Fetal development in pregnancy week 18:
Your baby is now about 5 ½ inches long and weighs about 6 ounces. During this week the baby will gain weight at an incredible pace! Now that all of the organs have developed the baby’s body will focus on gaining weight and size. You may begin to feel a bit off center as the baby and your uterus is getting larger.
Because the baby’s inner ear has formed its bones and nerve endings from the brain have formed, hearing has become very acute. Your baby can hear your heartbeat and the blood moving through the umbilical cord as well as your voice. They will even try to cover their ears if they hear a loud sound!
Baby becomes sensitive to light now, as the eyes are further developed and the brain is growing very fast. A little girl will have all the eggs inside her ovaries that she will need for her entire life. Little boys begin to develop the prostate gland. Meconium, or the first bowel movement continues to accumulate inside the bowel. Brown fat begins to cover the baby, so their skin appears less transparent.
This is the last week you would normally have an amniocentesis, if your health practitioner has suggested this test. Often between 18-22 weeks your health practitioner will order an ultrasound. You may begin to experience heartburn now, as the uterus begins to push upward on your stomach. Try to eat several small meals and stay away from high fat items. If you prop yourself up with pillows it can help with heartburn, too.
As you start to grow and expand as you continue your pregnancy week by week you may find that you start getting a bit uncomfortable. Most women realize some discomfort as they try to get a good nights sleep at night. One thing you can do to improve your comfort is invest in a good pregnancy pillow, one that can support your expanding uterus and belly. By pregnancy week 18 you may want to lie on your left side when sleeping. This can help prevent compression of your inferior vena cava, a large vein in the body supplying blood back to your heart.
Soon you will be undergoing an ultrasound. Typically most health care providers offer an ultrasound between 18 and 20 weeks pregnant. This ultrasound ensures that your baby is developing properly and helps your doctor identify any birth defects or potential problems. Your doctor will check your baby’s size, the position of the placenta and the umbilical cord and re-estimate your baby’s due date to make sure your original estimates are accurate.
You may want to schedule your ultrasound on a day your partner can join you. This is often the first time many new parents will catch a good glimpse of their baby. Most ultrasounds at 20 weeks last up to ï¿½ hour. That’s a good amount of time for you and your partner to bond with your little baby.
During pregnancy at 18 weeks you can usually find out the sex of your baby. Many parents anxiously await this news so they can plan their nursery, while others prefer a surprise at birth. Either decision is terrific. You should always opt for what makes you most comfortable. Keep in mind that while usually very accurate, sometimes an ultrasound may be off. There have been cases where a technician decided the baby was a girl and on birth the family found out they were having a little boy! Keep this in mind when making future plans for your baby.
When I asked my husband what a good tip for dads would be at week eighteen, he said “Don’t tell your wife she’s starting to look fat, because that’s about when you really start poofing out.” Take that for what it’s worth, from the father of seven.
Nothing feels worse that wearing ill-fitting clothing during your pregnancy. This is the case whether you are wearing tops or bottoms. One thing you must invest in during your pregnancy is one or more elegantly designed maternity shirts. Maternity Shirts from Destination Maternity , are crafted with pregnant mothers in mind. They offer the much needed extra space to allow your newborn baby to grow without looking overly bulky or out of style.
In fact, today’s maternity shirts and blouses are much classier and stylish than versions offered in the past. Not sure what to look for? Keep in mind your skin might be overly sensitive during your pregnancy. You may want to look for clothes that are made of a cotton/lycra blend so they are comfortable, breathe AND stretch a little as your growing belly expands!
Pregnancy Health Tips
How much does it cost to have a baby? A lot! Most parents worry at some point or another about financing their baby. Realistically speaking, a lot of parents actually underestimate the cost of raising little ones. Don’t fret, there are many things you can do to raise your newborn baby frugally but still ensure they enjoy the best things in life.
So what are the primary expenses you should be considering? During the first year, most of your expenses will come from diapers, diaper accessories, baby bedding and clothing. Don’t forget along with diapers come baby wipes. Did you know that the average newborn baby requires anywhere from 8 to 10 diaper changes per day? If you are looking to save money, you can always decide to go with cloth diapers. Cloth diapers save a lot of money in the long run. Nowadays there are also many convenient diaper services that are available to haul your dirty diapers away and replace them with clean ones, so you don’t have to worry about the trouble of washing all those dirty diapers!
Baby wipes can also get expensive. Most thrifty and experienced moms however realize that they can make their own! You don’t have to use a washcloth either, which can get tedious and dirty. There are actually several different recipes available for making baby wipes. The most common include the following:
- Single roll of thick paper towels cut in half.
- Two cups hot water.
- 2-4 tablespoons of baby bath.
- Reseal able container big enough to hold wipes.
All you have to do is mix the water and baby bath in your container and add the paper towels. Seal the container and you have home made wipes at less than half the cost of what they sell for in the store!
If you plan on breastfeeding your newborn baby, you will also save plenty during the first year. If you choose or need to use formula, powdered formula is much less expensive than premixed formulas or concentrate.
You can even find bargains on baby clothes. By adding a few new pieces, you can make your newborn baby look cute and adorable. Aside from that, consider online auctions or other discount resources where you can get baby clothes inexpensively. You’ll need about 8-10 pair of onesies at minimum, so you aren’t washing clothes constantly during the first few weeks. You should also invest in some warm baby socks and sleepers to keep your baby warm at night.
Most of the expenses for the first year come from buying baby accessories and toys. Keep in mind that your newborn baby won’t even pay attention to most toys until they are between 3 and 6 months old. Most newborn babies are more interested in looking at your face than they are interested in looking at toys.
Just remember to take everything in stride. You will be able to figure out how to make it work. Parents have been doing it since the dawn of time. You can start by setting aside a change jar that you throw all of your loose change into every week. Use that money as your play money to go out to eat on occasion or splurge on other ‘luxuries’. In the meantime, start putting away ten to twenty dollars per week in a savings account to help manage baby expenses. If you don’t access that money, over time interest will accrue and you’ll find yourself with a nice little sum of money that you can use to splurge on your new family!
If you’re having trouble with hemorrhoids or varicose veins, remember to drink lots of water an put your feet up when possible. The more babies, the more pressure on the veins in the lower half of your body.