Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

It might look like your baby is bulking up! Over the last week, her weight has increased about 50 percent to about 150 g. But over the next little while, her rapid growth will slow down a bit as she continues to develop.

Felt cupcake used to show how big baby is at 18 weeks
Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com

What’s going on in there: Fetal development at 18 weeks

At 18 weeks pregnant, your baby is the size of an cupcake! He is about 14 centimetres (5.5 inches) long and weighs about 6.5 ounces (190 grams). He is starting to develop myelin, a protective coating around his nerves, and his taste buds are developing. He actually tastes some of what you eat through the amniotic fluid now, and he’ll prefer those familiar tastes outside of the womb, too, so eat a variety of flavours and cuisines if you can. Your baby’s genitals are much more visible from the outside, too, which will come in handy for your next ultrasound, when you’ll likely be able to find out if it’s a boy or a girl (if you’d like). You might also see your baby kicking, rolling over and punching in there or even sucking his thumb.

18 weeks pregnant symptoms

You’re now officially four months pregnant! At 18 weeks, your uterus is about as big as a cantaloupe right now, which might be causing backaches and shifting your centre of gravity. It might also be making it a bit harder to do household tasks that involve bending over and balancing (consider this your permission slip to delegate some chores on your list, guilt-free). You might also find pregnancy fatigue creeping back in—if it ever left. Try to sneak in a midday nap on weekends if you can.

Feeling faint
You might be feeling faint or dizzy on occasion. Thanks to the progesterone in your body relaxing your blood vessels and increased blood going to the fetus, your blood pressure is dropping. It’s temporary: Over the next few months, your body will make more blood, but it will return to normal before you give birth. To do that, you need more iron, so make sure that you’re getting 27 milligrams per day, as recommended by Health Canada. Good sources include your regular prenatal vitamins, as well as meat, fish, poultry, beans, peas and lentils.

What’s on your mind this week

Should I find out the sex?
Between now and week 20, you’ll do an ultrasound called an anatomy scan. Most people think of the bonus part of this scan first: It’s the one that will let you know the sex of your baby. Whether you choose to find out is up to you, and there’s a wide spectrum on this, from couples who excitedly plan big gender-reveal parties with a pink or blue cake (and other more elaborate stunts) to parents who point out that gender is a social construct entirely different from an infant’s biological sex. (And why are we making assumptions about preferences for pink versus blue so early on anyway?) But don’t forget that the scan is actually about looking for developmental and anatomical issues: The sonographer is looking at everything from the size of your baby’s head and body to the heartbeat, the amount of amniotic fluid and the location of your placenta. Many problems they find in utero can be treated during your pregnancy or after delivery. They’ll also check that your dates are right and that the baby’s growth is on track.

Just for kicks

What pregnancy cravings have you had lately? From pickles to frozen yogurt, we’ve got the scientific explanation for why so many women experience this common pregnancy phenomenon.

Baby names

Old-fashioned baby names have been coming back in style, so take a look at a few baby names on the verge of extinction.

Pregnancy to-do list: 18 weeks

Start pinning nursery pictures
If you’ve been waiting to start planning the nursery until you know the sex, now’s the time to get started! Many women plan to have their babies sleep next to them in bassinets for the first few months, so you might want to begin by browsing our adorable baby room-sharing ideas. Check out our nursery decor ideas on Pinterest to get inspired by nurseries of every stripe, from Harry Potter-themed ones to gender-neutral woodland decor schemes.

Think about your wills
This one is less entertaining, but it’s important. Half of Canadians don’t have a will, but for less than $1,000, both you and your partner can check this important task off your list. A will is vital to make sure that your assets go to who you want. But, more importantly, you need one to choose a guardian—the person who will take care of your kids if you die—and an executor, who will manage the money until your children are a certain age.

Start your registry
OK, back to the fun stuff: Start thinking about what you’d like to put on your registry if you’re doing one. It can be a bit overwhelming, so consider starting with our just-the-necessities baby registry checklist, which can be customized to your situation. To check some off your list immediately, ask friends and family if they have anything they’re happy to loan out to you. Most will have at least a few boxes of baby clothes, receiving blankets or gear they’d be happy to part with for a while. And see if your more generous relatives (like grandparents-to-be) have a more substantial gift in mind. It’s common for grandparents to buy the stroller or other big-ticket item, such as a car seat, crib or glider chair. We’ve got a round-up of our favourite baby products to help get your started.

Skip Hop 3-Stage Activity Center

Read more:
9 things your baby doesn’t really need in the first year
60 best baby products for your registry
Next up: 19 weeks pregnant

 

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