Your Pregnancy Fetal Development: Week 18
Now that you're in the full throes of the second trimester, you're feeling and looking fabulous. So don't waste it! See friends (they've missed you since you moved your bedtime up to 7:00 p.m.), plan romantic dinners with your partner (you will miss those when junior arrives) and get active. Waterskiing might be a little too much but swimming and taking long walks are great for you and your bambino.
What You're Thinking: "Either I have an ongoing case of indigestion or there might actually be something moving around my gut!"
Your baby's ears are now facing forward and are completely formed so she can actually hear you talking now. You don't need to abandon your potty mouth just yet, but you might want to start thinking about it! Other highlights this week:
- This week is also the beginning of ossification. And while that sounds like some long and involved paperwork you'll have to fill out, it's really a fancy medical term for the hardening of your baby's miniature bones. And that's a good thing.
- Your baby's nerves are making more and more complex connections. Her sense of smell, taste, sight and hearing are all developing. A substance called myelin, which makes nerve connections travel faster, is now coating your baby's nerves.
- Your baby now weighs between 5 and 7 ounces and is about 5 1/2 inches long—about the size of a pickle from the corner deli. (You're familiar with pickles, right? Your regular accompaniment to a big bowl of ice cream?)
- At about 18 weeks, you might begin to feel a suspicious flutter in your belly. The professionals call it "quickening," we call it "baby's makin' waves!" Within the next few weeks, those tiny bubbly feelings will become more obvious. And soon enough they'll be unmistakably identifiable—especially when you (and anyone within 10 feet of you) can see tiny feet, elbows and knees moving across your belly.
- Gas pains are a way of life now, so it's common to mistake fetal movement for a little indigestion. If you don't start feeling your baby's flutter kick right away at 18 weeks, don't worry. Quickening happens at different times for different people. If you notice a distinct lack of fetal movement after feeling your baby move for several days, contact your health-care provider.
- If you're feeling hungry these days, indulge (in moderation). It's especially important to load up on carbs right now to fuel both your and your baby's energy needs. So hold off on the Atkins diet for another 22 weeks or so.
- Getting your baby to sleep will become one of your sole missions in life (the others will be feeding him and then making sure the food is coming out the other end OK). Get off to a good snoozy start by making sure you can instantly change the baby's room from light and airy to Sleepyville, USA.
- Don't spend a boatload on fancy window treatments. Save some pennies and make your own curtains, complete with blackout liners. And you don't even have to sew to do it. Get out your trusty glue gun or try Stitch Witchery Fusible Adhesive, a sticky tape that can help you instantly make curtains with nary a needle or thread.
- No matter if you make them or buy them; you need to baby-proof your curtains. Indeed, your baby won't move around for a few months, but before you know it, he'll be all over the place. Avoid long, floor-length draperies that will be huge "pull-it-down" temptations for a curious crawler.
- Retrofit potential cord hazards and read up on other window-covering safety tips from the Window Covering Safety Council.
- If you haven't done it yet, start an online baby registry. One of the wonderful things about being preggers is that people want to buy you stuff. Help them out and keep yourself organized with what you have and what you need.