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Mother and Baby

18 weeks pregnant – what to expect

18 weeks pregnant

Your baby is now big enough that in the next few weeks, you’ll feel him twisting, rolling, kicking and punching. Here’s what your baby and your body is doing at 18 weeks pregnant, and everything else you can expect this week.

How big is my baby at 18 weeks?

Your baby is about five and a half inches long this week and weighs somewhere between five to six and a half ounces.

What’s my baby doing at 18 weeks?

This week she will learn how to yawn and hiccup – something you might start feeling soon! Your baby’s nervous system is also maturing rapidly and her nerves are now forming complex connections. Your baby’s hearing is now getting more acute, which means now is a good time to start talking and signing to your growing bump!

What is my body doing at 18 weeks?

By now your uterus has moved up into position and has grown to about the size of a cantaloupe melon. In fact, you’ll probably be able to feel it about one and half inches below your belly button. Yet this movement is also putting pressure on your lower back, which means backache is a common side effect from now on.

Last week we spoke about the pregnancy hormone relaxin, which is continuing to work round your body this week, relaxing all your ligaments and loosening your joints. Reduce those aches and pains by sitting down with your feet up, or taking a long warm bath.

Common symptoms to look out for:

  • Your baby moving! A very exciting feeling, if you’ve experienced weird rumblings in your tummy the past few days, it’s not something you’ve eaten, but your baby moving around the womb. Don’t worry if you haven’t felt anything yet, it might take a few weeks for you to start feeling those first kicks.
  • Leg cramps: If you’re finding yourself being woken up at night with shooting pains in your claves, rest assured this is also normal. Experts aren’t sure what causes this, but recommend trying calf stretches before bed to alleviate the symptoms.
  • Bleeding gums: Around half of mums-to-be will experience bleeding gums during pregnancy thanks to those pesky hormones. It’s nothing to worry about, but it’s really important to look after your teeth and gums during pregnancy. Find out all you need to know about bleeding gums in our handy guide here. 
  • Heartburn: Another common symptom during pregnancy, as those hormones loosen the muscle connecting your stomach to your windpipe, acid can regurgitate up, causing a burning sensation in your chest. Unfortunately, this is one that is only going to get worse as your bump gets bigger. Check out these five ways to try and beat pregnancy indigestion. 
  • Edema: A fancy word to describe the swelling in your feet and ankles that often happens during pregnancy. If your feet and legs look like you’ve just got off a long-haul flight, do not panic, this is simply a sign your body tissues are accumulating fluid to support your baby. You can reduce the water tension in your feet and lower legs by avoiding standing or sitting for too long, and keeping your feet up whenever you can.

Your week 18 FAQ’s answered:

Can I expect to feel movement at 18 weeks?

Feeling your baby move is one of the most special parts of pregnancy, yet it can raise a lot of questions – is my baby moving too much or not enough? There’s a wide range in what is normal, and movement varies from baby to baby. Most women will feel the first movements, known as quickening, between 14 and 26 weeks.

What if I can’t feel movement at 18 weeks?

Do not panic, every baby is different and if you don’t feel any movement this week, it is not a sign that anything is wrong. The position of the placenta can also affect how much movement you feel at this stage – if it’s facing the front (medically referred to as an anterior placenta) these early movements can be muffled and you might have to wait a few more weeks. 

Take me back to week 17

Take me to week 19

Read more, the best maternity jeans for every stage of pregnancy: 

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Maternity True Blue Joni Jeans, £36.00, topshop.com

A baby bump shouldn’t prevent you pulling on a pair of skinny jeans. Like Topshop’s classic skinnies, this pair have spray-on fit and are ankle grazing, but they’ve been adapted for pregnancy with a stretchy waist panel and high rise waistband.  
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Maternity Over Bump Skinny Jeans, £14.00, direct.asda.com

It’s not that easy finding grey stone-wash maternity jeans but they are great if you want to add a bit of an edge to your pregnancy look. This pair from George at Asda has been designed so that, even when you’ve only got a hint of a bump, they won’t feel too loose. 
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Maternity Layla Embroidered Skinny Jeans, £16.00, boohoo.com

There’s a bit of a thing going on for embroidered jeans at the moment and, if you want to get on-board, Boohoo.com has come up with this pair complete with a floral motif on both thighs. Plus, these jeans have a forgiving skinny cut and an elasticated waist panel to keep you feeling comfy as well as fashionable. 
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Super Stretch Maternity Skinny Jeans, £99.00, isabellaoliver.com

If you thought you wore jeans a lot before, just wait till you’re pregnant. They’ll be the one item of your wardrobe you turn to again and again so it might be worth investing a little extra. These skinny jeans from maternity experts Isabella Oliver are aimed at denim aficionados and have a jersey panel, elasticated band, added stretch and an indigo wash that won’t fade no matter how many times you put them through the washing machine.   
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Dark Wash Bootcut Maternity Jeans, £35.00, jojomamanbebe.co.uk

Prefer your jeans bootcut? Try on this pair for size. The straight leg cut and dark wash cleverly make your legs look thinner and longer, while the wide jersey waistband can be worn over or underneath your bump, depending what stage of pregnancy you’re at.  
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Frayed Ripped Knee Over The Bump Skinny Maternity Jeans, £35.00 mothercare.com

Don’t feel like you have to play it safe with your clothes just because you’re pregnant. These distressed skinny jeans have ripped knees, frayed hems and pre-worn creases and would be at perfectly at home in a mosh pit. 
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The Relaxed Maternity Jean, £99.00, isabellaoliver.com

Skinny jeans are great if you’re feeling confident about your body but what if you want something a little more easy-going? These relaxed cut maternity jeans are flattering without being tight, while the below-the-bump waistband make them an excellent option for early pregnancy, when you’re still getting used to your changing shape, and after, when you’ve given birth.   
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Maternity Denim Jeggings, £29.60, marksandspencer.com

The comfort of a legging mixed with the flexibility of jeans, jeggings are a great addition to your pregnancy wardrobe. This pair uses sustainable cotton with added stretch and has been designed to give you a streamlined silhouette. What more could you ask for? 
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Mamalicious Chambray Denim Trousers, £35.00 mothercare.com

For those who prefer a trouser to a jean, these harem-style pants are a real find. The lightweight fabric and elasticated waist make it unlikely that you’ll find anything as comfortable, plus, you can wear them after your pregnancy too. 
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Maternity Blue Under Bump Ripped Skinny Jeans, £24.99, newlook.com

Maternity jeans with an elasticated under-bump waistband are ideal if you’re still early on in your pregnancy and have more of a big tummy than a proper bump. This pair from New Look also have white distressed patches and come in a pretty sky-blue denim. 
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Dark Wash Super Skinny Maternity Jeans, £35.00, jojomamanbebe.co.uk

Super skinny jeans and being pregnant don’t feel like things that would work together but Jojo Maman Bebe has come up with these maternity threads which tick both boxes. A mock fly and stretch denim allow them to be easily pulled on, while the jersey waistband can be worn under or over your bump.   
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Maternity Blue Under Bump Skinny Jeans, £12.99, newlook.com

It’s important to buy clothes that make you feel good when you’re pregnant and these navy jeans will flatter your legs thanks to their close-cut fit and dark hue. 

 
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