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Women’s Services   

  Women’s Services

Your Pregnancy at Week 18

This week, your baby is as big as a grapefruit.

Explore your pregnancy at Week 18

Week 14
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17
Week 18
Week 19
Week 20
Week 21
Week 22

22 Weeks to go!

The following information was reviewed by Dr. Cheng Ka Ning, Katherine 

At A Glance

Week-18

Learning new skills

Baby is busy practicing breathing, swallowing, sucking, and of course growing!

Feeling the first baby kicks

The sensation of your baby kicking can be both exciting and moving. For some women, it's a soft fluttering or rolling sensation in the belly. Others may not feel anything yet. Just a little more patience is all it takes - most pregnant women feel their first baby kicks between 16-20 weeks.

Back pain

As your baby grows, your center of gravity shifts forward. This can make you bend backward to keep your balance, which puts extra pressure on your back and can cause pain there as well as in your neck and pubic symphysis (the joint in your pelvis).

Baby Development at 18 Weeks

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Baby playing

Entering the 18th week, your baby's inner ear structure and the hippocampus-centered nervous system in charge of memory have developed. Don't worry about your baby getting bored in the womb, his hearing, swallowing and sucking abilities are all developing, and he will also move his hands and feet, allowing you to feel the "fetal movement".

bile-liver

Liver secretes bile leading to green poo after birth

The baby's liver has begun to secrete bile, which will make the baby's first stool after birth dark green and very sticky.

eggs-girl

Eggs are formed in fetuses' ovaries

Did you know that there are already millions of eggs in the ovaries of female fetuses? Most of the eggs die before the baby is born, but there are about 1 to 2 million eggs left at birth. So, part of your potential grandchildren is already inside you!

Your Pregnancy Symptoms at Week 18

Pregnancy spots

During pregnancy, some women may notice dark spots on their forehead and cheeks. These are called "pregnancy spots" or "hormonal spots." They occur because of the increased production of hormones during pregnancy, which leads to increased pigmentation. However, they usually fade within a few months after giving birth.

However, some skin cancers can look similar to pregnancy spots. If you're unsure, you should consult a dermatologist.

Waist pain

A pregnant woman's growing uterus changes her center of gravity, pulling her lower back forward and making her lean back involuntarily to maintain balance. This can lead to low back pain.

Insomnia

Many pregnant women suffer from a condition called nocturia, which is the need to urinate frequently at night. This can disrupt their sleep and cause insomnia.

Nosebleed

Nosebleeds are unfortunately common during pregnancy, and they can last a few seconds to more than 10 minutes. This is due to changes in hormone levels. If the bleeding does not stop, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

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Advice from OT&P Obstetricians

Structural Scan

Start thinking about booking a structural scan. The best time to examine the fetus' structure is during the 18th to 22nd week of pregnancy. This is when they can check for things such as the development of the brain and heart, as well as other organs. Additionally, they can observe the level of amniotic fluid and look for any abnormalities or physical deformities. The examination usually takes no more than an hour.

Down Syndrome Testing

There are two main ways to screen for Down syndrome during pregnancy. The first is through early Down syndrome screening, which can be done at 16 to 19 weeks gestation. This involves a blood test for alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and other levels. This method can detect about 80% of babies with Down syndrome.

The second method is through non-invasive fetal screening (NIPT), which is 99% accurate in detecting Down syndrome. NIPT can also be used to detect sex chromosome-related diseases and microdeletion syndrome. This is normally done in weeks 11-13.

If in any doubt, you should consult your Obstetrician.

Tips for 18 Weeks Pregnant

  • Pregnant women only need to eat one serving. Eating more will only lead to excessive weight gain. If you're physical activity level is still the same as before pregnancy, you only need an extra 285 kcal per day on average during the second trimester.
  • Stand and sit up straight to prevent low back pain. Change the centre of your gravity from time to time when standing for long periods of time. Use cushions to support your back when sitting down.
  • Wear sunscreen to protect your skin and reduce the appearance of dark spots.
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