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Week 18

Week 18

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Baby is getting bigger! He or she is up to 6.5 inches and weighs almost six and a half ounces. While your baby has been rapidly growing in the last few weeks, growth tapers off during the eighteenth week. Instead, your baby's reflexes are working hard to allow him or her to stretch, yawn and even make faces. Swallowing and sucking functions are advancing, and the taste buds can distinguish between sweet and bitter.

Your doctor will schedule an ultrasound around this time, and you'll be able to see your baby moving in utero. Most physicians will want you to have an ultrasound before 20 weeks to determine your due date, and to check fetal growth. You and your partner will have a sonogram photo to show family and friends, and it may give you some peace of mind to see your baby growing normally in the womb. While an ultrasound can't detect genetic abnormalities, it will recognize certain problems.

You might notice your baby move away when your stomach is touched during the examination, and the retinas are fully formed so baby will blink or turn away if a light is held against your abdomen. If you choose, the ultrasound technician will tell you the sex of the baby at this time. Your baby now gets the hiccups, but you won't feel this movement until your third trimester.

While morning sickness is probably a thing of the past, dizziness becomes common at this stage of pregnancy. Your cardiovascular system is working hard and can't react as quickly, so you may find yourself getting lightheaded when you get up in the morning. This is called postural hypotension and occurs because of low blood pressure. Try standing up slowly, and sit down right away if you start feeling faint. You may have to experiment with different sleeping positions to get comfortable, and hopefully heartburn isn't keeping you awake at night!

You can probably feel your baby moving in your uterus, which is now right below your navel. You may feel more tired, as your heart is now working much more than it was pre-pregnancy. As your uterus continues to expand, you may suffer from muscle pain or backaches. Pregnancy yoga or water aerobics can help you stay limber, but avoid exercises that put strain on your back or legs. During pregnancy, your hormones cause your joints to be more flexible, but over exercising can cause injury.


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