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Pregnancy Week 18 – Baby’s Brain Kicks into High Gear

By Published On: June 21st, 2013

Lots of good, and some not so great things, will begin happening this week. Baby is getting ready to bust a move and melt your heart, but new aches and pains are probably cropping up that will begin to signal that the ‘honeymoon’ period of the second trimester will be over all too soon….

Your Baby in Week 18 of Pregnancy

Any day now you are likely to feel the first flutters of baby movement. Do not worry if it is not this week though. Baby has been moving around for weeks, it just takes a while for them to be big enough for you to feel it, and as you have to remember, babies in the womb develop at slightly differing rates.

You may get very excited about all of this, but to Baby it is no big deal, they got the whole moving thing down ages ago! They have other skills to work on, and this week’s new ‘tricks’ are yawning and hiccuping. In fact this is something you might be able to catch a glimpse of at your next ultrasound.

What you won’t be able to see at that test, but is another very exciting milestone for Baby, is that their nervous system development is really kicking into high gear now. Their nerves, now covered with a substance called myelin, which speeds messages from nerve cell to nerve cell, and are forming more complex connections. And those in the brain are further specializing into the signals that will trigger the senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing.

Your Body in Week 18 of Pregnancy

Your uterus has now expanded to the size of a melon. This causes your personal center of gravity to shift, pulling your lower back forwards and your abdomen out. So now there is now mistaking the condition you are in!

Possible New Pregnancy Symptoms in Week 18 of Pregnancy

Uh Oh! New complications are now going to begin to pop up, just when many of the others were going away!

Backaches – The shift in your personal gravity will begin affecting your back, causing nagging backpains. Another of those pesky (but vital) pregnancy hormones isn’t helping the way you feel either. Relaxin is a hormone that will begin to relax your muscles and ligaments in preparation for giving birth. Over the coming weeks this will contribute to all your nagging aches and pains, but when it comes to delivery day you will be glad it’s there as it will relax all those lower body areas that are going to be doing so much hard work.

Leg Cramps – For many women at this stage of pregnancy, nasty leg cramps begin waking them up at night. These are usually rather sharp and painful, but do go away after a few minutes, for the most part. Why these cramps occur is something that is still not quite clear, even to medical experts. You can help ward some of them off though, by doing some gentle calf stretches right before you go to bed at night.

Mildly Swollen Legs and Ankles – Your body is now filled with a lot more fluid than usual so that both you and Baby stay properly hydrated. as your bodily tissues begin storing all of this extra fluid this often shows up as a swelling of the legs, ankles and often even feet (to the point that a trip to the shoe store for larger shoes may be called for.)

For the most part this is normal and can be relived by elevating your legs as much as possible. If the swelling is very severe, very sudden, or unilateral – only in one leg – call your OB GYN to report this, as sometimes this can be a sign of something a little more serious.

Pregnancy Tips for the Eighteenth Week of Pregnancy – Beware of the Relaxin Effect

As we just mentioned, the placenta has begun producing the joint loosening hormone relaxin. This does mean that from now on you have to take a little more care when exercising, especially if your chosen forms of pregnancy exercise are yoga or Pilates. Relaxin will literally make it possible for you to twist into shapes you could not before, but only because you cannot feel it, not because you suddenly become a super flexible Superwoman overnight.

This is why it is better that you participate in a class that is especially designed for expectant Mums. Instructors who teach these classes know all about the effects of relaxin and can step in if they see you taking things a little too far. Those not used to having pregnant ladies in their classes often do not have that expertise.

Time to Get Registered

One of the nice things about expecting a baby is that it seems like everyone you know, and even people you do not, want to buy gifts for the impending new arrival. This can also be especially useful for you, especially if you are working on a tighter budget!

In order not to end up with 101 babygros and no car seat though, setting up a baby registry is a great idea, and if you haven’t done so already this is a great week to cross it off your to do list.

Deciding where to register – and then getting the word out without making it look like you are being a little too pushy – can be the hard part.

Choosing a store that sells a great many different products, in a number of different price ranges, is really the best idea. There are lots of great options when it comes to online stores that carry a wide range of products for Singporean babies.

One thing that you may want to think about though is whether or not you have older, or less tech savvy, friends and relatives who may not be so comfortable ordering online. In that case you may want to consider an option like Mothercare, which has physical stores as well as online shopping options. They (and many other baby registry providers) also provide your with rather cute announcement cards that you can send out.

When choosing products to put on your list add choices that are in a number of different price ranges. The reason that you should consider creating and announcing your wish list now is quite a practical one. This way, by the time Baby is just a few weeks away you should be able to take stock of what you have and make plans to buy any newborn essentials that you have not been gifted