Pregnancy calendar

weeks pregnant

18 weeks pregnant - all you need to know

Your baby measures about 14cm this week - roughly the same as a bell pepper!

Week 18 infographic.

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.

Pregnancy clothing

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.

Sources

  1. Lennart Nilsson (2009) A Child is Born, Jonathan Cape
  2. 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
  3. 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).
  4. NHS Smokefree [accessed 28/04/2015] Secondhand smoke, http://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/secondhand-smoke
  5. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Reduced fetal movements, Green-top guideline 57, London RCOG, 2011 
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Last reviewed on June 26th, 2018. Next review date June 26th, 2021.

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Comments

Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
  • By Kelly (not verified) on 9 Jul 2019 - 14:34

    Hi I’m 18 weeks and 5 days pregnant and since 4 weeks pregnant my bowel movements have been very very loose like Diarrhea but only once a day my scans have all been good and I’ve started feeling baby move my last pregnancies I had constipation thanks kelly

  • By Clawie (not verified) on 8 Jul 2019 - 14:25

    Hi im 18 weeks pregnant and lately ive been feeling very dizzy and light headed sometimes it feels like im jst gonna drop ive also been feeling discomfort in my chest area and quite difficult for me to breath should i be worried?

  • By Alice (not verified) on 7 Jul 2019 - 10:38

    Hi I'm 19 weeks but I can't feel any movement or kick yet and I do feel pain at the right side of my lower abdomen and at times at the left side of my lower abdomen, I don't know what it could be but my bump is coming out gradually, please what should I do?

  • By Mimi (not verified) on 5 Jul 2019 - 11:31

    Am 18 weeks, but my baby is not showing. I sometimes feel funny movements in my stomach. But am worried am not feeling my baby move, And sharp pains in my lower abdomen. I've gain weight but my foot is not swollen.

  • By Peace (not verified) on 20 May 2019 - 12:52

    hi

    I have been feeling pains at my lower abdomen since 4 weeks until now and also I feel pains while changing position from sides to side .Rght from my first trimester I v been experiencing bloating since which v made me not to notice the growing bump. after my first Scan at 10 weeks which showed my baby was okay. I was rescheduled to come at 18 weeks plus . I have been really worried just believing that nothing went wrong.

  • By Lizzy (not verified) on 8 May 2019 - 08:45

    Good morning, I am 18wks and 2 days pregnant, I noticed my poo this morning to be white and black mixed together,plz what could that be? Thanks

  • By Emilie (not verified) on 15 Jul 2019 - 15:06

    Hi Lizzy,
    I would advise you to call your GP and try to have a sample with you to send to the lab in case.
    Good luck!

  • By prudence (not verified) on 24 Apr 2019 - 15:12

    I am so confused,my last normal periods was on 17th-22 Nov and i had unprotected sex on 6th Dec,on 20 dec i got my periods which took only 2 days and on 24th dec i had unprotected sex,i dd pregnancy test on jan and tested negative,since then every month i get periods which sometyms take 1 or 2 days,my nipples are painful,there is some water coming of it,my tummy it becoming big,
    Pls is there possibility that i am pregnant???

  • By Sarah (not verified) on 24 Mar 2019 - 18:54

    I am 18 weeks and 5 days. I have felt the odd flutter but not daily is this normal? I am feeling very anxious in this pregnancy and everything is worrying me.

  • By Lauren (not verified) on 21 May 2019 - 07:54

    I would suggest going for a walk. I went for one yesterday (currently 18 weeks myself) and felt for the first time the baby kick me in a combo attack. It was sudden, unexpected and quite low in the belly (near the waistband of my underwear). I was excited, but since then its only kicked lightly (as tho it was stretching, and sometimes that can be in random spots a little closer to the belly button).

  • By Kirsty (not verified) on 21 Mar 2019 - 15:10

    Im 18 weeks pregnant and haven't felt my baby move yet. Ive not had any pregnancy symptoms either, I must be one of the lucky ones. Ive heard the baby's heartbeat at 15 and 16 weeks and all seems well. This is my first pregnancy so Im not to sure what to expect in terms of movement etc

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Mar 2019 - 16:48

    Hi - Thank you for your message.
    You may feel your baby move as early as 16 weeks of pregnancy, but most women usually feel something between 18 and 24 weeks. If this is your first pregnancy, you may not notice your baby’s movements until you are more than 20 weeks pregnant.

  • By Sharon (not verified) on 12 Mar 2019 - 09:07

    Have been feeling my baby from two month of pregnancy, and now is about 18 to 19 weeks and am feeling my baby pumping under my navel. Is it ok, though it's my first pregnancy

  • 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

    Hi Tiphany,
    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.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Helen (not verified) on 9 Feb 2019 - 20:25

    Hello..
    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

    Hi Helen,
    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.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • 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

    Hi Anita,
    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.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • 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

    Hi Colleen,
    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.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • 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

    Dear Margaret
    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

    Hi,
    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.
    Please advice!




  • 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.
    https://spinningbabies.com/
    https://spinningbabies.com/start/in-pregnancy/daily-activities/
    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
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/about-us/tommys-midwives-blog/word-us-home-dopplers
    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
    https://doula.org.uk/
    https://www.dona.org/
    Best wishes
    Anna-Tommy's Midwife

  • 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

    Hi
    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

    Dear Natasha,
    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.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • 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

    Hi Heather
    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
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • 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

    Hi Navneet,
    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.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • 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

    Hi Nky
    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

    Hi Yeasmin,
    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

    Hi Mia,
    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

    Hi Ale
    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.
    Take care
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

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