Pregnancy: Week - 18

How your baby is growing:

Lots going on this week! Your baby’s legs finally catch up the rest of its body and all limbs are now in proper proportion leaving a fairly newborn looking fetus. The pads of the feet, hands and fingers have also finished up and Vernix is forming all over your baby’s body. Vernix is a white waxy coating that protects the skin from the constant moisture of your womb until birth. It wasn’t present previously because this coating is produced by the oil glands that began under your baby’s skin last week! Myelin, another protective covering is also forming on all of your baby’s nerves. Myelin is very important for communication between nerves. It won’t finish covering all the nerves of your baby’s body until he or she reaches at least a year old! If you are having a girl, her uterus and fallopian tubes will finish up this week, and if you’re having a boy the penis has become more pronounced making identification easier through ultrasound. Most babies begin to form a sleep cycle around week eighteen. You may notice he or she has common periods of activity and rest, pay attention, many babies will keep this cycle for the first few weeks after birth. Your baby is now an estimated five and one half inches long from the tip of its tiny head the bottom of its butt and weighs about six ounces.

How your body is changing:

A lot less going on this week as far as your body goes. Your uterus has now reached the size of your average cantaloupe and your belly is getting big enough it could be beginning to affect your sleep. Seventy–eight percent of women end up with insomnia during pregnancy. This is due both to your growing size making you less comfortable and to your own anxieties and excitement about your pregnancy, not to mention the constant trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Some things you can do about it:

  • If possible try not to have a clock within view of your bed. You’ll catch yourself constantly checking it and thinking, “God, I’m only going to get this much sleep” rather than just going to sleep.
  • Prepare your room for sleep. Make sure it’s the proper temperature; lit just how you like it and it’s not too loud.
  • Prepare yourself for sleep. Warm baths, massages and other relaxing activates before bed help enormously.
  • If you lay in bed for more than twenty minutes or so without falling to sleep try to read a book, watch an old movie or magazine for awhile in another room until you become drowsier. Avoid interactive activities that will wake you up more. You should be aiming for sit-back and relax type of activities that can make you fall asleep.
  • Avoid heavy meals or spicy foods close to bed-time; this will also help reduce heartburn. If a case of nausea hits try just snacking on some crackers.
  • Try not to drink lots of fluids close to bed time. The more fluid you take in before bed the more you’ll end up getting up to pee once you fall asleep. Though some women find a warm cup of tea will help them fall asleep a lot faster and one little cup of tea isn’t likely going to have you running to the bathroom every five minutes.
  • Sleep on your left side with a pillow between your legs for optimal back comfort. If you don’t like to sleep on your side just be sure your feet are elevated. You can use pillow to help you with that.

Sometimes insomnia during pregnancy can actually be due to a sleep disorder and not just discomfort or anxiety/excitement. If that is the case, you can discuss this with your doctor. Sleep is very important during pregnancy and the doctor will attempt to work out a safe solution for your baby.

You may also want to know:

Things to do this week:

Start a birth plan. I know it may seem early to be doing this, but a birth plan is important and some parts may take some time to figure out. Step one, If you’re having the baby in a hospital you’ll want to pick one. You should always visit the hospital you are thinking of using before deciding.

Once you do pick one, you can also take a tour while your there so you’ll know where things are when the big day comes.

When writing a birth plan try to stick to the things that really matter to you. If you get so involved you’ve written a step by step four page birth plan you are likely to be vastly disappointed during your labor because not everything will undoubtedly go as planned. The attempt to keep things on track to your exact plan can also create stress you don’t need.

It’s a good idea to use your birth plan as reference while you discuss with the doctor what you would like done in certain circumstances that could occur.