Pregnancy calendar

weeks pregnant

18 weeks pregnant - what to expect

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

Week 18 infographic.

What does my baby look like?

Your baby's very busy - performing ‘La Cucaracha’ inside you as they wiggle and jiggle around your still-spacious womb. You might have even felt their dances for the first time…or soon will.

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 symptoms - what to expect

Should I be showing yet?

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.

I’ve got back pain

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.

Actions to take

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, or visit www.nct.org.uk to find a National Childbirth Trust (NCT) course near you.

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.
  • Going to your local NCT or mother and baby sales.

Sources

1. Lennart Nilsson (2009) A Child is Born, Jonathan Cape, p.207

2. NHS Choices (2013). You and your pregnancy at 17-20 weeks pregnant. NHS choices 2013; accessed online at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-17-18-19-20.aspx#close on 08.05.2015

3. Lennart Nilsson (2009) A Child is Born, Jonathan Cape, p.190

4. Backache in pregnancy, NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/backache-pregnant.aspx [accessed 10 February 2015] (last reviewed: 5 February 2015; next review due: 5 February 2017).

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Last reviewed on April 1st, 2015. Next review date April 1st, 2018.

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Comments

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 19 Jun 2017 - 19:30

    I am 17week pregnant now. And headache one of my big problem now. So I had saridon many times. Is it side effects my baby

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Jun 2017 - 09:08

    Hi Neha,
    Headaches can be common in pregnancy and this is due to the pregnancy hormones. Make sure you are keeping well hydrated and eating little and often and getting plenty of rest. If you find they are constant or happening very frequently it may be an idea to see your Doctor for a check-up, they could also give you some other medication that could help.
    Saridon is not a drug that we have in the UK but after checking it's components it is not safe to take during pregnancy due to the caffeine content.
    As an alternative, Paracetamol is not known to be harmful in pregnancy and so is the pain killer of first choice. As with all medication and especially during pregnancy the least amount you can take is better. However if you do need to take it then you can take 2 tablets every 4-6 hours and no more than 8 in a 24 hour period.
    It sounds like you have needed to take a lot of pain killers though so please go and get checked out by your Doctor anyway.
    Best wishes,
    Tommy's Midwives

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 May 2017 - 06:55

    I'm about 17 weeks pregnant with my baby girl my gosh she moves alot to say it's that normal

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 May 2017 - 10:39

    Hello
    There is no fixed amount of movement that we say is normal. We ask that you become aware of your own baby's pattern and over the next few weeks this will become clear for you. Most women enjoy feeling the movements so I hope you are too.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 27 Apr 2017 - 09:13

    Whoops, I'm about 18 weeks and haven't booked in with my midwife yet, I forgot the scan was at 20 weeks. Oh well! Not feeling any movement and can hardly see any bump at all. This is my 6th pregnancy and 4th baby, with 2&3 I looked 6 months pregnant from about 6 weeks lol and felt movement quite early. I definitely have thoughts that maybe this pregnAncy is not viable, but we'll wait and see. Worrying does nothing to help either way, I suppose. Will embrace not having to worry about maternity clothes just yet :) :) X

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 27 Apr 2017 - 16:10

    Hi, if you think you maybe pregnant then it would be important to check using a pregnancy test and if this is positive we would advise for you to see a midwife as soon as possible to check on your and your baby's well being. You can see your GP or self refer but it is important to access the antenatal care to ensure you and your baby's safety and well being.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 1 Apr 2017 - 20:41

    im 18 weeks pregnant and haven't yet feel my baby move is that normal ?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Apr 2017 - 09:19

    Hi Neshanny.
    Every pregnancy and every baby is different. Some women wont feel their baby move until later on in their pregnancy, especially in their first pregnancy. It can anytime between 16 and 24 weeks that you will start to feel your baby move. So yes, this is normal.
    Take care of yourself.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 31 Mar 2017 - 21:46

    Hey ladies im 18 weeks pregnant with my second child.. But my first never really moved... So i dont know what it feels like to feel them kick nor move... What does it Feel like?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Apr 2017 - 09:22

    Hi Aydee.
    Feeling your baby move for the first time can occur anytime between 16-24 wks of pregnancy. It can feel like bubbles or butterflies in the earlier weeks until the movements become more obvious.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 10 Mar 2017 - 07:13

    Excited to know what I'm havin !!!! Not sure if I feel any movement yet lol

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 20 Mar 2017 - 15:06

    I'm 18 weeks also but I have have been feeling movements for about a month or so now. My mom suggested I may be farther along than I think, but I swore I did my calculations correctly lol. This is my first pregnancy by the way. Congrats to you and your bundle.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Mar 2017 - 15:12

    Hi Queen. Your dating scan would be fairly accurate, so I am sure your dates aren't wrong. It is possible to feel "bubbles" from 14 weeks, but often these go unnoticed until the movements become a little more definitive.But either way, this is normal! Congratulations!!!

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 27 Feb 2017 - 16:29

    Hi there. Congratulations on your 4th pregnancy. You must remember that every pregnancy (and baby) is different and can affect your body and how you feel differently each time.
    Feeling anxious is often a common part of pregnancy, but you can speak to your midwife about this and she/he can help to support you in any way you feel helpful - with more frequent appointments, or referral for more support and help eg counselling. Please don't be afraid to speak to your midwife openly, she/he will not judge you on anything that is said. Asking for help is always a positive step forwards.
    Please feel free to call us on our pregnancy line too if you feel that a chat with one of us on the midwifery team would be useful for you.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 27 Feb 2017 - 16:17

    on my fourth child and this pregnancy is alot worse then the others im getting every symptom the anxiety just started ready for August 8th to come

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 17 Jan 2017 - 04:50

    It's so exciting to feel my baby move I can't wait to know what we're having...
    Hoping for a boy

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 26 Dec 2016 - 10:53

    Yes,the very much useful

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