Week Eighteen of Your Pregnancy

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Week 18 Info

WEEK 18

Your baby weighs about 7 ounces and measures about 5 inches long "about the length of a bell pepper".  She's very busy with flexing arms and legs and trying out those kicks that you soon will be feeling if you haven't already.  Her blood vessels are still visible under her this skin and her ears have reached their final position, although they still stick out a bit.  If you're having a girl, her uterus and fallopian tubes are formed and in place.  If you're having a boy, his genitals are noticeable now and you may be able to see them on ultrasound if he lets you.

After having been so sick in the first trimester you may be surprised by the sudden increase in your appetite that is pretty common about now.  Make sure that your food choices are all healthy ones and keep healthy snacks close at hand for those sudden attacks of starvation that come out of nowhere.  Protein bars, yogurt, cheese, peanut butter and crackers are all good choices to have on hand so that you can avoid the chips, French fries and candy.  You will definitely be moving more into maternity clothes, or at least loose, more comfortable clothing now at your appetite and waistline grow.

Your blood pressure will tend to be lower than you are used to during your second trimester so be extra careful about standing up too suddenly or you may find yourself very dizzy or passing out.  You can also feel dizzy or nauseus when you are flat on your back from now on so it's best to lie on your side or at least tilted to one side or the other.  The large blood vessel bringing your blood back to your heart is called the vena cava and lies between your uterus and your spine and a little off to the right.  As your uterus grows and becomes heavier, this weight can compress the vena cava and decrease the blood flow causing the dizzy symptoms.  IF you can't get comfortable lying on your side you can place a pillow under one hip so that you tilt the uterus away from this vessel.  Tilting toward the left will give your vena cava more room but either side can work.

You will probably be scheduling your second trimester ultrasound sometime between now and 20 weeks if you haven't already.  This is the ideal time to examine your baby more closely to help screen for certain birth defects.  If you didn't have an ultrasound during the first trimester "not everyone does" than this would also be the time to confirm your due date and to see how many babies you are carrying.  You will probably be able to see your baby most clearly at this time, moving around and possibly sucking his thumb.  If the baby is in the right position you might be able to determine if it's a boy or a girl, if you want to know.  Make sure to ask for a printout of your baby's pictures for his photo album.

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