Tommy's PregnancyHub

18 weeks pregnant - all you need to know

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

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.
  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 
Review dates

Last reviewed: 26 June, 2018
Next review: 26 June, 2021