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Pregnancy Calendar, Week 18

How big is your baby?
This week your baby measures 14.2cm (5.59 inches) and weighs in at around 190g (6.70 ounces).
Your baby's development
Your baby's pads on his/her fingers and toes will begin to form the characteristic swirls and creases of finger and toe prints.

By this week meconium - which is the early fecal waste matter - will start to accumulate in the babys bowels. Meconium is made up of a number of different materials such as; cell loss, digestive secretions, amniotic fluid, etc.

By the middle of the week your babys eyes will now look forward rather than to the sides and the ears will move to their final position.
Your development
At week 18 of your pregnancy your uterus is about the size of a cantaloupe and the top will be just below your bellybutton. At this stage you should have already gained between 10-13 pounds (4.5-5.8kg's).
By the end of this week your heart will need to work around 40% more than normal to support the demand your baby is placing on you. In most cases this is no real issue as a normal healthy person would easily cope with the increased requirements.

You may have already felt your baby move, and even if you haven't then you will shortly. At this stage you shouldn't be expecting any major movement as your baby is still quite small with lots of room to move around.
Vaginal discharge is common during pregnancy and is usually a whitish color, and this discharge may increase as your pregnancy continues. The increase in vaginal discharge is nothing to worry about, and is completely normal.
Nearly every women suffers from back ache during her pregnancy, you may have already felt it, but one thing is for sure, as you get bigger, so the pain will become more intense. Below are some tips to try and lessen this pain:
  • Watch your weight gain. Try and keep your weight gain steady
  • Exercise regularly
  • Sleep on your left side
  • Use heat pads on the area which is sore to try and relieve the pain
  • Speak to your healthcare provider about any medication which you can use to reduce the pain
  • Pregnancy Massage
Your body
You're probably beginning to prepare for life with baby. Your preparations should extend beyond gathering the layette and decorating the nursery, though. This is a good week to begin your search for a pediatrician or other health care provider for your child.
Schedule visits to meet with potential doctors to discuss issues such as appointment availability, immunization scheduling, and when to call in an emergency. You'll also want to learn as much as you can about their practices and procedures.
Some good questions to ask: How many health care providers are in the practice? Who covers nights and weekends? What is their policy on phone calls? Which hospitals are they affiliated with? What insurance do they accept? What specialists do they work with? How are emergencies handled?
It's important that you feel comfortable with your child's doctor, so do your homework and make your decision carefully.

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