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18 Weeks Pregnant: What to Expect

As a woman enters the second trimester of pregnancy, she notices a lot of changes in herself. Read on...
HerHaleness Staff
Last Updated: Oct 03, 2018
It is often said that the second trimester is the honeymoon phase of pregnancy, as an expecting mother is done with her first trimester pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness, nausea, vomiting, etc., and is more comfortable with the changes going inside her body.
Although the experiences during the first 18 weeks of pregnancy may vary from one woman to another, it is the time when their appetite starts increasing, and the baby is ready to bust a move. Hence, we can say that it is the most exciting phase of pregnancy, wherein a mother can actually feel her baby.
During this time, the baby is nearly five and a half inches long and five ounces in weight, and has grown enough to make the mother feel his twisting, rolling, kicking, and punching around the womb. The baby can hear and recognize your voice, and you can even feel the baby's heartbeat using a stethoscope.
Besides these enthralling and amazing changes, there are also some other physical changes that a woman experiences. So, let us have a look at them first, followed by what she should expect during this phase.
Symptoms of Pregnancy
As the baby is growing, there is an increasing pressure on the mother's body. During this time, the uterus is about the size of a cantaloupe, pulling the lower back forward, and forcing the abdomen out. Also, the hormonal changes affect the muscles and ligaments, and causes symptoms like:
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Flatulence, gas, or stomach bloating
  • Aching of varicose veins in the legs due to increased pressure
  • Leg cramps or mild swelling of the ankles and feet
  • Appearance of stretch marks around the belly
  • Skin problems like acne, edema, itchiness, or redness
What to Expect
Hunger
As she reaches the second trimester of pregnancy, a woman will start feeling hungry much more frequently. She needs to increase the amount of food she is eating in order to meet her as well as the baby's dietary requirements. Also, heavy or fried foods ought to be avoided, as they are not healthy for the baby. They can lead to indigestion and heartburn.
Hence, she should try having smaller yet frequent meals, eat slowly, and chew thoroughly to overcome these symptoms. She should also avoid lying down right after eating, and should add a bit of exercise to her routine, as this will keep her and the baby healthy.
Low Blood Pressure
During this time, the blood pressure usually drops, causing a feeling of dizziness or nausea. Hence, it is advisable to keep some fruit juice or snack handy to avoid such symptoms.
Difficulty While Sleeping
As the belly continues to grow, the mother may find a little difficulty sleeping at night. For this, she can use a pregnancy pillow to support her growing belly and knees while sleeping.
Heightened Sex Drive
Many women also develop a higher sex drive during this time. Hence, it is recommended that the expecting mother and father should consult their doctor regarding whether it is safe having sex during the second trimester. At this time, she can also expect her doctor to confirm whether she is having more than one baby.
Inability To Feel Baby's Moves
The mother may be unable to feel her baby's movements, and not showing much in her 2nd trimester because either she has strong muscles in the abdomen, or she is a bit overweight in that area, which keeps her from feeling the baby movements right away. Hence, she should not build up unnecessary worries, and simply keep following her doctor's advice.
Taking the prenatal vitamins regularly, staying hydrated, having proper diet, and getting enough rest, is what is expected from an 18-weeks pregnant woman. In case of boredom or just whiling time, she can read some pregnancy-related books or start looking for cute baby names.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only and not intended to replace the advice offered by a medical expert.