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Pregnancy at week 18

3-minute read


Your baby

Your baby weighs about 200g and has grown to about 14cm – about the length of a $20 note. They have eyebrows, hair and fingernails.

The baby 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 'bubbles' or 'flutters' in your stomach, and it's known as the ‘quickening’. The baby will probably rest at times when you are active, so you’re more likely to feel them when you’re lying still at night.

If you can’t feel your baby’s movements yet, don’t worry – you might not feel anything for another couple of weeks.

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Your body

By 18 weeks, many women are starting to feel light-headed and dizzy. This is because the growing uterus can push against an artery when you’re sitting or lying down. When you stand up, there’s a rush of blood which makes your head spin.

Your body is making more blood to nourish your baby, so you’ll need to drink plenty of fluids to support the process.

You may notice that you’re starting to gain weight now. If you were in the healthy weight range before you fell pregnant, you should aim to gain about 1.5 to 2 kg each month from now until you give birth. You don’t need to eat a lot more food, but do make sure you have a healthy diet so that you and your baby get the nutrition you need.

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Things to remember

Between 18 and 20 weeks, you will have an ultrasound to check your baby’s development. This is called a fetal anomaly or morphology scan. It checks the size of the baby and measures physical features including the heart, brain, spine and kidneys.

At this scan you may be able to find out (if you want to) whether you’re having a boy or a girl. If the scan shows there might be problems with the baby’s development, you may be referred to an obstetrician or genetic counsellor for more tests.

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Your pregnancy journey

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Last reviewed: August 2019


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Need more information?

Ultrasound scan

Most women will have at least one ultrasound scan during their pregnancy. It usually takes place between 18 weeks and 21 weeks.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Pregnancy tests - ultrasound - Better Health Channel

betterhealth.vic.gov.au

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Pregnancy - Pregnancy Topics - Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is one of a number of tests that can be used to detect birth defects in pregnancy

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Parental Leave Pay - Services Australia

A payment for up to 18 weeks while you care for your new child.

Read more on Medicare website

Pregnancy at week 17

By week 17, you may want to start thinking about antenatal classes to help you and your partner prepare for the birth and beyond.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Bonding with your baby during pregnancy

Bonding with your baby doesn’t have to wait until they are born. Pregnancy can be the perfect time to start forming an attachment with them. Find out how here.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Neural tube defects

Neural tube defect affects less than one in 1000 pregnancies. There are a number of factors that will increase this risk especially a close family history.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

What is the placenta?

The placenta is crucial to keeping your baby alive and well during pregnancy. Read more here.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Congenital heart defects - MyDr.com.au

Congenital heart defects are problems with the structure of the heart that are present from birth. The defects develop during pregnancy. In Australia, as many as one baby in 100 is born with a heart defect.

Read more on myDr website

What is prenatal screening?

Prenatal screening won’t tell you if your baby has a health condition, but it can assess the risk. Learn more here about deciding whether to have a prenatal screening test.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

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

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

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