18 Weeks Pregnant

image001 Once you're 18 weeks pregnant, it is normal to experience many changes, more so in your appetite. When you experience sudden changes in your appetite, it is important to ensure that you stick to a healthy diet. A diet comprising of high fiber is recommended. You can assess the food groups and know the foods that are most suitable for you and your developing baby. You also need to know the pregnancy symptoms at 18 weeks so that you can be fully prepared for it. In this article, you can find all the useful knowledge about pregnancy.

What Symptoms Will You Develop When You're 18 Weeks Pregnant? 

By 18 weeks, you will notice that your baby bump has gotten bigger and this means that most clothes no longer fit. If you worry a lot about fashion, there are nice fashionable maternity clothes available in stores. You can also find shoes that fit better and those that are more comfortable. At 18 weeks, most women experience foot swelling which requires low heel shoes to manage.

As you approach your 18 weeks mark, you will notice that you may experience back aches occasionally. This is normally caused by the growing size of your uterus which disrupts your center of gravity. The lower back is pushed forward and the abdomen is pushed outwards. Also, your body releases joint loosening hormones that can cause muscle aches.

How Does Your Baby Grow When You're 18 Weeks Pregnant?

By 18 weeks, your baby is about five and a half inches long from the head to the rump and weighs around 7 ounces. At this stage, your baby starts flexing the arms and legs. You can now feel the kicking and it will get more pronounced in the weeks ahead. The baby’s blood vessels can now be seen through the baby’s thin skin and the ears will have reached the final position even though they are still standing out of the head a little bit. The myelin (protective cover) is starting to form around the bay’s nerves and this process continues for a year after birth. If you are expecting a girl, the fallopian tube and uterus are already formed in place, while for a boy the genitals can be noticed by now. However, the genitals are most of the times hidden from the ultrasounds.

Watch this video for more information about your baby’s development in 18 weeks:

How Does Your Life Change When You're 18 Weeks Pregnant?

At 18 weeks you experience increased appetite. It is important for an expectant mother to go for foods that are rich in nutrients instead of foods that contain empty calories. As your waistline and appetite continue to grow, you will need bigger clothes.

Your cardiovascular system is undergoing changes and your blood pressure may drop. Avoid springing up too fast from sitting or lying positions as it can cause you to feel dizzy. It is also advisable to lie down on your side as this allows more room for blood circulation. You can pace a pillow under your upper leg or thigh for more comfort.

What About Diet at 18 Weeks?

1. The Five Food Groups

Foods

Descriptions

Breads, cereals and grains

When pregnant, the body requires at least twice the amount of iron. Grains are rich in vitamin B, protein and iron. Breads and cereals are also rich in carbohydrates which supply energy. The proteins are ideal for building the baby’s tissue.

Vegetables

Vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers. Cabbages, broccoli, spinach, potatoes, tomatoes and green beans contain vitamin C which is required for a strong immune system and is also an antihistamine.Vegetables are also rich in vitamin A.

Fruits

It is important to take at least two or three servings of fruits each day. Insist on fruits rich in vitamin C such as melons, berries, oranges as well as grapes.

Meats

These include beef, fish, chicken, eggs as well as nuts and dry beans. Meats supply the body with proteins which promote healthy cell, muscle and tissue development.

Dairy

These include milk, cheese and yogurt. Dairy products supply the body with calcium and protein among other nutrients. Calcium is required for healthy bones and teeth. Lack of adequate amounts of calcium in the diet can cause osteoporosis in the mother as the calcium is taken from her bones by the baby.

2. Foods You Should Avoid

  • Some seafood

While seafood is a great source of protein for expectant mothers, some should be avoided. Some seafood contains high levels of mercury which can cause damage to the baby’s developing nervous system. You should avoid large, old fish types such as sharks, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel.

  • Raw, uncooked or undercooked seafood or meat

While most mothers love sushi, it is important to avoid it while pregnant. The immune system is suppressed when a woman is pregnant to prevent the body from attacking the baby. Uncooked foods contain bacteria and parasites that can attack your immune system.

What Can You Do When You're 18 Weeks Pregnant?

1. Patience on Fetal Movement

If you are in your 1st pregnancy, it is normal to get anxious about the time your baby will start kicking. Most women feel the movement later in pregnancy while others experience it earlier. Fetal movement is first experienced around the 23rd week even though it can come sooner.

2. Taking Naps

As the pregnancy progresses, it will become harder to make it through the day without a nap. For moms staying at home, you can take a nap when the other children (if any) are taking their naps. You can also schedule a time for taking naps, especially during the afternoons after the day’s chores. For working moms, you can schedule some time in the afternoon for your nap.

3. Joining Childbirth Classes

The best classes fill up really fast, so it is best to start looking and booking now. Different classes follow different approaches with some spreading out in weeks while others can go for a day. It is advisable to take specialized classes. Your healthcare provider can give recommendations.

4. Tips for Your Partner

It is important for the expectant mother’s partner to acknowledge how tiring it can be to experience the changes of having another human growing inside you. You need to lend a helping hand as much as you can to ensure that the expectant mother gets some free time alone.