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Being pregnant

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.

By Today's Parent
Your pregnancy: 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.

pregnant woman eating breakfast while sitting on the sofa at home StefaNikolic / Getty Images

Eighteen 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.

pregnant woman holding her back Sarah McEwan / Getty Images

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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.

Shot of a young pregnant businesswoman sitting alone in the office and suffering from a headache PeopleImages / Getty Images

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.

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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.

pregnant woman lying on bed with chips and chocolate bar PeopleImages / Getty Images

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.

newborn baby girl with tag my name is Gary S Chapman / Getty Images

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.

stylish nursery FollowTheFlow / Getty Images

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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.

Young couple going over paperwork Goodboy Picture Company / Getty Images

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.

Pregnant woman with her female friends Nikola Stojadinovic / Getty Images

Best baby products for your registry

Skip Hop 3-Stage Activity Center

This three-stage play station (it converts to a toddler table) is adaptable and way more attractive than your average ExerSaucer. Every parent needs a “circle of neglect,” and most babies love being able to stand and play. $190, snugglebugz.ca

Download our printable baby registry checklist!

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

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Finn & Emma Wood Play Gym

There are tons of overhead activity gyms for infants—this one is easier on adult eyes, and adjusts to two heights. The detachable dangling rattle dolls can also be used on a stroller bar or bucket car seat handle. $170, finnandemma.com

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

Fisher-Price Fun ’n Fold Bouncer

Trust us; you’re gonna need a safe place to put your baby while you do fun and glamorous things like pee. Or unload the dishwasher. This vibrating seat folds flat, and the fabric (a new-in-2017 design) is machine washable.

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

Sophie the Giraffe

Sophie la Girafe is essentially a squeaky chew toy, but it’s not for your dog, it’s for your baby. Many infants—especially those who are teething—go gaga for Sophie. (Ed note: Never take Sophie into the bath, as mould can grow inside the toy.) $30, amazon

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

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Playtex Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Playtex is now making “sleeves” for their Diaper Genies, so you can colour-coordinate your diaper pail with the rest of the nursery. Playtex Diaper Genie Expressions Pail with Starter Refill: $75, amazon

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Crib

This crib has four different mattress heights (you’ll need to adjust it once your babe learns to pull up and stand) and converts to a daybed or toddler bed with safety rail. It also comes in white, natural pine, and espresso. $700, westcoastkids.ca

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper

This is Halo’s newest Bassinest design, in a soft trendy grey pattern. It’s height-adjustable and swivels toward you in bed (which is especially handy if you’re recovering from a C-section). Exhausted parents will love the automatic rocking and vibrate settings, and there’s a handy storage caddy (great for pacifiers, breast pads and extra burp rags). $370, westcoastkids.ca

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

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Skip Hop Pronto Changing Station

This diaper clutch can turn any bag into a diaper bag. The pocket holds 2-3 diapers, there’s a refillable air-tight wipes container, and the whole thing unfolds to become a changing pad. $40, snugglebugz.ca

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

Sudocrem Diaper Ointment

Pots of diaper cream are like the baby shower equivalent of stocking stuffers. The zinc oxide in Sudocrem helps battle diaper rash and eczema. $9, well.ca

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

HoMedics SoundSpa Portable Sound Machine

A white noise machine can help babies soothe themselves to sleep. This one is small enough to pack on trips to Grandma’s house, and offers a few different settings, including standard white noise, rain, ocean waves, thunder and babbling brook. $30, walmart.ca

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

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Boon Grass Drying Rack

You don’t need a separate drying rack for freshly sanitized bottles and breast pump parts, but it’s nice to have a designated, clean spot for them. $20, walmart.ca

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

Philips AVENT Soothie Pacifier Green

Buy a few different brands of soothers to try out—newborns can be picky about pacifiers. Pack of two. $6, well.ca

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

Ergobaby Four-Position 360 Baby Carrier

This structured carrier can accomodate babies who prefer facing out and babies who want to be snuggled into your chest. There’s also a hip carry and a back carry option. Don’t forget to add the Easy Snug Infant Insert to your registry (for newborns seven to 12 pounds). $215, well.ca

Watch how to properly wear a baby carrier

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

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Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Bubble Bath

Stock up on baby shampoo and bubble bath—you’ll go through it quickly (especially after your baby starts solids and specializes in making messes). $10, burtsbees.ca

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

Boob Design ”Fast Food” Maternity Bra

You’re going to need some comfy nursing bras. This one is seamless, underwire-free and machine-washable, yet still cute. $65, thebay.com

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

Tripp Trapp

The Stokke Tripp Trapp is an iconic Scandinavian high chair from the 1970s, designed to grow with your baby from infancy through toddlerhood and beyond. New for 2017: you can now get the back of your Tripp Trapp custom-engraved with your child’s name. Don’t forget to register for the baby set attachment ($76), too. $329, ellaandelliot.com

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks Accessories. Baby Set, Whitewash.

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Little One Dinnerware Set

You won’t really use this fruit-tastic dishware set until your baby’s at least six months old, but it sure is adorable. $38 USD, anthropologie.com

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

This article was originally published on Aug 20, 2017

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