What is Happening Inside Your Body?
This week or in the next couple of weeks you should be able to feel your baby moving, which is called quickening. At first it may feel light and fluttery, or like gas bubbles. You may be feeling them for a while before you begin to recognize that it is indeed your baby moving.
The circulation of blood in your body is increasing. Your body is continuing to produce more blood. Your blood is made up of two portions, fluid and red blood cells.
The extra blood in your body is comprised of primarily the fluid portion this month. Later, your body will produce red blood cells. It is important to make sure you are getting adequate intake of iron in order to help your body produce theses red blood cells. Otherwise, you may develop anemia.
As your circulatory system expands, your blood pressure may drop a little, which can cause dizziness, nausea, and fainting, especially when rising from a horizontal position. Increased blood flow in your nasal passages and gums can also lead to nasal congestion and bleeding gums.
How Big is Your Baby?
Your baby is about 5 ½ inches long and weighs a little over 5 ounces. It has been 16 weeks since conception.
What Does a Fetus Look Like at 18 Weeks?
Video showing what a baby (fetus) looks like at 18 weeks. -16 weeks since conception.
How is Your Baby Developing?
Your baby’s ears are functioning now and the neurological connections from the ear to the brain are now developed, allowing it to hear. Throughout the rest of your pregnancy, your baby will hear and process all the sounds around it. Your baby is beginning to get tuned into your voice and your partner’s voice, and at birth will recognize and be soothed by your voices. Video of the baby responding to sounds.
Your baby’s bones are beginning to harden, a process called ossification.
Your baby is beginning to develop a grasping reflex, grabbing hold of its hands, fingers, toes, and umbilical cord. Full strength of the grasping reflex will not be achieved for many more weeks.
Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
About half of all pregnant women develop back pain during their pregnancy. Hormones are loosening the joints of your body and pelvis. Your center of gravity is shifting forward with your growing abdomen. This causes the curve of your spine to change in order to compensate. You are standing and moving in new ways. This can result in back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain.
Take extra care in practicing good posture. Take frequent breaks (every half an hour or so) from sitting or standing. Practice proper bending techniques, bending with your knees and keeping your back straight. If you will be sitting for long periods of time, try placing a block beneath your feet for added support.
Regular practice of prenatal yoga can be helpful for back pain as can a regular exercise activity such as walking or swimming. Additionally, a technique such as that in the book, Pregnancy Pain Relief, can be valuable at alleviating discomforts in the back and elsewhere.