Your pregnancy at week 18

Welcome to your week 18 pregnancy update where we outline the changes you and your baby are experiencing.

Your baby

Baby is 14.2 cm long and 190 grams and her circulatory system has begun to work. Her blood vessels are visible through her thin skin and blood will pump through her veins, arteries, flow through her heart, and all of her other major organs. The heart will pump six litres of blood each day! The blood will carry oxygen and nutrients through her body and filter out through the liver. Her ears are now in position and stand out from her head.

Blood from your baby flows to the placenta through the umbilical cord. In the placenta, oxygen and nutrients are transported from your blood to the fetal blood. Although the circulation of your blood and that of your baby come close, there is no direct connection. These circulation systems are completely separate.

A protective covering of myelin is beginning to form around baby’s nerves, a process that will continue for a year after he’s born. The major ultrasound you will have around this time will check that all baby’s organs are in the correct place and growing at the right rate.

Just like adults, all babies are different and develop at varying rates in the womb. This information gives a general idea of your baby’s development and progress.

The Mum Report

You can feel your uterus below your belly button. If you put your fingers sideways and measure, it is about two finger widths below your belly button. Your uterus is the size of a rockmelon or a little larger.

Pregnancy weight gain is a controversial topic as what is normal and healthy can vary widely. Your LMC will weigh you at each visit and will discuss diet with you if they have reason for concern. Of course if you are concerned, discuss it with them.

For many mums week 18 marks the second scan of their pregnancy. This anatomy scan is to check your baby is growing well and if any problems can be detected. Keep a close eye on the screen – you might see your little one sucking his thumb !The ultrasound checks baby’s size, organ functions and overall health. During the ultrasound, the technician can measure specific bones, usually the leg, and tell if your due date is accurate. If the bone measures smaller or larger than normal, they may adjust your due date accordingly. Before your ultrasound, you will need to drink a lot of water so your bladder is full during the procedure. The purpose of a full bladder isn’t to torture you! It is so the technician has an easier time viewing all of the parts of your baby.

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