A Family Approach to Photos
Your Photo Albums:

Edit Albums
Upload New Pictures
Week #18 of Pregnancy

Get Weekly Updates on your Pregnancy E-Mailed to You
Complete Privacy - Your information will be used by edHelperBaby only and will never be shared with another company.

  Enter your E-MAIL ADDRESS:  

Your Pregnancy: Week 18

By Erin Horner, edHelperBaby

Your Baby
           This week your little one is nearly 5 1/2 inches long and weighs almost 7 ounces.  He or she is busy building muscles and has begun producing myelin.  Myelin is the protective covering that supports the nerves in your baby's body.  Your baby will continue to produce it until his or her first birthday.

       This is also an important week for your little one as his or her reproductive organs have formed and are now visible.  If your cutie patootie is a boy, his genitals are now in place and should he choose to cooperate and bare all for the ultrasound technician, may be easy to see during your ultrasound appointment.  If your sweet one is a girl, her fallopian tubes and uterus are now in place.   If she is positioned just right during your upcoming ultrasound, her little girl parts will be visible and you can begin purchasing all of your baby goodies in pink!


Your Body
           By this week in your pregnancy your uterus is measuring about one inch below your belly button and is nearly the size of a cantaloupe. Speaking of cantaloupe, have you noticed a sudden increase in your appetite?  Now that the early weeks of pregnancy and the accompanying nausea are behind you (hopefully!) you may find that you are a lot hungrier.  The fact that the smell of fried food no longer makes you sick, however, should not be equated with permission to scarf down a bucket of chicken wings from your favorite take-out joint.  Remember, throughout your pregnancy every bite counts!  Take great pride in the fact that you alone are providing your baby with all of the nutrients that she needs to develop and grow before birth.  Make a vow that you will start your campaign for "Mother of the Year" now, by providing her with nothing but the best!  Does that mean that you can't indulge in a favorite treat every once in a while?  Of course not, but it does mean that everything needs to be eaten in moderation (assuming that it is safe to consume while pregnant) and that your good food choices should still far outweigh the bad ones.


  You're Wondering. . .
           It is almost time for my ultrasound appointment and I am nervous that the procedure could harm my baby.  Are ultrasounds really safe?

       Medical professionals have conducted several studies on ultrasounds, the equipment and techniques used and have found no evidence that an ultrasound administered for medical purposes poses any risk to an unborn baby.  Used safely for more than thirty-five years, an ultrasound works by sending high frequency sound waves through your skin and into your uterus where the waves bounce off of the internal structure of your baby to create echoes.  These echoes are then converted by the ultrasound equipment into an image that you and the technician can see on the machine's screen.

       When used correctly, diagnostic ultrasounds can provide your doctor with some very valuable information.  The procedure can determine whether or not your baby and all of his or her internal organs are developing correctly.  It can also be used to asses the current state of a previously diagnosed condition as well as more definitively answer any questions your doctor may have about your baby's growth and development.

       As a mommy-to-be, the ultrasound appointment is often a favorite because it provides you with an opportunity to see your little one for the first time, and if he or she cooperates, and you desire to know, gives you a chance to learn whether or not you will soon be the proud mother of a beautiful baby boy or a sweet little girl.

       Some people have wondered if the rise in temperature or mechanical vibrations that may be felt by a baby during this procedure could cause an infant harm.  In August of 2005 the FDA released a statement that continued to uphold the safety of ultrasounds when used for medical and diagnostic purposes.  It is the sudden popularity of 4-D ultrasounds and "at-home" ultrasound equipment that can be purchased by parents that has the medical community a bit concerned.  Although there is no evidence that ultrasound waves could harm a developing fetus, medical experts agree that casual or prolonged ultrasound exposure throughout your pregnancy, without any medical justification, is not a good idea.

       So, should you go ahead with your scheduled ultrasound?  The decision is ultimately yours.  Know though, that this procedure will allow your doctor an opportunity to more fully assess your little one's development unobtrusively.  It will also provide you with a window through which you can peek into your womb and marvel at your little miracle for the first time.  If you are still concerned about the safety of the procedure, speak with your doctor.  He or she may be able to offer you some more specific insights as to whether or not an ultrasound should be performed.


  Your "To-Do" List
           This is a great week to plan a trip with your partner.  Whether a week-end getaway or a longer vacation, take advantage of this stage of your pregnancy and enjoy some well-deserved time-off together.  The Academy of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that the safest time to travel is between the 18th and 24th week of pregnancy as a mother's initial risk of miscarriage is over and the percentage of women experiencing pre-term labor during this trimester is minimal.  So, there is no time like the present to get up and go!  Here are a few travel tips to consider when planning your time away:

       If you are planning to travel by plane:
  • Think location, location, location. When selecting a seat assignment, opt for an aisle or bulk head seat for easy restroom access as well as a little extra leg room.  If air-travel and turbulence can make you a bit squeamish, a seat over the wings will provide you with the smoothest possible ride.
  • Buckle-up. Be sure to keep your seat belt fastened, but place the belt under your belly as opposed to straight across the middle.  Remember, the safer you are the safer your little one will be too.
  • Get-up.  Try and get up at least once every half an hour and walk up and down the aisle.  This will probably be easy to do, as you will more than likely need to use the restroom at least once every half an hour anyway!  If the seat-belt sign is turned on and it is impossible for you to leave your seat, try flexing your feet and rotating your ankles while you are sitting.  This will not only help your achy legs feel better, but will assist with your circulation.
  • Drink-up. Air travel can easily dehydrate any passenger, especially a pregnant one.  Be sure to drink plenty of water or other non-caffeinated beverages before, during and after your flight.

       If you are planning to take a road trip, keep these tips in mind when preparing to travel:
  • Safety first. Always keep your seatbelt fastened and your air bags turned on.  Seatbelts should be worn snugly and placed just below your abdomen.  Air bags should remain on as their benefits in a car accident far out weigh their risks.   Many women fear that the impact of an inflating air bag could injure their unborn baby.  In reality, your baby is securely cushioned by his or her amniotic fluid deep within your womb.  Should the unthinkable occur, however, and you were to get into a car accident, the impact of an inflating air bag would be much safer for your child than the impact of a hard dash board or metal door.
  • Make your goal lots of memories, not lots of miles.  When planning your road trip schedule your itinerary to include no more than six hours of travel time each day.  Plan also to stop every hour-and-a-half to get out of the car, stretch your legs, and of course, use the restroom!  Remember, it is not how far you and your partner travel that matters, but how much fun you have while traveling together that counts.

       No matter what type of getaway you choose be sure to bring the following items with you to help ensure the most pleasant travel experience possible:
  1. Healthy snacks
  2. Bottled water
  3. Cozy comforts such as a pair of slippers, a pillow, and/or a blanket
  4. A camera and journal to document your special time together


Your Homework: Preparing For Parenthood
           You may have heard other mommies talk about that "motherhood instinct" that seems to inevitably come with pregnancy and the birth of a child.  This is a very real phenomenon, as many women just seem to "know" how to care for their baby once their little one arrives.  This maternal instinct is probably the result of years spent playing house as a child, weekends spent babysitting as a teenager, and nine months of bonding with your sweet baby before ever holding her in your arms.  Your partner, on the other hand, might not feel as though caring for baby's physical and emotional needs is as natural as you do.  Dads are such an integral part of a child's life and their manly, rough-and-tumble attitude is very important for social development.  When it comes to diaper changing, swaddling, and newborn bathing, however, some new dads may feel a bit lost.  Your homework assignment this week is to look for an infant care class designed specifically for dads.  When fathers are prepared to care for their newborn's physical needs, they are often able to more easily bond with their baby in those first few weeks after birth.  They feel confident to take on the day-to-day tasks that come with a new baby and can not only offer you more tangible assistance with your little one, but enjoy the time spent with their baby because they are no longer nervous about the "how-to's" of using their big, daddy hands to care for their precious but, tiny baby.  Recent research has shown that pre-term infants with engaged fathers gain weight more quickly.  It has also shown that babies with supportive and involved fathers are often more successful at breastfeeding.  An "unofficial" poll taken of new moms also unanimously concluded that seeing your partner interact with your newborn is one of the most overwhelming aspects of becoming a mother.  To watch your partner transform from a wonderful man into a fabulous first-time father before your eyes is unexplainable.  Remember, you have spent at least nine months, and maybe a lifetime learning how to care for your baby.  Help your partner prepare for the greatest of all life changes by finding a class that can do the same for him.


  My Experience
           When I was pregnant with my first child, I learned that our hospital offered a baby-care class designed just for dads.  My husband is the youngest of three children, so he never grew up around babies.  He loved children but had never even held an infant, let alone changed a diaper, fed one, or rocked a baby to sleep.  When I brought up the idea of attending a baby care class together, the thought was a bit intimidating.  I think he feared that he would be surrounded by a bunch of women who really already knew what they were doing and maybe one other man who had been reluctantly conned out of missing Monday Night Football to attend the class with his wife.  The class "just for men," however, was a bit more intriguing.  I think he felt as though the playing field was going to be a bit more even.  He assumed that in this venue, he would be surrounded by men, who like himself, had no clue what to do with a newborn, but truly wanted to learn because they were looking forward to becoming fathers.  This class turned out to be just what he needed.  He was able to learn baby-care basics in a light-hearted environment where the men were encouraged to bond with their babies in several ways.  While covering all of the basics, the instructor also reminded the future fathers that real men change diapers, carry a diaper bag (just a cool camouflage one, not Winnie-the-Pooh) and sing lullabies.  He also helped to lay a strong foundation for these dads-to-be by showing them that baby-bonding can occur while snuggling up on the couch watching football together or while working out in the garage (as long as the daddies weren't using loud tools.)  I personally owe a huge "thank you" to this class and my husband's instructor for providing me with a few extra hours of sleep each evening.  Because my hubby was confident that he could take care of our daughter's needs, he offered to take the 9:00 pm-12:00 am shift each evening while I headed off to bed.  He would play with Kilee for a while, get her dressed and ready for bed, and then place her in her swing.  It was then time for their evening video game ritual.  Grant would turn the swing so that Kilee was only looking at him and not the TV screen and fast moving X-Box images that were parading across it.  He would then begin to play, all the while talking to her about the great moves that he was making.  It was precious to lie in bed and listen to my sweet husband talk to our little girl in such excited tones, all the while hyping up his latest major accomplishment on the silly video game that he was playing.  The time was truly a win-win situation for us all.  I won a few extra hours of sleep each evening.  Grant won some priceless time with his daughter, and occasionally he even won a video game.


     Ensuring Maternity and Paternity Leave are in Place

     How can I find out if my car seat is installed correctly?
Are fumes from cleaners dangerous to my baby?

Ask Your Own Question

Ask a Question

Give a Suggestion     Contact edHelperBaby
Note: All information on edHelperBaby is of a general nature for educational purposes only.
For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
Your use of this site indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use.