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18 Weeks Pregnant

Sleeping might start to get a bit more uncomfortable as your belly continues to expand during 18 weeks prengancy and beyond. One of the best things you can do during your pregnancy is lie on your left side, particularly during the third trimester. This will help prevent your uterus from compressing a vein in your body called the inferior vena cava. This vein helps return blood back to your heart.

Hungry? An increase in appetite is pretty common about now. Make it count by choosing meals and snacks that are rich in nutrients instead of empty calories (chips, French fries, candy, and other sweets). Bigger, more comfortable clothes are a must now as your appetite and waistline grow.

Your cardiovascular system is undergoing dramatic changes, and during this trimester your blood pressure will probably be lower than usual. Don’t spring up too fast from a lying or sitting position or you might feel a little dizzy.

If you haven’t already had a second-trimester ultrasound, you’ll probably have one soon. This painless procedure helps your practitioner check how your baby’s growing, screen for certain birth defects, check the placenta and umbilical cord, determine whether the due date you’re working with is accurate, and see how many babies you’re carrying. During the exam, you might see your baby moving around or sucking his thumb. Bring your partner along, and be sure to ask for a printout for your baby’s first photo album!

By 18 weeks pregnancy, your baby’s heart is developed enough to show some signs of defects. Ultrasound may be used to help detect any structural abnormalities that might exist. Most babies will be born without any congenital abnormalities (birth defects). If an early ultrasound does detect something abnormal, you can plan ahead for any interventions or surgeries that may be necessary to support your newborn baby after birth.

At week 18, your baby is now starting to produce a protective covering along the nerves, called Myelin. This substance will be produced through the ninth month. By now, your baby’s genitals should be distinguishable, though you may not yet have the opportunity to view them at your health care practitioner’s office.

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