Pregnancy Week 18: All You Need To Know

Bayo Ajibola

How your baby’s growing

Your baby, from head to rump is about 5 1/2 inches long, and weighs almost 7 ounces, this is about the size of a ball pepper. This week sees your baby busy flexing his arms and legs – movements that you’ll start noticing more and more in the weeks ahead. His blood vessels are quite visible through his thin skin, and his ears are now in their final development stage. A protective covering of myelin is beginning to form around his nerves, this process will continue for a year after he’s born. If you’re having a girl, her uterus and fallopian tubes are formed and in place. If your little one is a boy, his genitals are developed and even noticeable now, you may however not see them during an ultrasound.

 

How your life’s changing

Increased appetite and craving are pretty common about now. Yes, so many women crave unhealthy food during this period, you should however steer clear and instead indulge in healthy snacks whenever the hunger pang hits. Also, as your waistline is beginning to expand, you should invest in more comfortable clothing now.

Your cardiovascular system is undergoing some changes, which could see your blood pressure lower than usual this trimester.

Also henceforth, lie on your side – or at least partly tilted to one side as if you lie flat on your back, your uterus can compress a major vein, leading to decreased blood return to your heart. Try placing a pillow behind you or under your hip or upper leg for comfort.

 

Learn about: Exercising during pregnancy

If your pregnancy is proceeding normally and you are very much healthy, you can continue with same exercise routine out as you did in your first trimester – with of course some sensible modifications to accommodate your growing belly.When exercising,  avoid bouncing and jarring motions, sudden changes of position, and lying on your back.

 

What are Kegels?

Kegels are highly recommended for pregnant women as they help strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor – the ones that support your urethra, bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum. Kegels also helps prevent urine leaks during and after pregnancy and could be of tremendous help in the second stage of labor. Another major advantage of Kegels is, it increases circulation to your rectal and vaginal area, to help keep hemorrhoids at bay. They also help you heal quickly after birth especially if you had to be stitched up.

Wondering how to do kegel exercises? Here are the steps:

  • First you need to tighten the muscles around your vagina in a way that it seems you are trying to stop the flow of urine when going to the bathroom. Use a “squeeze and lift” technique, working only your pelvic floor muscles while keeping your abdominal and leg muscles relaxed.Ensure you do not hold your breath whe doing this.
  • Hold this pose for about eight to 10 seconds, then release. Do them in sets of 10, and try to work up to three or four sets a day

 


Bayo Ajibola

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