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18 Weeks of pregnancy: fetal development

The development of the baby at 18 weeks gestation, which corresponds to the end of the 4th month of pregnancy, is marked by movements that are increasingly perceived within the mother's belly. Although they are still very subtle, it may be possible to feel kicks and changes in position, reassuring the mother that everything is fine with the baby. Normally at this stage it is also possible to know if it is boy or girl through the ultrasonography.

Fetal development at 18 weeks of gestation is evidenced by its auditory development, where the baby can already hear the mother's heartbeat and the noise caused by the passage of blood through the umbilical cord. In a short time, they will be able to hear the mother's voice and the environment around them due to the rapid development of the brain, which is beginning to decipher senses such as touch and hearing. Other important changes are:

  • Eyes are more sensitive to light, causing the baby to respond with active movements to stimuli from the external environment.
  • Baby's thorax already simulates the movement of breathing, but it still continues to swallow only amniotic fluid.
  • Fingerprints begin to develop through the accumulation of fat at the tips of the fingers and toes, which will then be transformed into wavy and unique lines.
  • Large intestine and many digestive glands are developing more and more. The intestine begins to form the meconium, which are the earliest feces. The fetus swallows the amniotic fluid, which will pass through the stomach and intestine, being then combined with dead cells and secretions to form meconium.

Usually between 18 and 22 weeks of gestation, an ultrasound is performed to closely monitor the growth and development of the baby, check for possible malformations, evaluate the placenta and the umbilical cord and confirm the baby's age.

If you still do not know if it is a boy or a girl, usually on the ultrasound done after this week, will help identify the baby's gender, because if it is a girl, her female genital organ, uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes are already in the right place.

Size of a fetus at 18 weeks of gestation

The size of the fetus at 18 weeks gestation is about 13 centimeters and it weighs approximately 140 grams.

Photos of an 18 week fetus

18 Weeks of pregnancy: fetal development
18 Weeks of pregnancy: fetal development

Changes to the mother's body at 18 weeks gestation 

The changes in the woman with 18 weeks of pregnancy are the placement of the uterus 2 cm below the navel. Itchiness may occur on the body, pimples and spots on the skin, especially on the face. Regarding weight, ideally there is an increase of up to 5.5 kg at this stage, always depending on the weight at the beginning of pregnancy and the physical type of the pregnant woman. Other changes that mark the 18 weeks of gestation are:

  • Dizziness because the heart starts to work harder, there may be a drop in blood sugar and the presence of the growing uterus may compress the veins, causing fainting. It is necessary to avoid getting up too fast, to rest whenever possible, to lie on your left side to facilitate circulation.
  • Constant white discharge, which usually increases as you approach delivery. If this discharge changes color, consistency, smell or causes irritation, the doctor should be informed as it may be an infection.

This is a good phase to choose the maternity, to prepare the the things you will be taking to the maternity and the baby's room because the pregnant woman feels more disposed, without nausea, the risk of aborting is smaller and the belly still does not weigh much.

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