18 Weeks Pregnant: Movement of the Baby

Pregnant women are always eagerly waiting for their baby’s first movement. Considering that there are many misconceptions surrounding fetal movements, you may find yourself worrying that the 18 weeks pregnant movements you feel indicate something is wrong. This may not be the case.

Baby Movement at 18 Weeks

Are you excited about the 18 weeks pregnant movements? It is important to be aware that you start feeling the baby’s movements when you are about 18-20 weeks pregnant. If you are a first-time mother, it may take longer to feel the gentle movements in your tummy. If you have given birth before and you are already aware of the signs, then you will probably notice the movements as early as 16 weeks.

The earliest baby movements feel like flutters, taps, swishes or even popcorn popping. The movements appear intermittently once you start noticing them. You may feel nothing one day followed by intense movement the next day. Your baby may also respond to different activities happening around you. It could be you experiencing a strong emotion, loud noise or eating/drinking something sugary like a candy bar or orange juice.

The first baby movement is affected by several factors. Thinner mums are more likely to feel the movements earlier than heavier mums. If your placenta is attached to the front of the uterus, it may be difficult to perceive the baby’s movements. If you get to 24 weeks before feeling any movements, visit your obstetrician. He/she will examine your baby’s heartbeat and have an ultrasound scan or other checks done if necessary.

How Often Should I Feel My Baby Moving?

You should not worry if you stay for long periods without feeling baby flutters inside you. 18 weeks pregnant movements are erratic. The baby’s movements will be more regular from the beginning of the third trimester. Your doctor will advise you to be aware of any signs of decreased movement. See your doctor for more detailed instructions.

Most of the time, the fetus will develop a predictable movement pattern. In case of any difference, look for a quiet place, lie on the side and concentrate on the baby with your hand placed on your stomach. You are fine if the baby moves a few times in half an hour. Consult your doctor if you do not feel any movements at all. As the baby grows bigger towards the end of your pregnancy, it occupies more room hence the movements are expected to slow down.

Sometimes the placenta does not transfer nutrients and oxygen to the baby efficiently, leading to decreased movements. This can cause the baby to grow poorly or even result to a still birth. This is why doctors take decreased movements very seriously. The doctor will probably recommend a non-stress test. This test involves a technician strapping monitors to your belly and listening to the baby’s heart rate. The doctor may also recommend an ultrasound to ensure the placenta is in good condition and the baby is doing well.

Baby Development at 18 Weeks

By the 18th week, your baby weighs about 200g, is 14cm long and is approximately the size of a bell pepper. Their nerves will be already forming myelin, a protective covering which is important for proper development and functioning of the nervous system after birth. 18 weeks pregnant movements are quite evident. The baby is tumbling, kicking and rolling all over the place. By this time it has turned your tummy into a small gym. They have even developed grip and can hold their umbilical cord like some form of a toy.

If you are expecting a girl, she will already be developing eggs in her ovary at 18 weeks. Their genitals will be formed and in place. By week 20, a boy’s genitals may be visible during your anomaly scan. In some cases, it may be difficult to see depending on the positioning of your baby.

For more information about your baby at 18 weeks, watch this video:

What You Should Do at 18 Weeks

  • Keep active. Exercise during pregnancy is good for you and the unborn baby. Just make sure to find out what is safe and when you should be cautious.
  • Have a healthy diet. Sticking to a healthy diet when pregnant will help your baby grow and develop well. It will also keep you fit and strong.
  • Take naps. Many pregnant women cannot spend the whole day without taking a nap. Stay-at-home moms can take a nap with the other children. If your children have outgrown naps, try setting some time aside in the afternoon to have some rest. For working women, try to squeeze in some time for a bit of rest. You could shut the door of your private office for 15 minutes and take a nap. You could also rest in the conference room or in your car. Just make sure you set the alarm to avoid oversleeping.