What to Expect at 18 Weeks Pregnant

Reviewed by Terri Forehand RN
Husband giving his pregnant wife a foot rub

A lot is happening for both you and your little one during the 18th week of pregnancy. By making a few adjustments, you can minimize some of the pregnancy symptoms you're feeling and improve your energy level.

Your Baby's Development

Now that you're 18 weeks pregnant, your baby has an average crown-to-rump length of about five and a half inches. He probably weighs in about almost seven ounces. Your little one is constantly getting longer and filling out.

printable pregnancy calendar
Download this pregnancy calendar

During pregnancy, the joints in your pelvis begin to loosen up to allow for easier delivery of your baby. However, this can also cause back pain. Many women aggravate the problem by standing with their shoulders back and neck arched in an attempt to compensate for the extra weight of the baby.

The best approach to dealing with back pain is prevention. Don't wear high heels and try not to stand for a long time. To carry groceries or other heavy packages, bend at the knees and lift with your arms and legs. Sit in a supportive chair whenever possible. Avoid crossing your legs, since this causes you to tilt your pelvis too far forward.

Even if you're not bothered by back pain during the day, you may notice discomfort when you're trying to sleep. To get the rest you need, try sleeping on a firm mattress and using a maternity pillow to support your back. Since back pain is aggravated by stress, you may also wish to try a series of relaxing stretches and deep breathing exercises before bedtime.

Making Time to Nap

pregnant woman sleeping

Your body is hard at work building a baby, so it may need a little extra rest. In addition, sleep can be more challenging during pregnancy. To keep your energy level up, make some time to nap during the day. Try these ideas:

  • If you stay home, try to take a short nap when older kids are at school or are napping too.
  • If you work, schedule a short nap right after you get home in the evening.
  • Take a quick nap in your car at lunchtime, or close the door of your office for a short snooze.

If you need help downloading the printable calendar, check out these helpful tips.

Looking Forward

At your next prenatal visit, your doctor or midwife may talk to you about getting an ultrasound. Typically, these tests are performed around the 19th or 20th week of pregnancy, so you may get your first glimpse of your little one next week.

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What to Expect at 18 Weeks Pregnant