By now, your baby is around 14cm long and can suck his or her thumb. Your little one’s bones are getting stronger so they can kick, roll and flex their little arms and legs.
The sex of your baby was determined from the moment your egg was fertilized, but by now it should be apparent on an 18 week pregnant ultrasound picture as its sex organs are already developing. Baby girls will already be developing eggs in their ovaries.
Pregnant at 18 weeks, you may be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat when the midwife examines you.
Your tummy may now be quite round as your uterus has increased in size. The target weight gain for the second trimester is no more than 5.5kg – 9kg (12-19lb), if you’ve had trouble with morning sickness and didn’t gain much weight then you may need to increase your calorie intake – see your doctor if you’re not sure. Learn more about eating healthily during pregnancy.
If you’re experiencing heartburn try a couple of simple tips to increase your comfort, like eating smaller meals or having a peppermint or camomile tea. Read more about heartburn during pregnancy.
What to think about
You will now be able to have the foetal anomaly scan, which is usually available between 18 – 21 weeks. It won’t be able to show every problem, but it’s a good indicator if there’s anything wrong with your baby’s brain, kidneys, digestive tract or heart. Check with your midwife to see what is available to you.
In your scan it’s likely that you’ll be able to find out whether you’re having a boy or a girl. Even though it’s not 100 per cent accurate, some hospitals or clinics will tell you. Ask your doctor or midwife what their policy is and before you find out it might be an idea to check with your partner if they want to leave the sex a surprise.
It’s time to book yourself into some antenatal classes. These won’t start until the last few months of pregnancy, but they fill up quickly. If you’re single, don’t avoid the classes; get a friend or family member to go with you. If you’re not comfortable with that – why not try to find a class for single expectant mums? This might be useful to meet mums-to-be in similar positions. Find out more about antenatal classes.
Keep an eye on your blood pressure. If it’s slightly high because of rushing around or anxiety, try to take things easy and find the time to relax.