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18 Weeks Pregnant: What's Going On

Pregnancy week 18

What's new with your little one this week? Fingerprints. Pads of fat accumulating on the fingertips and toes will turn into distinguishing swirling lines. Find out more about pregnancy week 18.

Your Baby at 18 Weeks Pregnant

One of a kind. This week, your little one is developing one of the characteristics that will make him unique: fingerprints. Pads of fat accumulating on the fingertips and toes will turn into distinguishing swirling lines. 

Prepping the plumbing. The developing digestive system has been going through its paces for several weeks already. The fetus swallows amniotic fluid, which makes its way through the stomach and intestines. That fluid now combines with dead cells and secretions in the intestines to form meconium. Meconium is the black, tarry substance you'll see during the very first diaper change.  

Measuring up. The fetus weighs up to 7 ounces and is about 6.5 to 7 inches, top to bottom.


Your Pregnancy at 18 Weeks

Advice overload. You may notice that everyone, from your mother-in-law to complete strangers, feels compelled to offer advice about your pregnancy. While unsolicited opinions can be annoying, try to take them in stride. You don't have to explain yourself to anyone. A simple "Thanks, I'll keep that in mind" should do the trick. Try to remember that people mean well and that they're excited for you too.

Dizzy spells. Your heart is working 40 to 50 percent harder than it did before you were pregnant. This industry, combined with the pressure of your growing uterus on blood vessels, can occasionally leave you feeling faint, particularly when you get up quickly. Be sure to rest frequently. Lie down on your left side for a few minutes several times a day to increase your circulation. Low blood sugar can also lead to wooziness. Eating a piece of fruit is a great way to keep you on your feet and stave off the munchies. 

Mini moves. Most women first feel the fetus's movements between 16 and 20 weeks. Your little one is still small, so it'll be more of a gentle flutter than a forceful kick.

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Elaine Zwelling, R.N., Ph.D.