Week 18 marks a milestone in pregnancy, as this is the time when your baby can now react with the outside world. At this point, your baby is about 5 and a half inches long, and weighs about 9 ounces.
Appearance: Your baby’s skin is beginning to thin out and will be covered in lanugo (a thin, soft hair) to help keep him warm. His eyes are developing and he can now sense light.
Movement: You should be starting to feel your baby’s first movements. Known as “quickening”, these movements can range from tiny kicks, to gentle fluttering, to rolling and folding motions.
Growth: Your baby’s skeleton continues to harden and muscles to strengthen. He has grown progressively and is now starting to practice breathing. He manoeuvres around the uterus, turning somersaults, stretching and flexing his muscles. Tiny taste buds are developing on his tongue and his ears are quickly becoming more sensitive as well.
At this point in development, your baby’s brain is growing quite rapidly and is making new neural connections every day. His sense of hearing is also developing, and he can now listen to simple sounds from your body (your heart beat) and from the outside world.
Your Baby’s Development: At week 18 of your pregnancy, your baby is in the late stages of the second trimester. He is now capable of feeling tactile sensations like pressure and heat. His lungs are now developed enough for him to take practice breaths in preparation for when he enters the world.
Your Body: The round ligament pain you may have experienced in the past few weeks should have subsided at this point. Your nipples are becoming more sensitive and you may have already noticed colostrum (a thick, yellowish fluid) leaking from your breasts.
Considerations: Make sure to get plenty of rest and eat a balanced diet full of quality proteins and healthy fats. Doing so can help ensure that both you and your baby stay healthy throughout the pregnancy. Though your baby’s development is rapid at this point, make sure to also take care of yourself by doing things you enjoy like meditating, yoga, exercise, or any other activity that helps keep you relaxed.