Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com
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.StefaNikolic / Getty Images
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.Sarah McEwan / Getty Images
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.PeopleImages / Getty Images
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.
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.PeopleImages / Getty Images
Old-fashioned baby names have been coming back in style, so take a look at a few baby names on the verge of extinction.Gary S Chapman / Getty Images
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.FollowTheFlow / Getty Images
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.Goodboy Picture Company / Getty Images
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.Nikola Stojadinovic / Getty Images
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!
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
Once your baby learns to sit up (and therefore topple over), you’ll be looking to surround him with pillows and soft surfaces. Register for some foam tiles now and store them under a bed for later. $95, indigo.ca
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.
Pose your baby on the blanket once a month to document how fast she’s growing. Pretty soon, she’ll be rolling right off the blanket and chewing on the cards. $25, indigo.ca
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
You don’t need to invest in a brand-new changing table if you simply add a changing pad to the top of a dresser you already own. (You’ll also want a few changing pad covers.) Babies R Us Contour Change Pad: $50, amazon.
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.
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
This cradle is ideal for the first few months, when you’re likely keeping your baby near your bedside. You can see through the breathable mesh sides (which lets you check on your little one without getting up), and the spare, simple design may appeal to minimalist parents. $359, walmart.ca
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
When shopping for a bucket car seat, make sure it’s compatible with whatever stroller you buy. It’s nice to be able to click the seat in to a stroller base without needing an additional bulky adaptor. This Maxi-Cosi model is one of the lightest infant car seats on the market (a major pro, because you’ll be lugging it around a lot!). $330, snugglebugz.ca
You can use these soft muslin blankets as receiving blankets, burp cloths, stroller shades, nursing covers and traditional swaddles. Stock up! $55, well.ca
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
If you’re planning to breastfeed, you might want a nursing pillow to support the baby and keep you from hunching over. The Boppy design is one of the most popular nursing pillows; add a cute cover in a design you love. Cru’s Cactus, $35 USD, cadenlane.com. Gray Arrow, $25 USD, cadenlane.com. Gold & Mint, $25 USD, cadenlane.com.
Breastfeeding moms get super thirsty, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle with a straw on your nightstand and wherever else you nurse most often. $32, well.ca
All babies have different bottle preferences—you might have to try out a few different bottle brands and nipple combos before finding out what works for your little one. These are the Philips Avent Natural BPA-free bottles with Natural nipples. $40 for a five-pack, walmart.ca
You’ll want a designated brush to scrub all those bottles and sippy cups. $13, well.ca
Buy a few different brands of soothers to try out—newborns can be picky about pacifiers. Pack of two. $6, well.ca
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
We love the one-handed fold, manoeuvrability and roomy cargo space of this mid-priced stroller. Recline the seat and it transforms into a mobile bassinet with a huge canopy. $500, snugglebugz.ca
Going stroller shopping? Here are the features you want in your baby’s new ride.
Have you mastered swaddling yet? It’s one of Harvey Karp’s five “S tips” for soothing a newborn. The Miracle Blanket helps new parents get an especially snug fit when wrapping up their bundles of joy. $30, well.ca
This sweet, citrus-y baby towel set comes with a matching wash cloth. $45, well.ca
The newest Baby Bjorn bouncer, the Bliss design, is 100 percent cotton and comes in quilted grey, beige, dusty pink and midnight blue shades. There are three recline options, and no plugs or batteries: your baby powers this seat with his own kicks and wiggles. $270, westcoastkids.ca
Bandana bibs like this one are everywhere right now, and fit well even on the teeny-tiniest little ones. $14, well.ca
You may have seen the Lulla Doll, an Icelandic invention, discussed in online parenting groups. To mimic the sounds of the womb, this plush doll plays a recording of a caregiver’s heartbeat and breathing. Some parents say it sounds like Darth Vader, others say, “Whatever—it works!” (Ed note: For babies under 12 months, it’s safest to use the attached strap to secure the doll to a crib rail, instead of leaving it loose in the crib.) $100, amazon.ca
IKEA sells an affordable, not-too-bright and not-too-garish padded activity gym perfect for play time. $35, ikea.ca
Yes, you can totally add diapers to your baby registry. Eventually you’ll figure out which brands and styles work best on your baby’s bum, but go ahead and try some fun, cute patterns, too. $35 for 60, indigo.ca
Whether you register for them or not, you’ll get tons of cute baby clothes at your shower. We love the organic cotton prints from this Brooklyn-based kids’ wear company. $42 USD, winterwaterfactory.com
Register for one-piece sleepers and jammies in a variety of sizes. $37, gapcanada.ca
You’re going to need some comfy nursing bras. This one is seamless, underwire-free and machine-washable, yet still cute. $65, thebay.com
You won’t need a high chair for the first few months, but if your shower guests are looking to contribute big-ticket items, go ahead and register for one now. We love how sleek and modern (and easy to wipe down) this new-in-2017 model is. $195, snugglebugz.ca
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.comAccessories. Baby Set, Whitewash.
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
This on-the-go snack cup is great for stroller rides and outings—the Cheerios won’t go flying everywhere if baby decides to shake it like a rattle. $13, snugglebugz.ca
Make the most of summer with a water-resistant blanket to protect your picnic (and your roly-poly baby) from soggy grass. This design folds up into its own carrying case. $60, indigo.ca
A growth chart is a great shower gift, sure to be used for years to come. $57, snugglebugz.ca
Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners