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

  • 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

  • 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

    Take care
    Tommy's Midwife

  • 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

    Hi Rebecca
    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
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • 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

    Hi there.
    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
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • 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?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Jan 2018 - 16:04

    Hi Judith
    It is advisable for you to take your pregnancy vitamins to aid the growth and development of the baby. Try taking it first thing when you wake in the morning - put them next to your toothbrush so you are reminded to take one before brushing- at least that gives you x2 times of the day at least to be reminded. Many women do not stick rigidly to these, and we cannot say that we know if there is a risk to not taking these daily - but ultimately it is your choice. It sounds like your pregnancy is progressing normally so far otherwise with your normal symptoms!
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Shawana (not verified) on 9 Jan 2018 - 04:35

    Yes I'm scared because I'm only 17 years old and still don't have enough support or money to easier my child I want this baby so bad and I feel like I'm doing something wrong I really want help to support my baby but I think nobody cares about my life and school to so I be busy and stuff and I'll know what I'm having on the 18 I really need support call or text if you can help me
    5135571329 or 5134921684 Shawna W

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Jan 2018 - 11:36

    Hi Shawana
    I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling with many worries and anxieties about this pregnancy. As we are a U.K based charity, we are more than happy to talk with you, but you will need to call us on 0800 0147800, as we are unable to call numbers to outside of the U.K due to the expense of these calls. Alternatively, if money to call us is also an issue, you can email us for free on [email protected] which comes through to our email inbox and we can talk via that instead. It is also a private email, rather than this message being on a public platform.
    I really do hope that you get in touch with us as we will be happy to help you as best we can!
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By LinahA (not verified) on 9 Nov 2017 - 08:27

    won't gas affect my baby,am 17wks.5 and have started to feel my baby move, last night I had a lot of gas in my stomach, I was scared because the I didn't feel any movements for the whole night ,I touched my bump and moved my hand but nothing,until morning when I woke up and touched and called my Angel and heard move,am very worried because my baby hides when I have gas,,,,her movements are soft and smooth but the gas is very strong,best wishes to other moms to be.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Nov 2017 - 10:55

    Thank you for your comment. Congratulations on your pregnancy-I hope by now you have had your 1st scan, midwife booking appointments and have started your antenatal care
    At this stage you may not feel your baby's movements every day and they may not feel very strong as the baby is still very small. However as the baby grows you will notice more regular and stronger movements; by 24 weeks you may be aware of a pattern developing . We would advise that you contact your maternity unit if you are worried about the movements at any time. You may find the following link helpful-
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy/symptom-checker/baby-fetal-movements.
    Gas shouldn't affect your baby; it may be worth changing your diet if you think you are getting more gas than usual. Some raw vegetables or fruits cause problems for example. However if you are feeling unwell, or have other symptoms such as vomiting, severe stomach pains or diarrhea you should always seek urgent advice.
    I have attached more information about stomach symptoms and healthy diet in the following links-
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/symptom-checker/stomach-pain-pregnancy
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/nutrition-pregnancy/balanced-diet-pregnancy
    Hope this helps
    Take care

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 27 Oct 2017 - 21:09

    Hi I am 18 weeks pregnant and this is my 3rd baby. I did experience baby movement in previous pregnancy but this time no. Also, I have diabetes . I visited the doctor in 6 weeks. After that I couldn't book an appointment with him. I was wondering if there is everything going good with my baby or Not??
    Moreover, My tommy is getting bigger than it suppoused to be. I am gueshing if there is two banks are growing.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Oct 2017 - 09:33

    Hi, To reassure you, many women don't feel baby movements until after 20 weeks or even as late as 24 weeks for some. However, I would advise that you see a health professional as soon as you can in order to assess any concerns you may have and to give you good antenatal care. Do you have access to any care and support?

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 Aug 2017 - 23:24

    I just finally go to go to the dr last week and she was upset cause I dint go in the early part of my pregnancy and this is my 4th child but I one child in 2017 and one in 2016 and they were both section and I had a child in 2012 she was section and now I'm having a child in 2018 to and I'm not sure how I'm going to have this one and the dr said she thinks I'm 18 to 20 weeks but shes not sure till I get the sonogram done next Friday

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Aug 2017 - 15:13

    Hi, Thank you for your comment.

    As you have had 3 previous sections all quite close together,you may be referred to consultant led care at the hospital, this is nothing to worry about it can be routine and they will be happy for you to see your midwives as well. Your GP just sounds concerned that if you are now 18-20 weeks then you have missed some of the screening tests that can be done at the beginning of pregnancy. It is your choice when to see the GP about a pregnancy but we would normally advice that you do go sooner so that you have access to the appropriate antenatal care and screening. Once you have your scan you will have a better idea of what gestation you are at in your pregnancy and then your maternity care will carry on from there . If you have any questions then please email the Tommy's midwives on [email protected] or you can call us Monday to Friday 9am-5pm on 08000147800. Take care Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 12 Jul 2017 - 12:49

    Am 18wks 3days and am having a severe pain in my abdomen /vagina . its as of something is turning up and down

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Jul 2017 - 12:29

    Hi Thank you for your comment.

    With any severe abdominal pain in pregnancy we would advice that you seek medical advice as soon as you can. You need to call your local maternity unit so that you can be seen and assessed. It is difficult to know what this pain is, it could just be a urine infection or trapped wind but we cannot rule out anything more serious so please call the hospital so that they can seen you as soon as possible. Hope all is well, Tommy's midwives x

  • By Neha (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 Sara (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 Neshanny (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 Aydee (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?

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