Your baby’s organs are starting to function by your eighteenth week of pregnancy. During week eighteen of your pregnancy, you may experience some cramping from round ligament stretching and notice a white, vaginal discharge.
Pregnancy Week 18: Baby’s Development
Your baby now weighs 6 ounces and is 5 ½ inches long. His pulmonary vascular system is rapidly developing. This system attaches your baby’s lungs to his heart. This will allow his heart to pump blood to his lungs so that the blood can get oxygen.
Your baby can swallow amniotic fluid and produce meconium. Meconium is the first bowel movements that he will make. It is good news that his digestive system is starting to work.
More genetic markers are emerging during your eighteenth week of pregnancy. Fingerprints are developing creating your baby’s unique pattern. More blood vessels can be seen through his transparent skin.
Pregnancy Week 18: Baby’s Movements
If you haven’t felt the butterflies in your uterus yet, get ready. It may seem more like a pounding alien than butterflies. Your baby is definitely kicking, punching, flipping, and working his way around your uterus while he still has some room.
Pregnancy Week 18: Cramping
Round ligament stretching can cause pain and a cramping sensation in your lower abdomen. This scares many new moms but it is perfectly normal. Your round ligaments hold your uterus in place, and since your uterus is getting bigger these ligaments need to get longer too.
Round ligament stretching and the cramping that goes with it are normal symptoms of pregnancy. I experienced sharper pains on either side of my belly. These subsided into a cramping sensation that lasted for several hours at a time. However, you should contact your doctor if you have any bleeding or if the cramping comes and goes in regular, timely intervals.
Pregnancy Week 18: Vaginal Discharge
You may start to notice a thin, white vaginal discharge. This is called leukorrhea and it protects your vagina from infections. It also helps to keep the normal bacteria in your vagina in proper balance. This discharge will continue throughout your pregnancy to ensure your birth canal is healthy for the passage of your baby.
Leukorrhea, the thin, white vaginal discharge, is a normal symptom of pregnancy. However, you should contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you notice an odor or a sudden change in the color of your vaginal discharge. These changes could be an indication of a vaginal infection.
For more pregnancy weeks and fetal development you can read:
Pregnancy Week 14
Pregnancy Week 15
Pregnancy Week 16
Pregnancy Week 17
Click here to find more information on your pregnancy and baby’s development.
Fit Pregnancy (2009). Pregnancy Calendar. Retrieved: April 8, 9, 2009. Web Site: fitpregnancy.com/calendar/40251887.html
Myers-Gorrie, Trula, Slone-McKinney, Emily, & Smith-Murray, Sharon (1998). Foundations of Maternal-Newborn Nursing (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: W. B. Saunders Company.
What to Expect (2009). Weekly Pregnancy Calendar. Retrieved:April 8, 9, 2009. Web Site: whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/landing.aspx