Pregnancy week 18
(Sparx Media)

How's the foetus during week 18?

Baby's sex organs forming

  • Your baby weighs about 190g and is about 14.2cm from crown to rump- the size of a bell pepper.
  • Pads are forming on the foetus' fingers and toes.
  • Your baby's arms and legs are growing and her body length is catching up to head size.
  • Blood cells are starting to form in the bone marrow
  • If you're having a girl, her vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes are already in place.
  • If it's a boy, his genitals are recognisable.
  • In boys, the prostate gland is developing.
  • Your baby's bones are still soft but are beginning to harden. 

What's with my body: Watch out for varicose veins

  • Your uterus is just below your bellybutton.
  • Your gums become more spongy due to increased pregnancy hormones.
  • Avoid and treat varicose veins, exercise regularly and avoid standing still for too long. Elevate your legs, don't cross your legs while sitting and wear support stockings.

Go back to the complete list of Pregnancy week-by-week updates.

This week you may be able to tell your baby's gender, if you are dying to know (and if baby co-operates!). 
If you're having a girl, the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes are in place. If it's a boy, the genitals
are distinct and recognisable.

How your baby's growing:

  • At this point, your baby's nose, fingers and toes can be seen clearly in an ultrasound. His head is still large in comparison to his body. If you want to find out your baby's gender at your next ultrasound, you could.
  • This week the bones begin to harden, or ossify. The bones of the middle ear and the nerve endings from the brain are developing at the same time so that your baby will hear sounds such as your heartbeat and blood moving through the umbilical cord and may even be startled by loud noises.
  • Eyebrows and eyelashes have started to grow and your baby's retina can already detect bright light outside your abdominal wall even through her closed eyes.

How you may be feeling:

What's that dark line developing down the centre of your tummy? It's known as linea nigra and becomes darker, along with your nipples, as a result of pigment-producing cells being stimulated. This deposit of melanin usually appears in the 2nd or 3rd trimester and is more common in women with dark skin. The line should fade within a year of giving birth.

Tip of the week: Sex during pregnancy

Plan a 'babymoon' with your partner to share some last-chance time alone before baby comes, and while you have some energy!

Many women wonder around this time whether having sex will hurt their developing baby, and the answer is no. Sex is considered safe at all stages of pregnancy, as long as your pregnancy is normal.

However you may not FEEL up to sex if you're tired and your hormones are doing strange things. If you wait till you both feel like it, it will never happen, so get used to putting sex on the calendar. Scheduled sex is not a sign that you have a problem in your relationship, it's a sign that you value your relationship.

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