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Pregnancy at week 18

5-minute read

Your baby

Your baby should now have eyebrows, hair and fingernails and they can yawn and hiccup. Their nervous system is developing and a layer of myelin is growing to cover their nerve cells. Their bowel is filling with meconium, which will become their first poos.

Your baby is moving around a lot by now. You might notice this as little 'flutters' in your abdomen. This is known as 'quickening'. As your pregnancy progresses, their movements will become more distinct, and you will more easily feel their kicks, jabbing and elbowing.

If you can't feel your baby's movements yet, don't worry — you might not feel anything for another couple of weeks. If you haven't felt your baby move by 24 weeks, contact your doctor or midwife.

Your body

By 18 weeks, some women are starting to feel light-headed and dizzy particularly when going from a lying to standing position. This is because your growing uterus can push against an artery when you're sitting or lying down and when you stand up, there's a rush of blood which makes your head spin. Try getting up slowly particularly moving from lying down to standing.

You may notice that you're starting to gain weight as your baby grows and your body changes. Although how much weight gain is normal during pregnancy will depend on your weight range before you fell pregnant, and other factors. Putting on more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy can lead to complications for you and your baby.

You don't need to eat a lot more food during pregnancy, but do should try and make sure you have a healthy diet so you and your baby are able to get the nutrition you need.

Things to remember

Between 18 and 22 weeks, you will be offered another ultrasound. This is called a fetal anomaly or morphology scan.

It checks your baby's body organs, specifically looking at their structure and growth. Their gestational age and size will also be estimated based on these measurements. This scan also checks your baby's heart rate and rhythm, and makes sure your placenta is not lying near or over the cervix and that the cervix is long and closed. Depending on your baby's position, this scan may also reveal your baby's sex, although this detail will only be shared if you want to know.

Resources and support

Speak to your doctor, midwife or obstetrician if you have questions about your pregnancy.

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby also has more information on:

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

NEXT WEEK...YOUR PREGNANCY AT WEEK 19 — Learn about your pregnancy journey and what is happening to you and your baby.

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Last reviewed: August 2023

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Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

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