Pregnant couple outdoors and both embrace the woman's baby bump

Pregnancy weeks

Pregnancy Week 18

Great Hair and Radiant Skin for Many

You are now five months pregnant and – theoretically, at least – enjoying the nicest stage of your pregnancy. Read on to find out why this is the case for many expectant mothers while others are still forced to cope with morning sickness, and what else is happening with your baby in the 18th week of pregnancy.

What's Going On in Your Belly Right Now?

The fetus is around 5-6 inches long (CRL) and weighs approx. 5-7 ounces.

Your baby moves around a lot and continues to work on the development of its brain, nerves, and muscles. It is also practicing sucking on its finger, grabbing hold of the umbilical cord and listening to you. But that is not all: It kicks and performs somersaults, yawns, swallows amniotic fluid, opens its mouth, and perhaps even sticks out its tongue. It is trying out everything. From this point onwards, it is growing very quickly, which may make you hungrier than usual.

Your baby is now about the size of a pomegranate.

Your baby is now about the size of a pomegranate.

The first signs of its nipples are visible and the mammary glands are now growing in both boys and girls. By the 18th week of pregnancy, girls already have their ovaries containing all their egg cells! This "stock" of around 5 million egg cells is sufficient for the whole of their fertile adult life, because – unlike sperm – they are not reproduced on an ongoing basis.

How Do You Feel at 18 Weeks Pregnant?

Your baby bump is not yet getting in your way, your hormones have leveled off, and the pregnancy is proceeding "at full speed" – many pregnant women enjoy this time in the second trimester. For others, however, the morning sickness persists or new pregnancy symptoms appear.

Why is it that some pregnant women continue to suffer from morning sickness at this point? 

The causes of nausea are not entirely clear various reasons may exist. During early pregnancy, it is assumed that hormones, such as the sharply rising HCG level and the increasing levels of progesterone, cause nausea. However, by the 18th week of pregnancy, around 10% of pregnant women still suffer with nausea and vomiting.

Blood sugar levels can also play a role. Some pregnant women find it helps to regularly nibble on a carbohydrate-rich snack such as a slice of bread, dried fruit, or trail mix. Increased circulation can also cause expectant mothers to feel dizzy and unwell. This is also affected by hormones and the increasing volume of blood.

A lack of sleep and too much stress could also lead to increased nausea. This symptom is of course highly unpleasant for pregnant women – it is best to talk to your doctor about what remedies are available for your specific situation. It may be of some consolation to know that normal levels of morning sickness do not harm your child. Only in really severe cases may it be necessary to administer electrolytes and fluids in a hospital setting.

What can you do about dizziness during pregnancy?

The increased blood volume gives your heart and circulatory system a lot to do. If you stand up quickly, you may find that everything starts to go dark. Apart from standing up carefully, the following actions can help prevent dizziness:

  • Drinking plenty of liquids to stabilize your circulation
  • Eating regularly – keep small snacks like fruit, nuts, or glucose tablets readily available
  • Raising your legs when you feel dizzy – it is best to do so lying down, although it also helps when sitting
  • Moving your feet in circles to help the blood flow
  • Taking it easy and allow yourself extra time to get things done

Radiant skin, great hair!
Many pregnant women actually feel really good during this time: The increased blood volume and improved circulation result in radiant skin that has a rosy glow to it. You may also have stronger and thicker hair – high five to estrogen! 

Photo Credit: Unsplash