What does my baby look like in week 18?
When your baby is born, you may hear about using white noise to help them sleep. The reason this is such a great trick is because they're used to noise - the womb is far from silent. At 18 weeks they can hear sounds all around them and might even respond to music or a loud noise.
Your pregnancy symptoms in week 18
When does my bump start to show?
Your waist will start to disappear as your womb moves up out of your pelvis and your bump is becoming more noticeable.
If you've been pregnant before, this may happen a bit sooner than for first-time mums.
Back pain and pregnancy
Your bump is growing and hormones are making your muscles and ligaments relax, which is not a good combination for your back.
If you suffer from backache these tips should help:
- Avoid heavy lifting if possible.
- You may find that a firm mattress or a massage helps.
- Exercising in water, having a pregnancy massage or back care classes may help ease the pain.
- If it’s very painful, ask your doctor or midwife to refer you to a physiotherapist.
Get our free guide to 10 common pregnancy complaints (and how to avoid them) straight to your inbox.
Feeling baby move
You might feel the odd movement as your baby practises kicking, and flexing his tiny limbs. It can be wonderfully reassuring to feel your baby wriggle about inside you but don't expect to feel it much at this stage.
Lots of women don't feel movement for a couple of weeks yet, especially in a first pregnancy. You may not even be sure if it's the baby at first - it can just feel like a fluttering in your stomach.
Read more about baby's movements.
What to do in week 18
How can I find antenatal classes near me?
Antenatal classes are a great way to prepare for the birth of your baby. And they’re sometimes a good way to meet other expectant families in your area.
Ask your midwife, health visitor or GP about NHS classes locally.
If my partner smokes is my baby at risk?
The risks of secondhand smoke are significant. Secondhand smoke is highly toxic, despite the fact that 80% of it is invisible and doesn’t smell.
No matter how careful your partner thinks they are being about keeping smoke away from you, you and your baby still get the harmful poisons. Opening windows and doors or smoking in another room will not make it safe.
If a smoker in your household quits smoking, the benefits to you and your baby are huge, similar to when you stop yourself.
Find out more about the effects of smoking in pregnancy.
Your next scan
You’ll have your second scan, known as the ‘fetal anomaly scan' between 18 and 21 weeks. The reason for this scan is to check the physical development of your baby.
The sonographer might also be able to tell the sex of your baby at this scan. If you'd prefer not to know whether you're having a boy or a girl, let them know so they don't accidentally tell you the gender!
“I didn’t find out what we were expecting in my first pregnancy. In some ways waiting was excruciating but it was so exciting not knowing. We found out with our second, but I think I preferred the element of surprise the first time!” Lucy, mum of two.
Read more about pregnancy ultrasound scans.
You might want to start adding some maternity clothes to your wardrobe if you haven't already done so. Trousers or skirts that are elasticated or loose around your tummy will be the most comfortable.
You don't need to spend a lot on maternity clothes as you won't need them for long. Lots of high street shops have affordable maternity ranges and you can also save money by:
- borrowing clothes from friends who have recently had babies
- looking on local forums or online auction sites
- browsing second-hand shops.
- Lennart Nilsson (2009) A Child is Born, Jonathan Cape
- NHS Choices (2013). You and your pregnancy at 17-20 weeks pregnant. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-17-18-19-20.aspx#close on 08.05.2015
- Backache in pregnancy, NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/backache-pregnant.aspx (Page last reviewed: 31/03/2017 Next review due: 31/03/2020).
- NHS Smokefree [accessed 28/04/2015] Secondhand smoke, http://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/secondhand-smoke
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Reduced fetal movements, Green-top guideline 57, London RCOG, 2011
ℹLast reviewed on June 26th, 2018. Next review date June 26th, 2021.
By Tiphany (not verified) on 21 Feb 2019 - 02:29
Ive been feeling my baby move since 13 weeks. Now at 18 weeks tomorrow, it moves more than it rests! Its been constantly break dancing for the last week and a half!
The daddy has even felt it kick with his hand on my tummy about a week and a half ago.
Im only just going for my first ultrasound in 3 weeks.
Could i possibly be having twins? Ive had 2 pregnancies before this and both of them combined never even moved this much!
Also, why am i so thirsty all the time?!?
I drink literally over 6 liters of water and wake up at night parched! Is that normal?
By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Feb 2019 - 13:13
Only a scan will be able to show if you are pregnant with more than one baby. It seems very late for you to be having a scan, it sounds like you should be priority to have a scan as soon as possible, I would suggest for you to contact the antenatal clinic to discuss this. With regards for you feeling very thirsty, this should be discussed with your midwife or doctor as there could be underlying cause.
By Helen (not verified) on 9 Feb 2019 - 20:25
I'm 18+2 weeks pregnant and have only felt my baby move twice and I'm getting worried also I don't sleep well at night, I don't get hungry so i hadly eat and i dont feel all the symptoms of 18 weeks pregnancy. All i feel is when i sleep facing up, i feel my bump pressed down my stomach and i dont feel comfortable sleeping on my side and have been having emotional meltdown this days which leads to me crying most times probably that's why i have this little headache. Please i hope my baby isn't affected with any of these things and my baby is doing just good. Thank you
By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Feb 2019 - 13:12
It is completely to not feel your baby move much or at all at this stage of the pregnancy. If you are feeling very worried and anxious then do speak with your midwife for support.
By Shez Sharon (not verified) on 26 Nov 2018 - 14:30
Hallo l am 18weeks pregnant and am having difficulties in sleeping. I sleep on.my.left side but l wake up abt twice everynight eith pain on.my left side of my belly shld l be worried?
By Midwife @Tommys on 28 Nov 2018 - 11:39
Hi Shez Sharon
Well done for already sleeping on your side- that is great that you are getting into the habit of this, which is especially important in the 3rd trimester.
Any abdominal pain, at any gestation of pregnancy, should be reviewed.
So to put your mind at ease, please go into your local maternity unit as soon as you can, with your pregnancy notes. All the best- Tommy's Midwife
By Anita (not verified) on 6 Nov 2018 - 06:53
Hello, I am 18 weeks pregnant and I eat well and also sleep well, but my problem is that I dont feel like exercising or walking at all. I sleep during the day or even seat almost the whole day, is it safe for me and the baby? Thanks.
By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Nov 2018 - 14:05
It is great to hear that you are eating well and sleeping well. Exercise can sometimes be difficult in pregnancy, it can give you more energy so you may find that when you start exercising it is actually easier to keep it up and it gives you more energy. It may help to just start when some small changes to your daily routine such as walking to somewhere you may drive to, or taking the stairs where you can, or getting up at regular occasions for a short walk. However if you are feeling like you cannot do this then it maybe worth speak with your midwife, it maybe you have low iron levels which can make you feel very tired.
By Colleen (not verified) on 30 Oct 2018 - 21:18
Hi I'm 18 weeks pregnant and have been struggling with running stomach for 4 days what should i do, is it safe to take flagyl
By Midwife @Tommys on 2 Nov 2018 - 13:27
Sorry to hear that you are unwell at the moment. We would advise for you to make sure that you are drinking enough water and eating well to replace what you are losing. Flagyl can be safe to take in pregnancy in low doses, however only when prescribed by a doctor. It will only help if your diarrhoea is due to a bacterial infection, otherwise it will not help.
By Margaret (not verified) on 16 Aug 2018 - 12:45
Hi am 19 weeks pregnant today... I sent you am message 3 weeks ago through your email address kindly check it for me because it was confidential I could not post it here. Thank you.
By Midwife @Tommys on 17 Aug 2018 - 14:24
Thank you for your message and email - I'm sorry you've not heard back from us. If you'd like to send the message again to [email protected] or call us on our PregnancyInfo line at 0800 0147 800, hopefully we can help you with your query.
By Pal (not verified) on 11 Aug 2018 - 15:39
I am 17.5 weeks pregnant and having aches in upper and lower abdomen since last evening and have severe constipation.
I tried doc recommended stool softner and trying to still use lot of pressure while going to poop.
Will my baby be affected due to constipation and pressure ..Does that affect my baby's growth ?
I feel light flutters throughout day since 2 weeks dont know if its gas,constipation or Baby movements.
I get tensed all the time if baby is doing okay in all prenatal checks. Dont know if fetal heart Mobile App is recommended for me for peace of mind...and if baby should be exposed to it or not.
I have next appointment in 6 days.
By Midwife @Tommys on 14 Aug 2018 - 15:41
Hello Pal, thanks for your post. I'm sorry that you are suffering with severe constipation.
Constipation is also an unwelcome side effect of pregnancy as your progesterone levels rise. High fibre foods, drinking plenty of water (2L a day) and avoiding carbonated and caffeinated drinks should help. Eating a bran breakfast cereal is better avoided unless you increase your fluid intake substantially because it absorbs fluid from your gut and makes stools hard increasing the severity of constipation.
Spinning Babies is an amazing website for pregnancy and birth and early practice of daily activities might help with your constipation.
The light flutters that you mention sound like your baby is moving and these movements will become more frequent and pronounced as your pregnancy progresses.
Constipation will not affect your baby's growth.
We don't recommend home monitoring of your baby I have included a link to explain why below
I'm not sure where you are based but I wonder if you have heard about doulas. Doulas provide support around pregnancy, birth and postnatally and having their continuity of care can be an incredible support at this time of your life
By Paola (not verified) on 4 Aug 2018 - 20:15
Hi I'm 18 weeks pregnant and yesterday I had an accident I was walking at the park and tripped on a root I tried not to fall but I did and the worst part is that I fell on my stomach, now I feel something is loose and been cramping ever since then. Any advice..? Should I go to the hospital?
By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Aug 2018 - 10:34
Yes, Call your hospital for advice. It would be sensible to check that all is well.
By Hannah (not verified) on 16 Aug 2018 - 13:03
Hiya yes i would go get it checked asap! Hope everythings ok! X
By Lisha (not verified) on 11 Sep 2018 - 16:26
Go to the hospital immediately
By Natasha (not verified) on 3 Aug 2018 - 08:52
I am 18 weeks and I usually feel mild kicks and movements throughout the day, I am sick with a cold and I have only really felt about 3 tiny waves all day. Should I be worried?
By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Aug 2018 - 15:48
You are absolutely right to monitor your baby's movements, however at 18 weeks it is not expected that your baby is in a pattern of movements, they can come and go at this stage. If you have any pain or bleeding or other concerns then do contact your GP or maternity unit for a review.
By Heather (not verified) on 18 Jul 2018 - 00:07
Hi I am 17 to 18 weeks pregnant with a baby boy I have felt no movements and I don't really have a bump yet. I'm not over weight I'm size ten should I have a visible bump by now?
By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Jul 2018 - 15:14
Every baby is different and women carry their pregnancies very differently.
As long as your baby was measuring normal at scan, and your midwife is measuring your bump and this is within the normal ranges for your gestation, then there is absolutely nothing to worry about. It is also not uncommon for you to start feeling fetal movement as late as 24 weeks gestation- especially if this is your first baby.
If you have any further queries, feel free to contact us on the helpline or via email.
All the best
By Kim (not verified) on 14 Jul 2018 - 11:17
I am almost 19 weeks and I have felt some movements for a couple weeks. However for the past day or so I have not felt any movements. Also my breast tenderness has all but gone and so has the nausea. Should I be worried?
By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Jul 2018 - 15:47
No, try not to worry. Pregnancy symptoms and nausea in particular are more common in the first trimester and most women find that these symptoms resolve.
It is also very common for movements to come and go at this stage of pregnancy as the baby changes position. Your scan will be due in a couple of weeks so hopefully this will reassure you and movements will increase after 24 weeks. Take care, Tommy's midwives
By Navneet (not verified) on 19 Jun 2018 - 23:58
I am 17 weeks and 4 days pregnant today. From past few days I am having sharp pains in vagina especially when I move one side to the other or when I get up from the bed or chair.. is this normal?
By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Jun 2018 - 13:15
Some uncomfortable pains when you move can be ligament pain where your baby is growing. If you are getting any constant pain or bleeding then do speak with your midwife straight away to be reviewed. Sometimes such pains can also be due to a urine infection which are common in pregnancy, so if this is on going then again see your midwife or GP for a review.
By Nky (not verified) on 12 May 2018 - 13:35
I am 18wks/5days. having a kind of labour or should I say contraction which is not so at my previous pregnancies. also with severe constipation. advice please.
By Midwife @Tommys on 14 May 2018 - 12:23
I hope your concerns have resolved now. I am sorry but we are not here over the weekend to reply to your concerns. Constipation is quite common in pregnancy but you should increase your fibre intake and drink plenty of water to help it. If you think that you may be in labour, please go to your hospital for help and advice. Take care.
By Yeasmin (not verified) on 12 May 2018 - 10:20
Hello. I’m 17 weeks plus 2 day pregnant. Since last 2 day I’m having a pain on the right side of the lower abdomen. Some times it’s bit sharp. Is it normal to have it?
By Midwife @Tommys on 14 May 2018 - 12:19
Make sure that you are eating well and drinking plenty of water as sometimes pain can be associated with constipation . However, If the pain continues or gets worse you should see your doctor for examination and advice. Take good care of yourself.
By Chan (not verified) on 17 Jun 2018 - 03:43
Hi I have been experiencing it too now I am 18weeks and that pain is the round ligament pain where your baby starts growing stretching your muscles it would be very sharp and poly but would last for few minutes so there nothing to worry.all you can do is try avoiding sharp moves while you are getting up and sitting down try to do it slowly.happy pregnancy to you
By Mia (not verified) on 18 Apr 2018 - 04:21
Im 18 weeks pregnant and im working pretty well except for when i get exhauseted or overworked, my lower abdomens starts to hurt and it takes hours of rest to bring my energy back to normal.
By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Apr 2018 - 10:55
We would always really encourage you to listen to your body during pregnancy, your energy levels will vary and it is important not to work until you are exhausted but try to pace yourself. All pain in pregnancy should be investigated, if this is as a result of overworking then it maybe that you need a little extra support at this time. If you have a manger, maybe you can speak with them and see if they can support you in anyway.
Take care and rest up!
Best wishes, Tommy's midwives
By Morayo (not verified) on 16 Apr 2018 - 13:47
Am 18 weeks and my bp is 140/80mm but I hardly sleep well at night because the right and d left side are not so convenient for me and sleep during the day like 15,minutes so I usually feel headache my bump has started showing and I av added weight because I eat a lot.please advice
By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Apr 2018 - 10:30
Hi, Thank you for your comment.
Your blood pressure is on the higher side of normal and this will be monitored at your antenatal appointments with your midwife.
We would suggest that going to sleep on your side is the best way in pregnancy to sleep, as new research has suggested that this can decrease the risks of stillbirth. You may want to look into getting a sleeping pregnancy pillow which can be used to support your abdomen and make sleeping more comfortable.
If you are finding that you are eating a lot, try and make healthy food choices like fruit and veg as part of balanced diet and drink plenty of water, up to 8 glasses per day.
If you are experiencing constant headaches then it would be advisable to see your GP or midwife so that they can check your blood pressure and urine. Headaches can worsen in pregnancy and it is important that you are made as comfortable as possible during your pregnancy. Hope this helps, Take care. Tommy's Midwives x
By Ale (not verified) on 11 Apr 2018 - 03:44
I’m 18 weeks it’s my first pregnancy and I just started to workout and lifting weights it’s that safe ? I used to workout before I found out I was pregnant but i stoped now I’m trying to go back to work out but I don’t want to hurt the baby
By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Apr 2018 - 09:24
Regular exercise in pregnancy is good for both your and baby's health. If you regularly worked out pre-pregnancy, then there is no reason you cannot continue to do this in pregnancy too.
In terms of weight lifting, it might be sensible to decrease the weight of what you are lifting if this was a very heavy weight ( i don't know what you are lifting) But as long as you are not really straining yourself, then lower weight with higher repetitions would be best.
Some personal trainers are pregnancy trained, but you can also discuss this with your midwife as well as us here at Tommy's in more detail. If you wish to call us on 0800 0147800 we are here Mon to fri, 9am to 5pm.
By grace (not verified) on 1 Apr 2018 - 08:20
I am 17 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I felt my baby kicking at 16 weeks for 6 days, but for 2 days now is not moving, but I can feel the heart beat. by my right womb. is something wrong why the baby is not moving. or he is just quiet.or is it developing.
By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Apr 2018 - 12:14
Thank you for your message and congratulations on your pregnancy.
It is common in early pregnancy to not feel the baby moving every day-the baby is still very small and may be in a position in your womb where you cannot feel movements well.
However it is very natural to be worried about this and you may want to speak to your midwife to see if she can arrange to listen to the baby's heartbeat to reassure you
By Rebecca (not verified) on 27 Feb 2018 - 20:23
I am 18 Weeks with my second baby and when I lay down I’m not sure if my uterus is the right size? The top is about an inch under my belly button but it doesn’t feel like it’s big enough for what all the charts read. With my first I never felt my uterus myself until closer to 30 weeks. From the outside I only feel a firm “round” shape a little the size of or a little bigger than my hand. Hope this question makes sense. I just want to know how big it should feel from the outside. Thank you!!
By Midwife @Tommys on 28 Feb 2018 - 12:22
Your midwife will start to measure your bump from around 16 weeks gestation onward. You should be due an appointment to see her/him soon and she will measure from the top of your uterus, called the fundus, and will measure down to the bone at the front of your pelvis - symphysis pubis bone with a measuring tape. This will be used as a guide to ensure your baby is growing normally. Bumps come in all shapes and sizes. So please do not worry, but feel free to go into your maternity triage sooner if you wish to be measured sooner than your appointment to put your mind at ease. If baby is measuring small, then you will be referred for growth scans.
Please take care of yourself
By Anonymous (not verified) on 20 Feb 2018 - 11:52
Hi I believe I'm 18 weeks. My count is not perfect. But I constantly have acid reflux and I'm over heating when everyone else around me is cold. Is everything ok still or do I need to take this to a doc?
By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Feb 2018 - 10:35
Pregnancy can cause both the core body temperature to raise slightly, so that you will feel warmer and acid reflux is also more common due to pregnancy hormones effect on the Gastro-Intestinal tract. It would be worth going to see your GP about this if it seems to be getting worse. You can buy pregnancy safe Gaviscon via your local chemist.In terms of feeling very warm,as long as your temperature does not go above 37.4 (above this is classed as a temperature)then this is normal
All the best
By Julia (not verified) on 28 Jan 2018 - 08:06
I'm 18 weeks pregnant I was wondering if it's normal if I lay down in feel my baby shift down to the bottom of my stomach like near my uterus it only occurs at night, should I be concerned??
By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Jan 2018 - 16:11
This doesn't sound like something that you should worry about. Soon you should start to feel the baby move which you will find reassuring and most anomaly scans are done at around 20 weeks. Not too long to wait.
By Mesha (not verified) on 24 Jan 2018 - 05:27
I hat a misscarrige that 10 wks but im suddenly feeling movement i would have
been 18 wks today should i be concerned
By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Jan 2018 - 14:57
Hi Thank you for your comment.
Was your miscarriage confirmed on a scan? It is a little confusing and I can understand that this will be worrying for you. It would be advisable that you see your GP who may refer you for an adnominal scan if you are feeling these sensations regularly. It could be trapped wind / constipation but if you are feeling them as definite movements, you need to see your GP as soon as you can. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x
By champ (not verified) on 20 Jan 2018 - 08:00
hi im 17w preggy. im worried because i can only drink water with brown sugar. if plain i will vomit everything i ate. is it going to risk my baby and my sugar level?
By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Jan 2018 - 14:03
That depends on how much other sugary food you are eating. Have you tried any herbal teas or other non-sugary drinks or you could see if hot water is tolerated . Hopefully your nausea may be improving as you get further on in pregnancy.
By Judith (not verified) on 10 Jan 2018 - 15:43
Hi, am 18weeks gone but I am not so faithful to my routine drugs though I feel not bad except for the usual pregnancy troubles(backache, muscle cramps,fatigue etc) and I feed fine. So, am I at any risk?