As you progress more into the second trimester, you will start to notice that your appetite is increasing. This will happen over the remainder of your pregnancy. As the baby grows they are absorbing all of the nutrients as that happens your appetite will increase. This can be where women get into trouble when gaining weight. You will have to increase the amount of food that you eat, try to keep it healthy. It isn’t always easy and it is ok but you have to eat the not so healthy foods in moderation.
But keep in mind that what you are eating the baby is eating. Try avoiding heavy fried foods, these types of foods will not be beneficial to you or the baby and they may cause more heartburn. Try not to lie down right after you eat, this will alleviate the heartburn that you may be feeling. Add a bit of exercise to your routine, you don’t have to exercise every day but try taking a 20-minute walk every day. This will help keep you healthy as well as prevent heartburn.
By this week, your cardiovascular system is undergoing some major changes. Your blood pressure may drop lower than it normally is. You may experience dizziness when getting up from a seated position. Try to keep fruit juice or a small snack on hand. If these persist or get worse, contact your doctor. Your doctor may perform an ultrasound test to check on the growth of the baby. Women who are high risk will have more sonograms than women who are not. It is important at this stage of pregnancy that you get plenty of rest and listen to your body more.
By now the baby’s CR or Crown to Rump length should be approximately 5-1/2 inches and the baby will now weigh around 5.25 ounces. The baby is continually growing at a nice, safe pace. The baby is still developing fat layers but this week, the baby will slow down for a bit. In the last month or so the baby will gain about ½ a pound every week.
At week eighteen, doctors can determine if the baby has any heart abnormalities with the aid of the ultrasound machine. If there are positive signs or unconfirmed signs of abnormalities the doctors will continue to do some testing. The baby will keep moving more and more as the uterus expands. You will start to feel more movement as the weeks go on.
Your baby could be doing somersaults in the uterus and they can even sit cross-legged. The baby’s hearing is more advanced and they can hear sounds as well as the sound of your voice. If they become startled they may start kicking. The baby will become familiar with the sound of your heartbeat and other voices like the dad. The blood continues to go through the umbilical cord. You can hear the baby’s heartbeat but if you invest in a stethoscope you can hear the baby’s heartbeat whenever you want.
The baby can flex their arms and legs, which result in many fetal movements. There is a protective layer being formed call the Myelin, this forms around the nerves that will actually continue to protect the nerves up to year after birth.
Changes With Your Body
By now you will be able to feel the uterus right below the stomach. At week eighteen the uterus is about the size of a cantaloupe. By now, an average weight gain would be about 10 pounds or so. Every woman is different, if you have any concerns about your weight, it is important to speak to your doctor right away. You may also start to use the bathroom more often. As the pregnancy progresses the baby will at some point be putting pressure right on the bladder.
There is a condition called Postural Hypotension, this condition will cause dizziness in some women. This condition can decrease by slowing standing up and to slowly sit down. You will also see some continued changes in the breasts. The areolas will become darker and the breasts will be tender. Some women will have an increase in breast size. Many women may experiences some indigestion problems as well as constipation or even piles. Do not take any over the counter medication unless you speak to a doctor first.
Many women will have a lot of itchiness; this can be caused by tight fitting clothes or undergarments. Wear cleaner clothes and more loose fitting clothes too. If you start to see stretch marks try using an aloe lotion or anti wrinkle creams.
What To Expect
By now, you may have read some baby books that have said that some women can feel their baby’s movements. Not every woman can but don’t worry, the baby has plenty of time to start kicking up a storm. If you have strong muscles in the abdomen or are a bit overweight in that area, you may not be able to feel the movements of the baby right now.
At this point in pregnancy, the doctors will be able to tell if you are having more than one baby. The chances of multiple births are not as common as you may think and the moms who are having more than two babies are a result of infertility drugs. Teenage moms are also more likely to have multiple births as well as pre-term deliveries.
To keep up your energy, you want to snack more often during the day, but stay away from empty calories. If you are not sure what you should be eating ask your doctor they can help you with nutrition.
Keep taking your prenatal vitamins and stay hydrated. Relaxing and enjoying the pregnancy is the best thing that you can do right now. Keep following your doctors’ advice and get plenty of rest. If you want to start looking at baby names, it can be a fun way to pass the time. Nine months is a long time, especially if you found out early that you were expecting.