and touch have already been in use for the last few weeks.
Mothers are getting close to the half way mark of the pregnancy. The rate of miscarriage is almost nonexistent and it is time to make a plan. Week 18 is a great week to start auditioning pediatricians. A pediatrician is the doctor that will follow the baby’s development once it’s born. Parents that take the time to find a pediatrician before the baby is born have less to worry about once the baby actually arrives.
During week 18, many mothers begin to experience back pain. This is due to the growth of the uterus and the shift in your personal center of gravity. This means that the lower back is pulled forwards while the abdomen is thrust out. In addition, pregnancy hormone called relaxin, helps to loosen the ligaments and joints, which doesn’t help support the back. Relaxin is produced throughout the pregnancy in preparation for birth. The hormone helps to relax the ligaments and joints in the pelvic region to help when it comes time for the baby to be born.
Heartburn is still a major pregnancy symptom. It is persistent, most women experience heartburn throughout their whole pregnancy. The only relief that many women find is the over the counter medicine Tums. Tums is an antacid that helps to alleviate heartburn while boosting the mother’s calcium intake. There are other antacids that are safe to take while pregnant, but the mother should always check with her doctor or pharmacists before purchasing one.
Low blood pressure and high blood pressure are two things that most mothers don’t want to see while they are pregnant. High blood pressure can cause complications for both mother and child during birth, while low blood pressure can also cause complications for both mother and child during pregnancy. Blood pressure should be monitored regularly to ensure that the expectant mother stays within an acceptable range. Attempt to cut out additional salts if high blood pressure becomes an issue.