Your 18th week
After being pregnant for more than 4 months, it’s time to start talking to your baby! This week, your baby’s ears will start functioning as development continues at a rapid pace. Find out how you can keep your energy levels up with healthy snacks!
Between now and 20 weeks, your doctor is likely to schedule an anomaly scan for you. This is to check if your baby is growing and developing healthily – talk to your healthcare professional to find out more.
Whether it’s your heartbeat or your voice, your baby’s ears are starting to function and will pick up these sounds! It may also be startled by sudden or loud noises, so don’t be surprised by your baby’s movements. Air sacs in your baby’s tiny lungs are also starting to develop, and hiccups are common at this stage.
Can you feel the first stirrings of your baby now? It feels like a slight tremor/flutter or even bubbles that rise in the abdomen. Your baby lets you in on whether it is asleep or active with its movements, particularly after a meal or late at night. More movements will follow soon.
Should I eat for two?
Everyone urges you to eat for two, but it does not mean eating twice as much food! Indeed, energy – in the form of calories – is needed to support your baby’s growth. We also need calories to build fat stores in preparation for breastfeeding. However, chances are that you will become less physically active over the weeks, which may compensate for the increased energy needs.
It is recommended that pregnant women take an extra 200 calories per day during their last trimester5. Don’t go overboard though – 200 calories is in fact equivalent to an extra glass of milk or a couple of biscuits! (WebMD) Besides the calories count, remember that the quality of food is as equally important. Choose quality over quantity. A few Brazil nuts, for instance, can provide a greater source of nutrition than a biscuit!
Have you been feeling queasy or even faint? Don’t worry, that’s common during pregnancy. In fact, singer Lily Allen fainted when Christmas shopping while pregnant! (Hello) Dizzy spells such as these could be a sign of hormonal changes6, or that your heart is working overtime to pump more blood around your body. It could also be the pressure that your growing baby is putting on your blood vessels, which leaves you feeling rather light-headed.
Itching for some physical activity? Ditch the high heels for comfortable shoes and head out for a leisurely stroll at Bishan or East Coast Park! Take extra care of your body by standing up slowly if you are lying down or seated. Eat little and often throughout the day to help keep your blood sugar levels stable and maintain energy. Sip water regularly and, if feeling peckish, choose healthy, wholesome snacks that will provide the nutrients you and your baby need!
- A handful of apricots or other dried fruit
- A small bowl of natural yogurt with fresh fruit
- Sardines on wholegrain bread
- Wholegrain crackers with cheese
- A fruit smoothie
1. NHS UK. You and your baby at 17–20 weeks pregnant [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-17-18-19-20.aspx [Accessed July 2014]
2. Murkoff H, Mazel S. What to Expect When You’re Expecting. 4th ed. London: Simon & Schuster Ltd, 2009. Curtis GB, Schuler J. Your pregnancy week by week. 7th ed. Cambridge: Fisher books, 2011.
3. NCT. Your baby’s movements in the womb [Online]. 2012. Available at: www.nct.org.uk/pregnancy/your-babys-movements-womb [Accessed April 2014]
4. NHS UK. Screening tests for abnormalities in pregnancy [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/screening-tests-abnormality-pregnant.aspx [Accessed July 2014]
5. Department of Health. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: TSO, 1991.
6. NHS UK. Pregnancy and baby [Online]. 2013. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/common-pregnancy-problems.aspx#Faintness [Accessed July 2014]
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Questions about feeding and nutrition?
Our midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.