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Week 18

How Big is the Baby at 18 Weeks Pregnant?

By 18 weeks pregnant your baby is now anywhere from 5 to approximately 6 inches long at 18 weeks and weighs a little over 5 ounces! In case you are wondering that is about the size of a small can of soup!

Your Baby's Growth and Development

By pregnancy week 18 your baby's heart is developed enough to show some signs of defects. Ultrasound may be used to help detect any structural abnormalities that might exist. Most babies will be born without any congenital abnormalities. If an early ultrasound does detect something abnormal, you can plan ahead for any interventions or surgeries that may be necessary to support your newborn baby after birth.

At pregnancy week 18 your baby is now starting to produce a protective covering along the nerves, called Myelin. This substance will be produced through the ninth month. By now your baby's genitals should be distinguishable, though you may not yet have the opportunity to view them at your health care practitioner's office.

Your Growth and Development

You should be able to feel your uterus now just below your bellybutton. You should definitely be showing a bit by now. Most women will have gained anywhere from 10 to 15 pounds at this point in time, though some will have gained less and some more. Your uterus is the size of a small melon by this point in time.

Changes in You

Sleeping might start to get a bit more uncomfortable as your belly continues to expand during pregnancy 18 weeks and beyond. One of the best things you can do during your pregnancy is lie on your left side, particularly during the third trimester. This will help prevent your uterus from compressing a vein in your body called the inferior vena cava. This vein helps return blood back to your heart. If you haven't invested in a whole body pillow at this point, you might consider one soon.

Most women will undergo an ultrasound sometime between 18 weeks pregnant and 20 weeks pregnant. An ultrasound is typically ordered to help detect birth defects and ensure that the baby is growing properly. Your healthcare provider will examine your baby's placenta and umbilical cord and also determine whether or not the due date you have estimated is likely to be correct.

Many women have their husband join them during their ultrasound visit so they can enjoy the experience of seeing their miniature newborn baby together.

Determining Your Baby's Sex

Should you find out what the sex of your baby is ahead of time? You might be able to if you are in pregnancy at 18 weeks or higher. Most parents are split on this issue. Some can't wait to find out what the sex of their baby is, and others prefer to be surprised at birth. The decision you make should be yours entirely.

Keep in mind that while typically very accurate, ultrasound can sometimes be misleading. There is a small chance that your technician might believe your boy is a girl, when in reality your baby is a boy! More than one parent has been surprised in the past by a slightly inaccurate ultrasound. However, by and large by this point in time most ultrasounds are more than 99 percent accurate. Just be sure you don't decorate the nursery entirely if your technician isn't 100 percent sure of the sex of your baby. An amniocentesis is the only foolproof way to determine the sex of your baby, other than delivery!

There are some fun old wives tales techniques for determining the sex of your baby. Some people for example believe that you can predict the sex of the baby based on the way you are carrying. Others believe that you can predict the sex of the baby based on their heart rate. By and large though most of these methods are fun, they are not any more accurate than simply guessing.

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