Help your growing baby develop in the eighteenth week of your pregnancy

Your growing baby’s bones are growing stronger and are hardening. Eat more calcium-rich foods to strengthen your growing baby’s bones further.

What’s happening this week?

Incredibly, little one now has developed his or her unique fingerprintsi. Also, his or her bones are growing stronger and are hardening.

In terms of brain development this week, connections between nerve cells in the brain stem and spinal cord are forming, and will help to refine your growing baby’s movements and reflexes, like having a firm hand gripi.

This week, your growing baby’s hearing is also developing. This means that the bone in his or her inner ear is forming along with nerve endings that will allow him or her to hear what’s aroundii, like the rumbles in your tummy… and your voice!

Your growing baby is about seven ounces (almost 200 grams) in weight now and is around five and half inches (14 centimeters) long.iii

What can you expect? 

Some moms-to-be may get sudden nosebleeds at this pregnancy stageiv, due to increased blood flow during pregnancy. Avoid nosebleeds and enjoy your pregnancy with these tips:

  • Stay hydrated. Drinking more water can prevent your nose membranes from getting dry, which makes it easier for the delicate vessels in the nose to break and bleed.
  • Stay away from environmental irritants such as smoke.

What can you do to support your pregnancy?

By continuing to eat more calcium-rich foods this week, you’ll be helping your developing baby’s bones grow strongv. Foods that contain DHAvi remain important to support your little one’s  brain development.

Remember that from healthy brain growth stems good emotional development, as the brain is the center for emotions and their regulation, alongside its cognitive functions, such as reasoning, problem solving, and memory.

This applies to you too, mom-to-be. When you are stressed or anxious, your brain signals your body to release stress hormones such as cortisol.vii If the levels of these ‘stress hormones’ are consistently high, it could have negative health effects on your developing baby, according to prenatal health experts.viii

If you’re overwhelmed with having to deal with new symptoms and your changing body, talk to your doctor, a friend, your partner, or a family member about how you feel to get some support.

You could also try relaxation techniques such as controlled breathing, meditation, or simply engaging in activities that you know help you relax.

 


 

 

References:
 
i    17, 18, 19, 20 weeks pregnant - Pregnancy and baby guide. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from      
ii   Fetal development: The 2nd trimester. (2015, January 15). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from      
iii  Fetal development: The 2nd trimester. (2015, January 15). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from      
iv  Mothers' Physical Changes During the Second Trimester. (2013, August 11). Retrieved April 7,2017, from
v   Pregnancy diet: Focus on these essential nutrients. (n.d.). Retrieved April 05, 2017, from      
vii Chronic stress puts your health at risk. (2016, April 21). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from    
viii Johnson, K. C. (n.d.). The effects of maternal stress and anxiety during pregnancy. Emory. Retrieved April 20, 2017,
      s%20of%20maternal%20stress%20and%20anxiety%20during%20pregnancy%20(mot07).pdf